Types of communication
Dr Asha Kaushik
Types of communication
For communication to be effective ,the
communicator has to be very careful and
judicious in the choice of media, which will
depend on various factors like urgency of the
message ,the time available ,expenditure
involved and the intellectual and emotional level
of the receivers.
All the media available can be broadly classified
into five groups:
(i) Written communication.
(ii) Oral communication.(Face to Face
(iii) Audio-visual communication.
(iv) Computer-based communication.
1. Written communication includes
Letters , circulars , memos , telegrams
, reports ,minutes , forms and
questionnaires , manuals , etc.
2. Oral communication includes face to
face communication ,conversation over
the telephone , radio broadcast
,interviews , group discussions
, meetings ,conferences ,seminars and
3. Visual communication encompasses
gestures and facial expressions
, tables and charts , graphs , diagrams
, posters ,slides ,film strips ,etc .
• Audio-visual communication includes
television and cinema films that
combine the visual impact with
Written communication: merits
• It is accurate and precise .
• It can be repeatedly referred to .
• It is a permanent record .
• It is a legal document .
• It facilitates the assignation of
• It has a wide access.
written communication :
• It is time consuming: a letter may take
two or even three to four days to reach
its destination , where as in oral
communication message is instantly
• It is costly
Oral communication :limitations
Oral communication is not possible if the
communicator and the receiver are far removed
from each other and no mechanical devices are
available to connect them.
Lengthy messages are not suitable for oral
Oral messages cannot be retained for long time
Oral messages do not have any legal validity
unless they are taped and made a part of
permanent record .
Although oral communication offer greater
opportunity for clarification ,there are also
inherent in them greater chances of
Essentials of oral
Appropriate word choice
Avoiding hackneyed phrases and
Face to face communication: m
Merits and limitations
Facial expressions and gestures help to
It reinforced with the help of tone ,pitch
and intensity of the speaker ‘s voice .
The message being communicated gets
assistance of facial expressions and
Particularly suitable for discussion.
There is a immediate feedback from the
total personality of the listener .
It provides the speaker with a much better
opportunity for adjustment.
• Difficult to practice in a large –sized
• Not effective in large gathering
• Ineffective if the listener is not
• Visual communication alone is not enough .it
can be effective only in combination with
• It can be used to transmit very
elementary and simple ideas ,orders
• As we can easily interpolate the message
given by a poster including two pieces of
bone put in a cross- wise fashion and a
skull placed in between.
• It is a combination of sight and sound.
• Make use of written record also.
• It facilitate interpretations and ensure that
message is driven home.
• Information transmitted through audio-visual
retained much longer than any other means.
• It is found most suitable for mass publicity
,mass propaganda and mass education.
• Within the organisation ,the workers can be
educated by suitable demonstrations on the
close-circuit televisions screen.
• It is necessary to make the films and slides
attractive and interesting.
• The narration becomes clear ,precise ,lucid and
• It is also advisable to keep the films short and
to screen them at an appropriate time.
Computer –based communication
• Advantages of computer technology
• The quickest means of communication
• Space no longer a barrier to
• Video conferencing can replace personal
• Better means of keeping permanent record
of valuable and bulky data
• World –wide web as a publishing platform.
• Uncertain legal validity
• Fear of undesirable leakage
• The virus malady
• Horizontal or lateral
Diagonal or crosswise
Any organization has an inbuilt hierarchical
system, and in that, in the first instances,
communication invariably flows downwards.
Written: e.g. memoranda ,letters, handbooks,
pamphlets, policy statements.
Oral: e.g. speeches, meetings, telephones etc.
•Used by most large schools that are hierarchical in
• Flows from Superintendent to Assistant
Superintendent to principal to Assistant Principals
to Faculty to students.
• Necessary to clarify district’s goals, provide a
sense of mission, assist in indoctrinating new
employees. Inform employees about educational
changes that impact the district and to provide
subordinates with data regarding their
PROBLEMS WITH DOWNWARD
Subordinates select and prioritize messages in
accordance with their perception of their Boss’s
character, personality, and motivation.
