Types of Communication

Types of Communication 


Following are the different types of communication :

A. On the basis of the number of participants.

This classification of communication is based on ‘either a man communicate with himself, or two men communicate with each other, or more than two Men are indulged in this act.’

  1. Intra-personal Communication

When a man communicates with himself to develop useful ideas.

  1. Interpersonal (Dyadic) Communication

When a person communicate his thoughts to another person.

  1. Intra Group (Multiadic) Communication

A complex form of communication which occurs between more than two individuals.

  1. Intergroup (Association) Communication

The communication which involves two groups

  1. Organisational (Institutional) Communication

The form of communication which is used in business enterprises.

  1. Public Communication

The form of communication in which public (which can be heard and addressed) is involved.

  1. Mass Communication

When a person or firm communicates with a very large group o people or society without meeting them in a conference hall or meeting room.


B. On the Basis of Direction of Flow

This classification is based on the guiding factors in a firm or institution. In a firm, orders can move down and reports and suggestions can move upwards.

1.Downward Communication. In this type of communication orders or informations move down wards from superiors to subordinates.

 Essentials of effective downward communication

  • Downward communication flows from a superior to the subordinate staff.
  • Its objectives are
  • to give directives about some job,
  • to explain policies and procedures,
  • to convey assessment of performance
  • to explain the rationale of the job.
  • Its limitations are
  • under-communication or over-communication,
  • in case of a long line of communication, there may be
  • Delay
  • loss of information
  • distortion resentment by subordinate staff
  • To make it effective
  • in-charge should be adequately informed
  • in-charge should be clear about how much to communicate
  • some authority should be delegated to lower levels to shorten the line of communication – information should be passed on to the correct person.


2.Upward Communication.

When informations move upward from subordinates and continues up to the top of organisational hierarchy. It is an important type of communication which controls purposes.

Essentials of effective upward communication

  • Upward communication moves from the subordinate staff to the superiors.
  • Its importance is
  • provides feedback to the superiors,
  • releases the pent-up emotions of the subordinate staff,
  • provides the superiors with useful suggestions,
  • makes the introduction of new schemes easier,
  • promotes harmony
  • Its channels are
  • superiors keep an open door,
  • complaints-and-suggestions boxes,
  • social gatherings,
  • direct correspondence,
  • Reports
  • counselling
  • Its limitations are
  • employees are reluctant to express themselves,
  • employees fear that their criticism may be interpreted as a sign of their personal weakness,
  • great possibility of distortion,
  • bypassed superiors feel insulted
  • To make it effective
  • superiors should take initiative to get close to the subordinate staff;
  • keeping the line of communication short,
  • prompt redressal of legitimate grievances.


  1. Crosswise (Diagonal) Communication

This type of communication involves different people on the same organisational or different levels of the organisational hierarchy.


C. On the basis of way of expression

On the basis of way of expression, communication can be classified into six major groups.

1.Written Communication.

In this type of communication, message is sent/obtained through printed or hand-written texts.

2. Oral Communication

It may be of two types

(i) Audio. It refers to the movement message for ears, while the speaker is not present before the listener,

(ii) Verbal. It refers to the transfer of message by words, while the listener is present before the speaker.

3. Visual Communication

When the communication involves the use of more visuals and less text.

4. Audio visual Communication

When the information is obtained by the combination of pictures with voices.

5. Non-verbal Communication

This type of communication involves the use of face, gestures, attire, eyes etc. for the transfer of an information.

6. No Comm (No Communication)

It refers to the total elimination of the response of the receiver to the message of the sender. The reason for this behavior could be psychological, unfavourable conditions or flaws in the business deal.


D. On the Basis of organizational structure

1.Formal Communication

In this type of communication, informations are sent and authenticated by corporate firms, government departments, NGOs, social service groups etc. that have strict and rigid procedures to achieve their respective objectives.

2.Informal Communication (Grapevine)

It arises due to informal relations between persons and grows spontaneously from personal and group interests. Verbal discussion, a gesture, hod, smile or even silence can be the indium of this type of communication.

E. On the basis of Objective

Objectives of communication may be social, political, education, entertainment, business or news and views.

1.Mass/Societal Communication

In this type of communication masses are communicated to be addressed certain burning issues.

2. Socializing Communication

This type of communication involves individual talking, exchange of e-mail, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), video mail and newsgroup discussions.

3. Political Communication

Political speeches, meetings, conferences, rumours, propaganda, publicity and election campaigns are involved in this type of communication.

4. Educational Communication

When communication is done to educate the masses.

5. Business Communication

When communication is used for business purposes.

6. Entertainment Communication

When communication is used to entertain people.

7.News and Views Communication

This type of communication is used to convey or obtain news and wide range views.

8.City Information Communication

It concerns data regarding city elements.

9.Data Collection Communication

It is used to collect useful data.

F. On the basis of environment of the firm

On the basis of environment of the firm, communication be classified in two groups:

1.External Communication

If the information of communication is related to those elements that operate outside the organisation.

2.Internal Communication

When the information is related to those elements that are a part of the organisation.


G. On the basis of the modes of mediation

  1. Human Communication.

According to DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach, “human communication begins when one person decides what he or she wants to arouse a specific set of internal meaning experience in another individual by initiating a significant symbol. The process of communication has been completed when the internal experiences of the receiving person are more or less paralleled to those intended by communication…. there are semantic, neurological, psychological, cultural, and social dimensions in human communication.”

  1. Mediated Communication

This type of communication involves the use of media to send the message across to the receiver. The media would be used when we plan to communicate with

i.another person

ii. a group of people


iv. institutions

v. public and

vi. the masses

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