Communication is the basis of our lives and we would, in this day and age, be handicapped without it. Communication is at the root of all of the events, daily interactions and social affairs of human dealings. Every day we convey messages to other people one way or another — be it by using words, actions or even expressions. We depend not only on face-to-face communication, but also on technology that bridges the gap between people across vast distances.
Types of Communication and Their Importance
Communication is at the heart of all of our dealings with others. Good communication skills provide employees with an advantage and are an asset to any organization, Technology enhances communication by making it simpler, faster and convenient no matter where you are on the globe. Every day we are constantly communicating, whether we realize it or not. There are four kinds of communication that make up the vital parts of this process.
Words – Verbal and Written
We use words every day — with our babysitters, neighbours, dog walkers, colleagues, children, friends, family and partners. Verbal communication uses sounds and language to convey a message. We use oral communication in many different situations: having a face-to-face conversation with a friend, speaking by phone to someone in a different country or giving a speech in a classroom. The person on the receiving end of our talk is influenced by our vocal pitch, speed, volume and word choice. Whether our message is concise or elaborate, it is conveyed in a manner that is either understandable or vague. Many things affect our listener’s perception and it is worthwhile to reflect on those factors to ensure that the message received is the one we intended to convey.
Although verbal communication is frequently used, the volume of written communication seems to be increasing with the advent of social media. Websites, text messages and blogs all employ the written word. . Writing can range from a handwritten letter to a loved one to an email to a co-worker. The writing style, grammar, vocabulary and punctuation all play a role and are crucial to the reader’s understanding of the message Be sure that the writing style suits the medium. Short forms and acronyms are often used in text messages to save time and space. This type of writing is useful on a handheld device but is perhaps less suited to a departmental report submitted at work.
Not all messages are sent via words. Our actions and expressions can speak volumes and are often used in conjunction with our spoken or written words. Body language and facial expressions can portray a multitude of feelings or attitudes. Posture, eye contact, facial expressions and hand gestures all give out non-verbal cues. A hug, a smile, eye contact or avoidance of eye contact are all examples of non-verbal communication. Sign language is another form of non-verbal communication. People often use gestures to communicate with others who speak a different language.
Visual communication can be very potent. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures, photographs, paintings and advertisements are other forms of non-verbal communication. They can relay thoughts, moods, attitude, and emotion through colour, design and detail. Music is a powerful communicator that sometimes uses words and sometimes relies on notes alone.
Among all modes of communication, there are both formal and informal approaches.
In workplaces and other environments that use constant email communication, a more formal and professional style is often used. A level of professional courtesy, precision and clarity is expected in this mode of communication. The organization may also have a hierarchy in which there are written or unwritten rules when it comes to who communicates with whom, and there may be a chain of command for the transmission and receipt of emails.
This type of communication extends a looser grip, with less emphasis on rules of grammar and style. Group meetings, discussions and debates are more informal and encourage free speaking. The emphasis is on conveying what you think or feel. Post-it notes, voice mail messages, conversations and creative brainstorming session and so on, are such informal scenarios, but it is still important to think about your messages before conveying them. Even at conferences take place, the speaker can adopt a relaxed tone and an informal manner to keep listeners interested, at ease and encouraged to ask questions.
Communication is constant, and it is all around us, delivered through many different vehicles. Even silence is a form of communication. Spoken or written words, gestures, sounds and pictures are all part of the equation. Communication also falls into subsets that can be technical, relaxed, or specific to a given field or industry.
It governs every aspect of human life, and we are always sending messages, whether we mean to or not. Life without communication is inconceivable.
Communication relays meaning on many levels and can be personal, professional, international or even global. We send messages through words, art and sound, and all of these forms of communication are vital to the human experience.
– Written by Saj Nanda, YPN Committee Member and guest blogger