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Communication: Methods, Process, Purpose and Barriers

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Methods of Communication

The methods of communication are as follows:

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Verbal communication

Verbal communication is the most used form of communication. Therefore, people are said to be most familiar with verbal communication. Verbal communication refers to the oral transmission, or speaking, of information. Much of verbal communication happens face-to-face, but not all. Spoken messages transmitted by telephone, television, radio and other media also count. E.g. talking to colleagues and lecturers in the HND bridging program at ICBT. Some of the key elements of verbal communication are sound, words, speaking and language.

Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication refers to the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages. This can include eye contact, facial expressions, postures, frequency of glances and blink rate. Non-verbal communication plays an important role in interpersonal relationships and can lead to success if managed properly.

Written communication

Written communication is the medium through which the message of the sender is conveyed with the help of written words. Forms of written communication include letters, memos, emails, essays and text messages. The use of grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation are all involved in written communication.

Communication process

The communication process refers to the steps through which communication occurs between the sender and the receiver. This procedure begins with developing an idea or message by the sender and finishes with the feedback from the receiver.

  • Developing idea by the sender: The first step involves the sender to develop an idea to be conveyed.
  • Encoding: In this stage, the sender must start encoding in order to convey the idea. Encoding means converting information into a message in the form of symbols that represent ideas.
  • Developing the message: After encoding, the sender receives the message which can be transmitted to the receiver. The message can be written, oral, non-verbal or symbolic.
  • Selecting the medium: Medium refers to the channel or means of communicating the message to the receiver. Once the sender has encoded the idea into a message, the next step will be to choose an appropriate medium for communicating it to the receiver. Some of the mediums of communication are writing, speaking, signaling, etc.
  • Transmission of message: In this step, the sender actually communicates the message through the selected medium.
  • Receiving the message by receiver: This stage simply involves the message which was sent by the sender being received by the receiver. The message can be received in the form of seeing, hearing, etc.
  • Decoding: Decoding is the receiver’s interpretation of the sender’s message. In this stage, the receiver converts the message into thoughts and tries to study and interpret it.
  • Feedback: Feedback is the last step of the communication process. Feedback means the receiver’s response to the message sent by the sender. It increases the effectiveness of communication. It makes sure that the receiver has interpreted the message correctly. Feedback is the essence of two-way communication.

The purpose and the importance of communication

Every message has a certain purpose. Following are the purposes of communication:

  • To form and maintain relationships.
  • To solve problems
  • To persuade
  • To convey feelings
  • To make decisions

Communication plays an important role in the human life. The importance of communication can be summarized as follows:

  • Communication plays an important role in the transfer of ideas from one individual to another. Every person has some ideas that are unique to his/her own mind. Many of these ideas can be executed in real life and at times can turn into important creations too.
  • Communication also aids in socializing. In today’s life, the only presence of another person encourages communication. An individual is unable to survive without communication. Therefore, communication is very important when it comes to socializing.
  • Communication acts as a basis for decision making. Communication helps an individual to take better decisions.

Communication barriers and the ways to overcome it

There are many barriers to communication and these barriers may arise at any stage in the communication process. The following are the barriers to communication:

  • Lack of interest, distractions or attention to the receiver.
  • Emotional barriers and taboos: Some individuals may find it quite hard to express their emotions and some of the topics may be completely ‘off-limits’ or taboo. Hard topics or Taboo may include, but are not limited to, religion, politics, disabilities (mental and physical), racism and any viewpoint that may be seen as unpopular.
  • Contrasting perceptions and viewpoints.
  • The use of jargon: Over-complicated, unknown and/or technical words.
  • Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unknown accents.
  • Physical barriers to non-verbal communication: Being unable to see the non-verbal gestures, posture and general body language can make communication ineffective.

The following are the ways to overcome the barriers to communication:

  • Idea about the receiver: The sender should have better ideas regarding the thought, views and feelings of the receiver of the message. Such ideas will result in helping the sender to communicate successfully.
  • Feedback: For communication to be effective, there must be feedback from receiver. The communication process would be incomplete without the feedback.
  • Attentive listening: For communication to be effective, both the sender and the receiver should be attentive and careful listeners from their respective positions.
  • Use of simple and meaningful words: Simple and clear words should be used when in communication. The use of jargons and unclear words should be avoided.
  • Reduction and removal of noise levels: It is quite important to identify the source of noise and then to remove that source.

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