Introduction to Media and Information Literacy

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The Types of Communication

A. According to channels used:

1. Verbal Communication

Verbal Communication refers to the form of communication in which message is transmitted verbally; communication is done by word of mouth and a piece of writing. When we talk to others, we assume that the others understand what we are saying because we know what we are saying. But this is not the case. Usually, a person brings their own attitude, perception, emotions and thoughts about the topic and hence creates a barrier in delivering the right meaning. This is further explained by Herbert Blumer’s third premise of Symbolic Interactionism. According to him, an individual’s interpretation of symbols is modified by his or her own thought processes. This is why it is important for the sender of the information to put him or herself into the shoes of the receiver.

Verbal communication can be subdivided into two, oral communication and written communication.

1.1 Oral Communication

In oral communication, Spoken words are used. It includes face-to-face conversations, speech, telephonic conversation, video, radio, television, voice-over The Internet. In oral communication, communication influence by pitch, volume, speed and clarity of speaking.

1.2 Written Communication

In written communication, written signs or symbols are used to communicate. A written message may be printed or handwritten. In written communication message can be transmitted via email, letter, report, memo etc. The message in written communication, is influenced by the vocabulary and grammar used, writing style, precision and clarity of the language used.

Written Communication is most common form of communication being used in business. So, it is considered core among business skills.

Memos, reports, bulletins, job descriptions, employee manuals, and electronic mail are the types of written communication used for internal communication. For communicating with the external environment in writing, electronic mail, Internet Web sites, letters, proposals, telegrams, faxes, postcards, contracts, advertisements, brochures, and news releases are used.

2. Non-verbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is the sending or receiving of wordless messages. We can say that communication other than oral and written, such as gesture, body language, posture, the tone of voice or facial expressions, is called nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is all about the body language of the speaker.

Nonverbal communication helps receiver in interpreting the message received. Often, nonverbal signals reflect the situation more accurately than verbal messages. Sometimes nonverbal responses contradict verbal communication and hence affect the effectiveness of the message.

Nonverbal Communication has the following three elements:

2.1 Appearance

One’s appearance in nonverbal communication plays a significant role in conveying the message. When someone speaks, the way he or she looks can determine how message will be received. For example, job interviews require interviewees to wear corporate clothes. Even though your appearance may not be necessary to determine whether or not you are fit for a post, the interviewer can perceive the way you look as a sign of professionalism or lack thereof.

Even the surroundings where communication takes place can affect the process. It can set the tone and mood in conversations. This is why films spend a considerable amount of time, effort and money in locations and settings. By manipulating the area where a scene will happen, they can affect the emotions of the viewers as they watch. Take dates in romantic comedies for example. Usually, when the guy takes the girl out to dinner, it will happen in a rustic restaurant, adorned in French décor, with a flattering low lighting. After all, this is much more romantic to many than a date in a fast food chain.

2.2 Body Language

Words are primarily the means we use in communication. By using a common language between two conversing parties, a message can easily be sent and received. However, in face-to-face conversations, words are hardly the only thing that receiver process. They also take our body language into account. The way one acts as he or she speaks, whether he’s fidgeting or standing stolidly, the receiver adds in that in the block of information to process. Fidgeting may be taken as sign of nervousness or anxiety, and affect the meaning of the words that are verbally expressed.

2.3 Sounds

In communication, it is often the way words are said, not the actual words themselves that can determine the success of conversation. Tone, pace, and volume are considered in understanding the true meaning of what someone is saying. For instance, a raised voice can be taken as a sign of anger, a hurried pace can mean annoyance, and a condescending tone is often understood as sarcasm.


B. Types of Communication Based on Purpose and Style

Communication is used for many things. It is means to express, inform, entertain, and interact. The communication is done can also vary depending on the message to be delivered, the audience that it will be delivered to, and purpose why it is being delivered. There are two types of communication depending on style and purpose, formal and non-formal.


1. Formal Communication

Formal communication mostly takes place professional settings. This is the type of communication practiced in corporate meetings, conferences, academic seminars, political sessions, and juridical proceedings. Its primary purpose is information dissemination to concerning parties that are involved in certain types of official businesses.

This type of communication abides by a set of pre-determined guidelines in delivering a message. Due to its formal nature, there is a great emphasis on observing proper grammar and correct pronunciation. Accuracy and strict obedience to traditional rules are encouraged. Slang and foul language are strongly discouraged. Remember the roughness does not earn you points in formal communication.


2. Informal Communication

Informal communication is the most commonly used form of communication. It takes place in our daily interaction with one another. It happens in ordinary settings between friends, family, classmates, and practically anyone who wishes to speak with another. Simply put, informal communication in casual talk.

This type of communication can be used for all purposes. It is not as restricted as its counterpart, though it does not require to anyone to be accurate in form, structure, and even content. Colloquial speech offensive languages are acceptable. As long as you get your messages across, informal communication does not place great emphasis in the way it is delivered.