Communication: Definition, Types, Characteristics, Elements and MORE

10 minutos de lectura

The communication It is one of those phenomena that are the object of permanent study and, consequently, it has a large number of theories. What these efforts seek is to facilitate the description, prediction and understanding of the behaviors and phenomena that compose it.

We hardly ever notice the fact that all creatures on earth have developed means of transmitting their emotions and thoughts to each other. Nevertheless, it is the ability of humans to use words and language to transfer specific meanings that distinguishes them from the animal kingdom. This ability can be enhanced if we know more about what this means.

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What is communication?

The root of the word “communication” on thetín is communicatio, means to share or make common. Therefore, the communication it is defined as the process of understanding and sharing meaning. From this definition there are three key words: process, understanding and sharing; that make communication an act of permanent exchange of meanings.

We use communication every day in almost every setting. Whether you are nodding your head in agreement or presenting information to a large group, communication is absolutely necessary. Through it we establish relationships, share ideas, delegate responsibilities and manage a team, among other things..

Types

There are several different ways of sharing information between us. For example, you can use verbal communication when sharing a presentation with a group. You can use written communication when applying for a job or sending an email.

There are four main categories or styles of communication that include verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual:

  1. Verbal. Verbal communication is the use of language to transfer information through speech or sign language. It is one of the most common types, often used during presentations, video conferences and phone calls, meetings, and individual conversations.
  2. Non verbal. Non-verbal communication is the use of body language, gestures, and facial expressions to convey information to others. It can be used both intentionally and unintentionally. Non-verbal communication is helpful when it comes to understanding the thoughts and feelings of others.
  3. Written. Written communication is the act of writing, typing, or printing symbols such as letters and numbers to convey information. It is useful because it provides a record of information for reference.
  4. Visual. Visual communication is the act of using photographs, art, drawings, sketches, charts, and graphics to convey information. Visuals are often used to aid in presentations to provide useful context alongside written and / or verbal communication.

If you want to improve your communication skills, set personal goals to work on the things you want to achieve step by step. It can be helpful to consult with trusted colleagues, managers, or mentors to identify which areas would be best to focus on first.

Communication Features

We spend a large part of our lives communicating with each other, whether in our workplace or in our family life. In this sense, so that this exchange of information between two or more people can achieve a mutual understanding the communication must have the following characteristics:

  1. Communication takes place between at least two or more people. Communication usually takes place between two or more than two people where one person is the receiver of the information and another is the transmitter of the information.
  2. It is a two-way process. As we have already learned, communication is a two-way process in which all parties involved in the communication process exchange ideas and information with each other.
  3. You’ve got a message. Communication is useless if it does not contain a useful message. Therefore, a message is essential in the communication process. A message can be an idea, information, instructions or suggestions.
  4. It is dynamic by nature. Communication is dynamic, which means that it grows and evolves with the participation of the parties and their state of mind and state of mind involved in the communication.
  5. Serves to establish mutual understanding. This means that the information is received and understood by the receiver in the same way that the sender wanted it to be received and understood.
  6. It should generate some response. Communication will be considered complete only if the sender of the message receives the appropriate response.
  7. It is systematic. Which means that each component of the communication depends on the other component of the communication. The meaning of all communication will change with the small change in any of the components involved in communication.
  8. It comes in various forms of communication. Communication can take place in any way. For example, it can be oral, written or gestural.
  9. You must ensure the flow of information. Communication can take place between the superior and his subordinates where information flows from a higher level to a lower level and vice versa.
  10. A continuous process. A communication process is a continuous process where information is shared among the people involved in communication without ceasing.

Comunication elements

We know that in this process there is a sender and a receiver, a message and interpretations of meaning at both ends. The receiver gives feedback to the sender of the message, during and at the end of the message transmission.