Sender does not devote enough time to learn
whether messages have been received and
Those at the Top may shut off this channel at
certain times and on certain subjects or
withhold information on a need to know basis.
Downward communication tends to be dominate
in mechanistic organizations, as opposed to
organic systems which are more open and
unidirectional in flows of information.
Ways to improve Downward
• Adopt training sessions for administrators to
help them learn better ways to communicate.
• Get out of the office and walk around talk to
employees on the firing line.
• Conduct regular supervisory subordinate
discussion sessions, which will help identify,
analyze ,and solve problems in collaboration
The main functions of upward communication
is to supply information to the upper levels
about what is happening at the lower levels.
For example: suggestion systems, appeal and
grievance procedures, complaint system ,
counseling sessions , joint setting of
objectives , the grapevine, group meetings. etc
• Provides feedback to Administrators from
• Helps monitor decision making
• Helps gauge organizational climate.
• Deals with problem areas quickly .
• Provides needed information to
PROBLEMS WITH UPWARD
• Subject to filtering and distortion because
subordinates do not want superiors to gain
information that could be damaging to the
• Highly cohesive groups tend to withhold
information that might be damaging to the
group as a whole.
• Lower level subordinate show less openness
to upward communication than those who
are at higher levels in the organization.
WAYS TO IMPROVE UPWARD
Open Door Policy
• Meetings to probe job problems,and needs.
• Determine what administrative practices help or
hinder subordinate job performance.
• Provide feedback to administrators and encourage
subordinates to offer ideas.
• Help subordinates feel self worth and importance.
• Studies show these meetings reduce turnover and
improve subordinates attitudes
OPEN DOOR POLICY
• Encourages subordinates to walk in and
talk to administrators many levels up.
• They are encouraged to talk with
immediate supervisors first to eliminate
resentment among administrators who
• Some barriers exist such as
subordinates who do not want to be
identified as having a problem.
• Subordinates can submit letters to
administrators or suggestions.
• All letters are anonymous.
• All submissions must be answered without
• Replies can be delivered to the
appropriate lower level administrator in
cases where the communicator is
Participation in social groups
Act as unplanned upward commnication .
Parties, Picnics, golf outings, cookouts,
retreats, and other employer sponsored
Main barrier can sometimes be a lack of
Lateral or Horizontal
• Occur between people at the same level.
• When communication takes place between two
or more persons who are subordinates working
under the same person, or those who are
working under the same person.
• e.g. this variety of communication mostly
takes place during committee meetings or
It is carried on through:Face to face discussion
Important for promoting-Understanding &
coordination among various people or
Diagonal or Crosswise
• Includes the horizontal flow of information.
• It is also among persons at different levels
• who have no direct reporting relationships
• Oral e.g. Informal meetings, lunch hours meeting
• Written e.g. Magazines, Journals, Company
• This Kind of communication is used to speed
information flow to improve understanding.
Asst. Supt. For
Asst. Supt. For
I HEARD IT THROUGH THE
• Used when employees feel the
organizational forms of communication have
• Exists in all organizations.
• Nearly five out of six messages are carried
this way rather than formal methods of
• This form of communication is very rapid.
• It has both positive and negative features.
• Positive features include.
Keeps subordinates informed about
important organizational matters.
Gives administrators insight about
Provides subordinates a relief valve to vent
Provides a test of subordinates feelings
about a new procedure or Policy without
making formal commitments.
Helps build moral by passing positive
comments regarding the organisation.
Rumor is the one item that gives the
grapevine its bad reputation.
• An informal channel of communication.
• Can flow vertically,horizontally,diagonally.
Types of grapevine
• (1) Single strand:flows like a chain
• (2) Gossip :one person tells everybody else
• (3) Probability(random) :information may
move from anybody to anybody
• (4) cluster :moves through selected groups.
Importance of grapevine
• Emotional relief
• Harmony & Cohesiveness in the organisation
• Supplement to other channels
• A fast channel
• Provides feedback
Demits of grapevine
• Distortion of information
• May transmit incomplete information
• Travels with destructive swiftness
To use it effectively
The manager should• Keep an eye on rumor-mongers
• Primarily for feedback
• Contradict rumours promptly
• Involve the workers in the decision making