Effective Communication – Types of Communication

When you decide to communicate effectively, you should understand the different types of comunication we usually use. Once you understand how you communicate, you will realise how to improve your communication.

Effective Communication Types

Why effective communication?

Why communication for that matter? Humans need to communicate because we are social beings. Our communication skills have helped us to achieve social movements, scientific achievements and since semblance of World peace. We need communication for everything we do. That is why most of our innovations or centred around communication. We start communicating as soon as we are born. We need to communicate when we need food, some help in whatever we are currently trying to accomplish. A parent needs to communicate to his child, a spouse to his or her other half, a teacher to his student and vice versa, a boss to his employee and vice versa, communication between colleagues is important, and is crucial for us as members of society.

Our communication if we break it down is no more than sounds and a set of symbols including written and hand gestures. Taking about sounds, a lot of times we find similar words in other languages but with different meanings. The way we have learnt to twist our tongues makes us as different from others as our language. You would have noticed that some people specially from different cultures may not be able to pronounce your words with the best of efforts but to get simple ideas across you don’t need sounds. If you want water a simple hand gesture will communicate to the other person about your need. Similarly food and washroom have easy hand gestures. In other words our communication is mostly audio visual.

The need to communicate is strong in humans. That is because man is a social animal. Effort and time are very important aspects of communication. What and how we communicate depends on the effort it will take for the person sending the communication and the one receiving it. Also the amount of time spent in communication and the urgency also measured in time makes a difference in the communication. Since we have learnt to communicate our communication has evolved and we can communicate complex information in the least amount of effort and time.

The 3 broad categories of communication are:-

  1. Verbal
  2. Non verbal
  3. Visual

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication means using words or similar tools to get your ideas across. This includes oral or talking or written communication. 

Any conversation is verbal. Face to face, phone and video calls, and speeches. Poetry and song are a couple of verbal ways to communicate beautifully. Similarly, any written communication is also verbal. Letter, email, SMS and every written from of communication you can think of. 

Verbal also means the use of symbols and signs. Direction signs. Signs that help us find washrooms and escalators and other important places without use of words is also verbal communication. 

Non Verbal Communication

Any communication that doesn’t use words or symbols is non verbal.

Your body language, the way you stand, your posture, and the way you use your hands tells the person in front of you many things about you. Similarly, your tone of voice shows you are angry or sad to the person who is listening to you.

Visual Communication

This is part of the non verbal communication, but uses pictures and drawings to communicate ideas. If a place on a particular day can be described beautifully, so can it be shown through a photograph or painting. Abstract paintings and drawings too can communicate complex ideas.

Although statistics and numbers give a proper understanding of things that can be measured, graphs and charts make it easy for us to understand certain concepts that change with time or other variables.