Introduction to Communication

Communication is an integral instinct of all living things. At its simplest, communication is any exchange of information between two entities. It can be observed to take place at the cellular level between microorganisms, and on a larger scale between members of a herd evading a predator. As modern humans living in a busy world, we rely on good communication every day to make our way through life. Every interaction we have with another person, from a raised eyebrow in a busy checkout lane, to an obscene gesture at another motorist in traffic, to the simple wave to your family as you pull out of the driveway in the morning, is a form of communication. Today, communication has gone from individual levels of conversing to mass communication. The most important aspects of communication are best understood when there is a lack of it. In the following pages, we will discuss different types of communication, common barriers in our daily communication, as well as strategies for overcoming them.
The term communication is derived from the Latin word “Communis” which means to share. Effective communication is when the message conveyed by the sender is understood by the receiver in exactly the same way as it was intended. Good communication is not just a process of transferring information from one entity to another. It’s an art of first listening or reading the information, comprehending it, processing it and then transferring it. There is a huge amount of effort that goes into communication. Gestures, tone of voice, body language and spoken language are some of the important aspects of communication. If the other person is unable to comprehend any of these factors, then the process fails.
Four Types of Communication
Communication comes in four basic types. Below, we will look at the different types in depth.
Verbal Communication This mode of communication relies on words to convey a message. This is the standard method of communicating that most of us use on a day-to-day basis, though we rarely use it without augmenting it with one of the other communication types Other cues people use while communicating verbally include, tone, gestures, and body language. Verbal communication helps in expressing thoughts, emotions and sentiments. A phone conversation, chat with a friend, an announcement made, or a speech delivered are all verbal forms of communication. For most of us, it comes with ease. As children, we learned verbal communication through the sounds around us. We soon develop and start understanding the language which helps us to communicate verbally as we grow older. Verbal communication is further divided into four subcategories:
1. Intrapersonal Communication (this type of communication includes the silent conversations we have with ourselves).
2. Interpersonal Communication (one-to-one conversations)
3. Small Group Communication (this types of communication can take place only when there are more than two people involved)
4. Mass Communication (one individual try communicate with large numbers pupils)
Non Verbal Communication Non-verbal communication is a process of communication without using words or sounds. Non-verbal communication uses gestures, body language, facial expressions, eye contact, clothing, tone of voice, and other cues to convey a message) Like verbal communication, this method of communicating is rarely used alone. Non-verbal communication could be considered like a spice we use when communicating to add a little flavor. You might raise your eyebrows emphatically when speaking to help make a point, or shake your finger at your child when you’re angry. These are all non-verbal cues that help convey a message.
Written Communication Written communication is any written message that two or more people exchange. Written communication is typically more formal but less efficient than oral communication. Examples of written communication include: Emails. Text messages.
Visual Communication Visual communication is the practice of using visual elements to communicate information or ideas. Types of visual communication include animated GIFs, screenshots, videos, pie charts, infographics, and slide deck presentations. Getting your message across in a clear, concise way can be difficult with words alone.
Principles of Communication
1. The sender(Source) and receiver should be ready and remained motivated throughout the process of motivation.
2. The sender(Source) and receiver should be quite efficient during the process of communication.
3. Communication must be the two way process. Its success lies allowing as much sharing of the ideas and keeping mutual interaction.
4. Communication process should be quite appropriate on the part of both the source and the receiver.
5. The effectiveness of communication depends on appropriateness, quality and strength of the communication media and channel.
Process of Communication
The communication is a dynamic process that begins with the conceptualizing of ideas by the sender who then transmits the message through a channel to the receiver, who in turn gives the feedback in the form of some message or signal within the given time frame. Thus, there are Seven major elements of communication process:

Source :

  1. Sender: The sender or the communicator is the person who initiates the conversation and has conceptualized the idea that he intends to convey it to others.
  2. Encoding: The sender begins with the encoding process wherein he uses certain words or non-verbal methods such as symbols, signs, body gestures, etc. to translate the information into a message. 
  3. Message: Once the encoding is finished, the sender gets the message that he intends to convey. The message can be written, oral, symbolic or non-verbal such as body gestures, silence, sighs, sounds, etc.
  4. Communication Channel: The Sender chooses the medium through which he wants to convey his message to the recipient. It must be selected carefully in order to make the message effective and correctly interpreted by the recipient.
  5. Receiver: The receiver is the person for whom the message is intended or targeted. He tries to comprehend it in the best possible manner such that the communication objective is attained.
  6. Decoding: Here, the receiver interprets the sender’s message and tries to understand it in the best possible manner.
  7. Feedback: The Feedback is the final step of the process that ensures the receiver has received the message and interpreted it correctly as it was intended by the sender.
Barriers of Effective Communication
There are many reasons why interpersonal communications may fail. In many communications, the message may not be received exactly the way the sender intended and hence it is important that the communicator seeks feedback to check that their message is clearly understood. The skills of Active Listening, Clarification and Reflection, which we will discuss shortly, may help but the skilled communicator also needs to be aware of the barriers to effective communication. There exist many barriers to communication and these may occur at any stage in the communication process. Barriers may lead to your message becoming distorted and you therefore risk wasting both time and/or money by causing confusion and misunderstanding. Effective communication involves overcoming these barriers and conveying a clear and concise message.
Some common barriers to effective communication include:
  • The use of jargon. Over-complicated or unfamiliar terms.
  • Emotional barriers and taboos.
  • Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver.
  • Differences in perception and viewpoint.
  • Physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties.
  • Physical barriers to non-verbal communication.
  • Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents.
  • Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping. People often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is actually said and jump to incorrect conclusions.
  • Cultural differences. The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do the way in which emotions are expressed. For example, the concept of personal space varies between cultures and between different social settings.
A skilled communicator must be aware of these barriers and try to reduce their impact by continually checking understanding and by offering appropriate feedback.


  • Mangal, S.K. Essential of Educational Technology. PHI Learning Private Limited, Delhi.