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Communication: Meaning, Definitions, Nature, Purpose, Importance, Forms, Process, and Barriers

What is Communication?

Communication is a way of sharing thoughts and information between two or more people by using verbal and non-verbal means.

Meaning of Communication

The word “communication” comes from the Latin word communicate, which means to share. Simply put, the act of transferring information from one place to another is known as communication.

Communication is importance in all aspects of human life. One can communicate using words of a language or through non-verbal gestures or signs.


Definitions of Communication

Some important definitions of communication are given by the authors:

“Communication is transfer of information and understanding from one person to another person”

Keith Davis.

“Communication is essentially the ability of one person to more contact with another and to make her or himself understand”.

John Adair.

“Communication is a bridge of meaning. It involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding”.

Louis Allen.

“Communication is a process by which information is transmitted between individuals and or organizations so that an understanding response results”.

Peter Little.

“The word Communication describes the process of conveying messages (facts, ideas, attitudes and opinions) from one person to another, so that they are understood”.

M.W. Cumming.

Nature of Communication

The followings are the nature/characteristics of communication:

  1. Involvement of Two or More Persons
  2. Process of Exchanging
  3. Universal Activity
  4. Intentional or Unintentional
  5. Two-way Process
  6. Communication is Systemic

Involvement of Two or More Persons

The communication process involves at least two persons, the sender and the receiver. The sender is the person who starts the communication and sends some kind of message to the receiver and communication comes to an end when the receiver sends his feedback to the sender.

Process of Exchanging

Communication is a process of exchanging ideas, facts, emotions, gestures, symbols and actions from sender to receiver. It is a link between sender and receiver to communicate.

Universal Activity

Communication is a universal activity which is equally useful and necessary in politics, religion and the economy around the whole world. Communication serves to connect people around the world.

Intentional or Unintentional

Communication may be intentional or unintentional. When people communicate for achieving some kind of purpose then it is considered intentional communication.

Unintentional communication may be non-verbal. it often comes in forms that are expressed unconsciously (e.g., physical posture, tone of voice, behaviour, et cetera).

Two-way Process

Communication is a two-way process, communication doesn’t complete until feedback from the receiver to the sender is received.

Communication is Systemic

That is, every component of the process is affected by every other component. For example, if there is a fault in the telephone (channel of communication), it will affect the message received by the receiver.


Purpose of Communication

The purpose of communication is discussed below:

  1. Purpose of Creating Awareness
  2. Purpose to Educate
  3. Purpose to Train
  4. Purpose to Motivate
  5. Purpose to Integrate
  6. Relate and Connect
  7. Purpose to Entertain

Purpose of Creating Awareness

The first and foremost purpose of any communication is to create awareness. In today’s world, being aware gives you the power to keep a head over your opponents. Communication brings power through information

It ensures effective external communication—with customers, prospects, competitors, suppliers and the public, about products, services, plans, happenings, events and achievements.

Purpose to Educate

Another purpose of communication is to educate people. Communication helps to spread knowledge and develop skills and attitudes among the people. Communication helps in teaching and learning with an aim to widen knowledge as well as develop skills.

Purpose to Train

Communication is an integral component of any training program. Business organizations need to train people to achieve proficiency in specific skills. Training sessions involve teaching, instruction, demonstration, practice and discussion. These factors are all important parts of communication.

Purpose to Motivate

Motivation ensures high levels of productivity and efficiency in all activities. And communication provides the means to keep motivation levels high. Talks, lectures, films, meetings, workshops and non-verbal messages are among the means used to motivate people.

Purpose to Integrate

Communication provides the means for an integrated approach where lots of people work altogether. Effective communication is a must to ensure that people working in different functional and geographical areas are integrated into well-knit teams that work at cross purposes and continue to achieve goals.

Relate and Connect

Communication that provides the means for building and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships. These relationships are both personal and formal. Communication helps in creating a friendlier environment where people can relate to one another.

Purpose to Entertain

Communication facilitates entertainment. It facilitates social bonding and brings in lighter moments that help in releasing the tension, fostering camaraderie and getting rid of negative feelings.


Importance of Communication

The following are the importance of communication:

  1. Helps in Connecting
  2. Helps in Proper Planning
  3. Facilitates Decision Making
  4. Helps Networking
  5. Helps in Motivation and Morale
  6. Helps in Effective Organizing
  7. Helps in Coordination

Helps in Connecting

Communication helps in connecting people by helping them express their thoughts and feelings to one another. Sometimes expressing sad feelings to others helps in releasing stress and frustration.

Helps in Proper Planning

Communication provides important means to conduct effective and proper planning. Means like researching, information, information analysis etc. ensure better implementation of planning.

Facilitates Decision Making

Decision-making constitutes an important function for achieving desired results. And Communication helps in deciding those decisions for better or worse.

