Forms of communication

Different Forms of Communication

What is communication?

Communication is the exchange of information from one person to another person. This can be on a one–on–one basis within or a group of people. Almost every type of communication exchange involves at least one sender and one receiver. When we communicate with one another, we need to consider our emotions and that of the others, cultural considerations, the location, and the medium that we use to communicate. All forms of communication are a very important part of our lives personally as well as professionally.

A Communication exchange has three different parts:

  • The sender or speaker
  • The message or content
  • The recipient or listener

Receiving feedback is also another important aspect of communication. When the recipient has/hasn’t understood the message delivered by the sender, the recipient lets the sender know that they have received/not received and understood/not understood the information. The recipients of the message play the role of providing feedback as to how they comprehend the message. This of course is done by verbal or non-verbal (facial expressions, gestures, etc.) feedback.

The senders in turn will pay attention to the feedback they receive in order to ensure that the message has been received as they have intended,  by giving further explanation and clarity as and when deemed required.

What are the different forms of communication?

There are different forms of communication, such as

  • Verbal communication.
  • Non-verbal communication.
  • Written communication.
  • Listening.
  • Visual communication.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication is when we use spoken language to communicate with others. We use words, phrases, sentences, conversations, etc. in the form of verbal conversations. It can be done face to face with another person or with a group of people. This can also include telephonic conversations, skype calls, etc. Many times we use non-verbal communication along with verbal communication. These include visual cues and body language.

Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication includes any other communication that is not verbal such as gestures, signs, facial expressions, etc.  Verbal communication is frequently supplemented by non-verbal communication. It supplements it. However, it can be used as the sole mode of communication as well such as sign languages. Using sign language is a form of communication. There are various sign languages such as:

  • Indian Sign Language (ISL)
  • British Sign Language(BSL)
  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN)

Non-verbal communication also consists of body posture, pointing, eye contact, touch, and overall movements of the body. It also consists of the tone, pitch, and quality of the voice.

Written communication

This can be in the form of a letter, email, case report, or comment on social media. It can be handwritten or typed. Some people choose to use written communication as the main communication form. One good example is a person who uses a high-tech Augmentative & Alternative Communication device (AAC) to type their communicative messages. Another example would be of a person whose written modality is preserved after a stroke but the verbal mode is impaired.

Listening

Active listening is one of the crucial parts of communication. Only when we actively listen can we meaningfully engage with the person talking to us. If you do not heed to a conversation, it can get difficult for you to respond appropriately.

Visual communication

Visual communication is a form of communication that takes place with the help of visual aids. Some of the examples include the following:

  • Drawings
  • Illustrations
  • Colors
  • Road Signs.
  • Symbols
  • AAC devices

It is a common form of communication. Visual communication such as signs and symbols can be useful. An advantage of using visual communication such as signs and symbols is that it is the most universal form of communication. For example, a red traffic light means “Stop” all over the world. The meaning of this color is to stop no matter which country you are in. Visual communication is also easy to comprehend.

With visual communication, there are always a lot of ways to be creative. Many individuals use a visual mode of communication as the sole form of communication on a daily basis. These include high or low-tech AAC devices used by children who are non-verbal communicators. They use signs and symbols by means of pointing at their AAC devices.

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