What is Communication? Characteristics, Communication Process, Factors, Types Of Communication, 7 Cs of Communication

Definition

Communication is the act of transferring information from one person, group or place to another.

Each communication needs at least one sender, one recipient, and a message. Maybe it sounds simple but actually, communication is a very complex subject.

The transmission of the message from the sender to the recipient can be affected by a lot of barriers. These include our cultural situations, emotions, location and the medium used to communicate. For these barriers, accurate, effective and unambiguous communication is actually extremely hard.

Characteristics of Communication

  • Communication involves a minimum of 2 persons– the sender and the receiver.
  • Communication is basically a two-way process. It is not only sending and receiving messages, it is incomplete until the message has been understood by the receiver in the same sense.
  • The forms of communication are; order, report, instruction, queries, etc.
  • Communication is present in all human relationships; is essential in all types of management and organizations.
  • It is influenced by the mood of thinking of both the sender and the receiver.
  • Basically, communication is goal-oriented and it is effective when there involves a number of goals of the sender and the receiver.
  • The main objectives of communication are to build interpersonal relationships and enhance human behaviour.
  • Communication is a circular process, it starts and ends with the sender.

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Communication Process

Communication is a cyclic process that starts with the sender and ends with the sender in the form of feedback. The communication process consists of some steps where each step constitutes the essence of effective communication.

Here is some elements of effective communication;

Sender

A sender is basically a person who starts the communication by transmitting or sending a message. The sender is the initiator of the message that needs to be transmitted. After having created the information, idea etc, the sender encodes it in such a manner that can be easy to understand for the receiver.

Message

The message is the main subject of the communication. Without a message the whole communication is meaningless. A message contains a thought, idea, picture, symbol, report or order to gestures and postures. The message is considered the heart of the communication. A message can be verbal (written and spoken) or non-verbal (pictorial, symbolic or gestures).

Encoding

Putting the targeted message (verbal or non-verbal, depending upon the situation, time, space and nature of the message to be sent) into an appropriate medium is called encoding. Encoding is the most important step in the communication process. A wrong and inappropriate encoding may change the true intent of the communication.

Channel

Channel refers to the mode the message flows or transmitted through. The message is transmitted over a channel that links the receiver with the sender. The message may be written or oral and it may be transmitted through a computer, a cellphone, telephone, televisions or a memorandum.

Receiver

The receiver is the person, group or community for who the message is meant. He or she may be a reader, viewer or listener. The receiver needs to comprehend the message sent in the best possible manner such that the true intent of the communication is attained, any negligence on the behalf of the receiver may make the communication useless.

As the sender, the receiver is also the important factor of the communication process as it is the other end of the process. The receiver should be in a fit condition when receiving the message.

Decoding

Converting the sent message into intelligible language is called decoding. Generally, it means comprehending the message. After receiving the message the receiver interprets it and tries to understand it in the best possible manner.

Feedback

It is the ultimate aspect of communication. It is the response of the receiver to get the message sent by the sender. Feedback is necessary to ensure that the message has been successfully encoded, sent and decoded. It is the key to make communication effective and purposeful.

Types of Feedback

  • Negative feedback: corrective comments about past behaviour.
  • Positive feedback: affirming comments about past behaviour.
  • Negative feedforward: corrective comments about future behaviour.
  • Positive feedforward: affirming comments about future behaviour.

Types of Communication

There are 5 types of communication that exists; verbal, non-verbal, written, visual and listening.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication happens when we interact in speaking with others. It can be face to face or a virtual meeting ( skype, zoom, telephone etc.). Some interactions are formal, such as chatting with a friend over tea or coffee or in a sudden meeting while others are more formal, such as a scheduled meeting in a fixed place. When communicating face to face, that verbal communication cannot be separated from non-verbal communication.

Non-Verbal Communication

Our body language while we speak often says more than the actual words. Non-verbal communication includes hand movement, facial expression, eye contact, posture and touch.

If you are engaged in a conversation with your boss over an idea, it is important to pay attention to both the words and their non-verbal communication. In some case, your boss might be in agreement with your way of thinking verbally, but some non-verbal cause ( sighing, avoiding eye contact, scrunched face etc.) indicate something different.

Written Communication

Written communication includes an e-mail, a memo, Facebook post, Twitter post, text message, letter etc. It doesn’t include anybody language or any expression. All forms of written communication have one goal, which is to disseminate information in a clear and concise manner. Written communication should be easy to understand, while, poor writing skill creates confusion and embarrassment and even the cause of failure.

Here are two things to remember: First, poorly constructed sentences and errors make you look bad; and second, ensure the content is something you want to promote or be associated with for the long haul.

Listening

Listening is one of the most important types of communication because if we cannot listen to the person sitting across from us, we cannot properly engage with them. think about a negotiation is to assess what the opposition wants and needs.

Visual Communication

We are living in a visual society. Where televisions are running all time, Facebook is full of images, videos, memes etc., Instagram is a video and image platform, where every advertiser used to sell their products and ideas. Newspaper is also an integral part of our society. There we can see ads., messages and many more. These are also one type of visual communication.

7 Cs of Effective Communication

Employees spend 30% of their time on emails, meetings, presentations, conference calls, reporting and several other activities at the workplace that involve communicating with colleagues and superiors. In this field, you have to be sure that your communication is the most efficient and engaging. It will increase your productivity at work. For this, you have to follow the 7 Cs of effective communication; that is – clear, correct, complete, concise, concrete, coherent and courteous.

Clear

It should be effortless to the receiver to understand your message. Any message needs to come out clearly from your communication. This will consume your time being wasted on emails.

Don’t try to communicate so many things in one message because it will dilute the attention of the reader or the receiver.

Correct

When you write too many emails in a day then it increases the chances of spelling mistakes in your messages. Sometimes spellchecker will not be able to find out your mistakes. You also need to be sure that you address people in the right manner and their names correctly. you also need to ensure that the viewer or reader of your messages have sufficient knowledge and skill to understand the technical terms that you use in your message.

Complete

For effective communication, you should provide a complete message. It will help the reader to understand and take action. Incomplete messages lead to a lot of back-and-forth, iterations and waste of time and effort for both ends.

If you want the reader to take action immediately, ensure that you have a ‘call-to-action’ in your mail or any other type of message and also communicate the urgency of task in question.

Concise

You should not write 4 sentences in a message where you can finish the message in just 2 sentences. It will waste the time of both sender and receiver and decrease their productivity too. You shouldn’t add fillers such as, ‘basically’, ‘sort of’, ‘I mean’, ‘Actually’ etc. Remember, your message needs to be accurate, crisp and to the pioint.

Concrete

You need to accept what you want to convey to the audience. Concreteness is an important quality of communication that needs to come to the fore especially during the marketing or advertising campaigns. Your confidence should capture the attention of the audience and of course not bore them.

Coherent

Your message should have proper logic. All sentences in your mail or report should be connected to the previous one and also stick to the main topic. Without coherence, the reader must lose track easily that you have conveyed.

Courteous

Being courteous is of serious importance in a corporate setting. Individuals who work together are not necessarily friends and therefore, to maintain a healthy working relationship, you need to be courteous. Insulting and aggressive tones will cause trouble among individuals and result in reduced productivity.

References:

https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/what-is-communication.html

https://drexel.edu/goodwin/professional-studies-blog/overview/2018/July/Five-types-of-communication/

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/effective_communication/effective_communication_process.htm#:~:text=The%20process%20of%20communication%20refers,in%20the%20form%20of%20feedback.

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