The 28 Types Of Communication And Their Characteristics

The communicative act can take many forms and attend various classifications.

Communication is the action of exchanging information, either between two or more people, with the aim of transmitting and receiving information (written, emotional, etc.). The person (or persons) who sends the information is the sender, and the person who received it is the receiver. The medium by which the message is transmitted is the channel.

But this relatively simple scheme does not cover all the complexity of the process, because in reality there are many types of communication, not just one. In this article we will see its characteristics and what it means to know how to master them well.

The main communication skills

Being a good communicator is key to personal relationships, to the success of your professional career and, also, to people’s emotional health. In other words, being a competent communicator is necessary to function successfully in this life.

And it is that if something characterizes the people who are happier, it is that they are competent communicators, which helps them to face the situations of their daily life in the most satisfactory way. For example, when resolving an argument with your partner or when presenting your candidacy in a job interview. Luckily, communication skills can be learned. 

But … what are these communication skills? Good communicators are characterized by mastering these skills:

  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Emotional validation
  • Nonverbal language
  • Conflict resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Verbal language
  • Read
  • to write
  • Respect
  • Persuasiveness
  • Credibility

You can delve into these aspects in our article: ” The 10 basic communication skills.” Now, to understand well how you can take advantage of the act of communicating, it is necessary to know the types of communication.

Types of communication

As we have seen, beyond the basic scheme of the process of transmitting a message there are different types of communication, since the senders can be different and the information that is sent and the channel through which it circulates as well. Below you can find the classification of the various forms of communication, according to various criteria:

Verbal and non-verbal communication

Two types of communication that are often talked about a lot are verbal and non-verbal communication. This dichotomous classification refers to whether the message is verbalized or not.

1. Verbal communication

Verbal communication is characterized by the use of words in the interaction between the sender and the receiver. There are two types, since words or language can be expressed in a spoken or written way:

  • Oral communication : it is done through oral signs or spoken words. Screaming, crying, or laughing are also oral communication.
  • Written communication : it is done through written codes. Hieroglyphs, alphabets or logos also belong to this type of communication.

Although verbal communication is the most explicit and obvious, given that it is regulated by a series of rules that take us several years to learn and that allow us to transmit relatively clear and often even concise units of meaning, it must be borne in mind that after it There is also another one as or more important than this one that, in addition, can modify the meaning of the first. It is about non-verbal communication, which we will see below.

2. Non-verbal communication

This type of language is carried out without the use of words and, in many cases, unconsciously. Body movements, postures, eyes, the way of sitting or walking are some examples.

In most cases, both the issuance of messages and the interpretation of these are processes carried out automatically, even unintentionally. This is so because this type of communication is the one that has had the most importance throughout our evolutionary history, in stages of evolution in which the use of words did not yet exist.

However, the messages related to non-verbal communication are relatively ambiguous and difficult to interpret, since, unlike the previous type, it is not governed by consensual and explicitly learned norms.

According to the number of participants

The type of communication may vary depending on the people who participate in the communicative interaction

3. Individual

In this type of communication, only a sender and a receiver interact, that is, the communication occurs from individual to individual. It is a framework of interactions characterized by privacy and by the impossibility of trying to impact an audience or a third person who observes.

4. Collective

This type of communication occurs when there are more than two people exchanging messages. In these cases, the situation may arise that despite the fact that one person addresses the other in his speech, it is intended to cause an effect not on him, but on other people.

5. Intrapersonal

This type of communication occurs when a person communicates with himself. For example, when someone has to make a decision and reasons the solutions. It is debated whether it can really be considered communication.

6. Interindividual

Inter-individual communication occurs when two people communicate, either verbally or non-verbally, basically expressing feelings.

7. Intragroup

This type of communication occurs when two or more members communicate a group or colectiv or.

8. Intergroup

Intergroup communication refers to the communication that exists between groups. For example, between the performers and a group of spectators.

9. Mass communication

The mass or mass communication refers to the interaction between a single sender and a massive or audienci receiver to. The recipient must be: a large group of people, be heterogeneous and be anonymous.

According to the sensory channel

According to the sensory channel, it is possible to differentiate different kinds of communication:

10. Visual communication

In this type of communication, messages (for example, ideas) are transmitted through the visual medium and are perceived through sight.

11. Auditory communication

It is a type of communication in which messages and information are perceived through the ear. For example, music. Of course, it is one of the most used types of communication, since it can connect two people over a relatively wide distance and, in addition, it makes it easy to locate the source of the message, something that does not happen for example with the olfactory.

12. Touch communication

In tactile communication, information is perceived through touch, usually through the skin or through braille writing.

13. Olfactory communication

The message received through the olfactory route shapes olfactory communication. For example, the act of perceiving the information that a person gives by their smell. 

Like auditory communication, the message can travel long distances, but in this case it is not easy to locate the source or establish a sequence of information. However, the message remains in the environment much longer than it does with sounds.

14. Gustatory communication

It is a type of communication in which information is sent through taste. For example, when a “chef” makes a recipe for a group of diners. Unfortunately, in this type of communication the information is usually limited to the chemical properties of the element that is tasted, and there are no precise data or information chains.

According to the technology channel

Depending on the technology channel, the types of communication can be:

15. Telephone communication

It is the communication that takes place through the telephone device. Whether fixed or mobile. Allows you to interact with people who are far away.

16. Virtual or digital communication

Virtual or digital communication is the communication that takes place thanks to the world connected through the Internet. It includes both a Skype conversation and the sender’s writing and the receiver’s reading of an article published on a blog.

17. Television communication

The communication that occurs through television is television communication.

18. Cinematographic communication

It is the communication that takes place through the big screen and thanks to feature films or cinematographic productions.

According to the use or purpose

Depending on the purpose or objective of the communication, it may be:

19. Advertising communication

This type of communication occurs when a company sends a message, generally to a group of consumers, to publicize its brand or sell a product. In this case, the main interested party is the issuer, who is the one who wants to sell something.

20. Journalistic communication

It is the communication that is made through different media in order to inform the receiver from the journalistic perspective.

21. Educational communication

The content of this kind of communication is educational. For example, when a student attends a class in which her teacher is teaching a subject.

22. Political communication

Information of this type is communication, is political and the content usually has a strong ideological load. For example, when someone attends a debate in which the speaker is a politician trying to win their vote. Unlike advertising, propaganda is not intended to encourage buying, but to change the mindset of the recipients.

Other types of communication

There are also other types of communication:

23. Sign communication

This type of communication refers to that used by deaf and deaf-mute people and people around them to establish a channel of communication with their social circles, whether it is made up of other deaf people or people without hearing problems.

24. Organizational communication

Organizational communication refers to the communication that occurs within companies and from companies outside. It is also called corporate communication.

25. Vertical communication

Vertical communication is a type of communication that occurs between different levels or hierarchical positions within an organization. There are two types:

  • Upward communication : from employees to senior managers.
  • Downward communication : from senior managers to employees.

26. Horizontal communication

Another type of organizational communication that occurs within the same level. For example, between departments with the same hierarchical rank or between workers in the same office.

27. Sexual communication

The content of the communication is sexual. Either through verbal language or by sending photographs through WhatsApp, which is known as “ Sexting ”.

28. Emotional communication

Emotional communication refers to the content being emotional. It can be verbal, when expressing feelings, or non-verbal, for example, when laughing or crying. 

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