We also have feedback signals, which can be verbal or non-verbal. All this in the middle of a context, that is, in an environment in which it is transmitted. To better understand the communication process, we can divide it into the following components:

  • Source. The source imagines, creates and sends the message. In a public speaking situation, the source is the person giving the speech. He or she gets the message across by sharing new information with the audience. The speaker also conveys a message through their tone of voice, body language, and choice of clothing.
  • Message. The message is the stimulus or meaning produced by the source for the receiver or the audience. When you plan to give a speech or write a report, the message may seem like it is only the words you choose that will convey its meaning. But it is not like that, the words are combined with grammar and organization.
  • Channel. The channel is the way that a message or messages travel between the source and the receiver. For example, think of your television. Television combines an audio signal that you listen to with a visual signal that you see. Together they convey the message to the receiver or audience.
  • Receiver. The receiver receives the message from the source, analyzing and interpreting the message in both intended and unintended ways by the source. As a receiver, you listen, see, touch, smell and / or taste to receive a message. Your audience “measures” you, in the same way that you could see them long before going on stage.

Other essential components

  • Feedback. When you respond to the source, intentionally or not, you are giving feedback. Feedback is made up of messages that the receiver sends to the source. Verbal or non-verbal, all of these signals allow the source to see how well, how accurately, the message was received.
  • Environment. The environment is the environment, physical and psychological, where you send and receive messages. The setting may include the tables, chairs, lighting, and stereos found in the room. The room itself is an example of the environment. Even your clothing can be considered environment.
  • Context. The context of the communication interaction involves the setting, the scene, and the expectations of the people involved. A communication context may involve business demands (environmental cues) that directly or indirectly influence language expectations and behavior among participants.

Process

The process of the communication refers to a series of actions or steps that are taken to communicate successfully. It involves various components such as the sender of the communication, the actual message that is sent, its encoding, the receiver, and the decoding of the message.

There are also several communication channels to consider within the communication process. This refers to the way a message is sent. That is, the message can be sent through various channels such as voice, audio, video, email, fax, or body language.

The overall goal of the communication process is to present information to a person or party and make them understand it. The sender must choose the most appropriate means for the communication process to have worked successfully.

How is this process done?

To communicate successfully, it is important to understand how the process works. Here are the seven steps of the communication process:

  1. Sender develops an idea to send. Here begins the communication process, this implies that the sender creates an idea that he plans to send to another person or group of people.
  2. The sender encodes the message. Once the submitter develops an idea, they translate it into a form that can be passed on to someone else. This means that they transform the thoughts of the information they want to send to a certain format.
  3. The sender selects the communication channel to be used. The sender decides how the message will be sent. This implies selecting the most appropriate medium (speech, writing, among others) for the message they convey.
  4. The message travels through the communication channel. Once the medium is chosen, the message begins the transmission process. The exact process for this will depend on the medium selected. For the message to be sent successfully, the sender must have selected the appropriate medium.
  5. The receiver receives the message. The recipient then receives the message. This step in the communication process is done by hearing the message, seeing it, feeling it, or some other form of reception.
  6. The receiver decodes the message. The receiver decodes the sender’s message. In other words, it interprets it and turns it into thought. Once this is done, analyze the message and try to understand it.
  7. Receiver provides feedback, if applicable. Finally, unless it is a one-way communication, the receiver will provide feedback in the form of a reply to the original sender of the message. Feedback gives the recipient the ability to assure the sender that their message was received and interpreted correctly. Between two people, this is a two-way communication.

Communication Networks

Members of the organization connect in various groups and, as members of the group, interact with each other in a specific way. The way they interact is called a network of the communication. It is a type of pattern in which information flows between group members. The most common types of networks are:

In the shape of a “Y”

Here A is the main person who communicates or transfers our information with B, C and D. It follows the formal chain of authority where a type of communication takes place ascending and descending in the organizational hierarchy.

Wheel

In this network, all information and messages flow through A, which is in the center behind the wheel. A communicates with other group members such as B, C, D, and E, while the members cannot communicate with each other.

Chain

The chain network is similar to the Y-shaped network. This type of chain network mainly follows a formal chain of command or authority where information flows vertically up or down.

Circular

This circular network is similar to a chain network, except that information flows in a circular direction rather than a vertical one. A can simultaneously communicate with two different people, B and C. But to communicate with D, he has to pass the information through B or C, and E.

Star

All the people in this network communicate with each other freely, permanently and regularly. It follows the informal channel of command and provides optimal satisfaction to our individuals. Information flows very fast, although there may be a coordination problem.

Thanks for reading!

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