Helps Networking

Networking means a closely connected group of people. People need to connect with each other, not only within their organizations but among themselves as well. Networking facilitates the easy flow of ideas, thoughts, policies and decisions.

At their individual level too, people need to network themselves so as to exchange ideas and information. Any such networking takes place through the medium of communication.

Helps in Motivation and Morale

Communication helps in motivating people and by doing so it also enhances their morale.

Helps in Effective Organizing

Communication helps in organizing work among individuals and groups of individuals, coordinating the activities of such individuals and groups to extract the best outcome and it cannot be done without communication.

Helps in Coordination

Communication enhances the coordination between groups of people by creating awareness for each person in the group.


Forms of Communication

The followings are the different forms of communication:

  1. Verbal Communication
  2. Non-verbal Communication
  3. Formal Communication
  4. Informal Communication

Verbal Communication

verbal communication refers to the communication between people using oral or written words. In other words, when people share their thoughts by using oral or written words that process is called verbal communication. The information is transferred from the sender to the receiver through oral or written mediums of communication.

Basically, verbal communication can be divided into two categories and they are:

  • Oral communication: Oral communication process where we speak with someone by using words.

  • Written communication: Written communication involves the words which are in a written form.

Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal Communication is a form of communication where the speaker generally does not exchange words; however, the communication takes place by using non-verbal cues. Non-verbal communication involves the use of symbols, signs, gestures, body language, facial expressions, eye contact, physical appearance etc.

Non-verbal communication is an important aspect of our lives. We communicate with signs and symbols on a daily basis. These conversations are normally one sided.

Formal Communication

Formal communication is also known as “official communication”. This type of communication is mostly used for business purposes by using emails, letters, applications, minutes or recordings of a meeting, a video or teleconferencing etc.

In the process of formal communication use of language, tone, pitch, and style of writing and speaking should display professionalism and should be accurate for effective communication.

Formal communication is divided into different categories based on the organisational hierarchies and predefined channels.

  • Downward Communication
  • Upward Communication
  • Horizontal Communication
  • Diagonal Communication

Informal Communication

This form of communication is natural and hence people talk about various topics besides work. in this type of communication, people discuss their personal lifestyles with each other which helps in social bonding. This type of communication is mostly oral. It moves faster between people.

In many cases, informal communication at the workplace is considered effective as it helps in team building and people can come together to work as one unit. Informal communication helps in building a strong interpersonal relationship between employees who can work together more efficiently in groups to achieve a common goal.


Process of Communication

The process of communication involves the following steps which are:

Idea Formation: The information source is the first step in the process of communication. First sender has some unprocessed data. Then His/her goal is to turn the data into a message that can be transmitted.

Encoding: The sender composes the message after giving it some thought (verbal symbols or any other symbolic form of expression). Encoding is the term for this procedure.

Transmission: Transmission of a message through a suitable channel of communication, such as orally, in writing, electronically, in code, or via a signalling system.

Receiving: Receiving the message by the sender.

Decoding: Decoding involves comprehending, and interpreting the message. Meaning the receiver converts that message into meaningful and understandable data.

Noise: Noise is a disturbances signal which interferes with the original message and prevents the message from being sent from the transmitter to the receiver.

Feedback: As a final step, feedback on use or action is sent back to the sender.


Barriers to Communication

These sorts of obstacles can be categorised as barriers to communication which are:

Poor Expression: Barriers relating to expression result in poorly expressed messages. Lack of conceptual skills results in inadequate or incomplete shaping of the idea.

Indifference and lack of interest: This is indeed a very strong barrier in the process of communication. Organizations have to make considerable effort to ensure that indifference to organizational communication is brought down to the minimum.

Noise: Noise is yet another barrier especially relevant to verbal communication. Noise disturbs the flow of communication.

Information Overload: Important and essential information is frequently mixed in with too much irrelevant data and overlooked by the receiver. As a result, further communication is not possible.

Intrapersonal Barriers: Includes the aspects of an individual‟s personality which poses a threat to the communication process.

Interpersonal Barriers: Elements beyond one‟s own personality which can pose threat to the communication process.

Organisational Barriers: Disturbance in the flow of communication within the employees of an organisation.


FAQs

What is Communication?

Communication is a way of sharing thoughts and information between two or more people by using verbal and non-verbal means.

What is the nature of communication?

Nature of Communication:
1. Involvement of Two or More Persons
2. Process of Exchanging
3. Universal Activity
4. Intentional or Unintentional
5. Two-way Process

What is the Purpose of Communication?

Purpose of Communication:
1. Purpose of Creating Awareness
2. Purpose to Educate
3. Purpose to Train
4. Purpose to Motivate
5. Purpose to Integrate
6. Purpose to Entertain

What are barriers to communication?

Barriers to Communication:
1. Noise
2. Indifference and lack of interest
3. Information Overload
4. Intrapersonal Barriers
5. Interpersonal Barriers
6. Organisational Barriers

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