Types of Communication
Communication is the process by which ideas, messages, and views are exchanged between two or more persons and from one place to another. Depending upon the requirement, different communication channels can be used to transfer information on the basis of their effectiveness.
Generally, there are four types of communication in the workplace and effective use of each type is essential to meet the desired objectives and goals.
Let’s discuss these 4 communication types in detail.
Formal communication is an official form of communication that flows through formally constituted channels of the organization. It has a distinct path that is institutionally determined by the management to communicate information.
Formal communication flows through the hierarchy of management. It has an official route to flow information. Here is the most to follow the official instructions. It is controlled and regulated by the management.
All the members of the organization are bound to follow the defined channel of the organization. It has also three types of communication:
- Downward Communication
- Upward Communication
- Sideward Communication
In downward communication, the information flows from the top manager to the middle and lower levels. In upward communication, information flows from lower and middle levels to top-level managers. And, in sideward communication, there is an exchange of information between the same levels of managers.
In informal communication, information flows through any channel which is free from official restriction.
It is one of the important types of communication. It is an unofficial type of communication. It is free from all sorts of formalities.
In this form of communication, it is not necessary to follow formal channels to exchange messages. Members of an informal group exchange their opinions, views, ideas, and other information with each other and also to informal groups.
In an organization, it is not used to communicate formal messages. However, employees of an organization use this type of communication to develop mutual understanding, social relationships, and friendships with each other. They interfere with each other without any official instruction.
Informal communication is more elastic and quicker than formal communication. It is a free form of communication and overcomes the restrictions of formal communication. The common forms of informal communication are:
Rumor refers to an unverified belief that circulates in an organization or into its external environment. It has three components i.e. target, allegation, and source. The target is the object of the rumor. The allegation is the point about the target. And the source is the communicator of rumors.
A grapevine is an informal communication pathway that is recognized as a part of organizational life. It cuts across the formal channels of communication. It is a social network of informal communication.
Communication between two individuals or groups of individuals face-to-face or through direct contact is known as interpersonal communication. In simple words, interpersonal communication is where two or more individuals communicate face to face. It is also known as two-way communication.
This is the primary means of communication in the workplace. In this type of communication both the parties exchange their views and news in a direct way.
For example, a manager provides direction and guidance to subordinates to perform given jobs. Similarly, subordinates communicate the process of work and also suggestions to resolve problems, if any, in performance.
Interpersonal communication also has two types of communication:
- Oral Communication
- Written Communication
Oral communication is the exchange of information through spoken words. It is the exchange of messages through oral means. In oral communication, messages can be exchanged either face-to-face or on mechanical devices. Face-to-face communication is the most natural way of transmitting messages.
The benefit of oral communication is that ideas can be interchanged and also it provides immediate feedback and saves time for both the sender and the receiver.
It develops friendly expressions and a sense of belonging among the personalized contact people. In this communication type, the effectiveness of the message depends upon the personality of the speaker, tone, and way of speaking.
Written communication is the transformation of information into written words. In other words, when information is exchanged through written means, it is known as written communication. It is a formal means of transferring information.
It is a common means when information needs accuracy and authenticity. It ensures accuracy and serves as a permanent reference for future performance. It plays the role of evidence when any kind of dispute or misunderstanding arises among the parties.
Written communication can be done in the forms of letters, circulars, telegrams, memos, reports, manuals, bulletins, notices, etc. It can be transmitted either through messengers or through mechanical devices.
The transmission and receipt of messages by some medium other than oral or written is non-verbal communication. It is just the opposite of interpersonal communication. It often relies on facial expression, body movement, physical contact, gestures, etc.
It is often used to supplement oral communication. It is very useful to express feelings, attitudes, and emotions. In some situations, it carries more meaning than oral and written expression. Especially, when the sender’s voice is not reachable to the receiver, the sender can use his body language.
Handshake by the manager with a subordinate or patting on his back shows is a sign of an informal relationship between them. A good and efficient manager should be aware of the importance of non-verbal communication and recognize its potential impacts. Thus, nonverbal communication is also an important type of communication.