Methods of communication
We communicate by exchanging symbols to
describe our idea and experience. Language is
a common symbol system which we use for
sharing our experience with others. We can
also use other symbols like pictures, colours,
signs and sounds to communicate.
We do communicate a no. of things by our
facial expressions, movements, clothing and
so on whether we speak or not.
Communication through words is verbal
communication and through symbols is nonverbal communication.
Oral and Written
Non verbal
Signs, Symbols,
Colours, Pictures etc.
Verbal Communication
• Any Communication which makes use of words whether oral
or written can be said to be verbal communication.
• Bartol and Martin: “ Verbal communication is the written or
oral use of words to communicate”
• Oral Communication : When we communicate with the help of
the spoken word we call it oral communication.
Oral Communication is more natural and immediate . It requires
presence and simultaneous attention of both the persons. The
attributes needed to take into account in choosing which one
to use in a particular situation are:
• Speed: Written communication is slower in preparation in
conveyance and in reception. It takes time to draft, type,
dispatch and to receive and read a letter than it takes to
speak, hear, listen, understand an oral message.
• Record: Written communication serves as a record and can
be used for future reference. It is a documentary proof and
can be used as legal evidence. Oral communication can be
taped but the authenticity of the voice can be questioned
moreover tapes can be edited and the message distorted.
• Precision and accuracy: Written
communication is more precise and
accurate. It is necessary because the
receiver is not present to ask clarification.
Oral communication is not possible to be
so precise in the choice of words but the
receiver can seek clarification on the spot.
• Expense: Written communication requires
stationery, preparation and transmission
all of which cost money.
Oral Communication
• This occurs in situations like conversations, telephone
talk, interviews, presentations, meetings.
• Types of Oral communication:
• Face to face: Oral communication is best when face to
Adv: Immediate Feedback
Offers Richer communication experience because
presence of the living personality whose voice, tone,
expression and movements add significance to the
Telephone: It depends entirely on the voice
it does not have the advantage of physical
Clarity of speech and skillful use of voice is important.
Confusion between similar sounding words is possible.
Telephone manners are necessary for both parties. The
caller must greet the receiver and reveal his identity at
• At the end of the conversation there must be an
expression of good wishes like good-day or good
night. Usually the person who called is expected to
ring off first, but a junior should wait for the senior to
ring off first. If it is a call from or to a customer, wait
for the customer to ring off first.
• Presentation: A presentation has a face to face
setting. It is formal, well- prepared talk on a specific
topic, delivered to a knowledgeable and interested
audience. While a touch of humour always enriches
a presentation the general tone is serious or
business like.
• Interview: an interview is a meeting at which one
person or a panel of persons, who are the
interviewers discuss a matter with another person
who is the interviewee. the purpose usually is to
assess , to judge whether it would be worthwhile to
enter into a business relationship with the other.
• Meeting: There is a fixed agenda ie a list of issues to be
discussed at the meeting.
• Advantages of oral communication:
• Shades of meaning can be conveyed: With the help of
tone, pitch and intensity a speaker can put additional
meaning into the words or entirely change their sense.
e.g.”Your name is Aarti”.
• Quicker
• Immediate feedback
• Caters to any kind of audience whether literate or
• Modulation, facial expressions speak much more than
any language.
• Personal in nature
• Less expensive
• Disadvantages of Oral Communication:
• Unplanned therefore chances of making
• Retention of lengthy messages is difficult
• No permanent record
• Poor communicators may not be able to
communicate a message effectively
• Is not as confidential as written
Importance of Oral Communication.
• Clarity of Voice
• Volume, Tone, Pitch,and Stress: They are
referred to as paralanguage. The modulation of
your voice and stress will convey different
e.g. Are YOU driving to town?
Are you DRIVING to town?
Are you driving to TOWN?
• Pronunciation
• Eye Contact
• Body language
• Know your audience.
Written Communication
• A famous English writer Francis Bacon has said,
“ Reading maketh a full man and writing an
exact man, conference a ready man”
• Written Communication is used for many
purposes. Many types of documents are
required for official work. Letters, circulars,
memos, notices, reports, minutes are constantly
prepared and exchanged between
organizations. Each has a format or layout which
is fixed by custom.
• Letter: It is the most widely used form, it has a
complex layout. It is mostly used for external
• Circular: Circular is a detailed document giving
information, instructions or orders on a specific
matter. Circulars are generally issued by
governments and other official bodies like councils,
universities, and head Offices of Organizations.
• Report: Report is a document prepared by an
individual or a committee entrusted with the task of
collecting information on a subject. It requires
careful research, collection of data and presentation
of the findings, conclusions an d recommendations.
• Minutes: Minutes are the written record of decisions
taken at a meeting. Minutes may be written by hand
or typed and pasted in a minute book, or typed and
filed in a minute file. Minutes are a legal document.
• Memo: Memo a short form for memorandum is
an informal message between members of an
organization and generally relates to daily work.
Information or instructions can be conveyed by a
• Notice: Notice is used when many people in the
organization have to be given the same
information. It is the most common method of
mass communication within an organization. A
notice should be short ,its language should be
simple, and the type should be large and well
spaced for easy reading.
Importance of written Communication.
Purpose of the message must be clear
Positive Conclusion
Good Organization of ideas.
No Exaggeration
Builds Organization image.
Facilitates proper assignation of responsibilities.
Non Verbal Communication
• Its importance cannot be overemphasized. Every speaker when
talking to us, uses and gives non-verbal signs. According to one
study, only 7% of a message effect is carried by words and listeners
receive the other 93% through non-verbal messages.
• Communication without the use of words is Non- Verbal
Communication. This Communication happens all the time and is
everywhere. It is spontaneous and usually not deliberate or planned.
• Non- verbal communication is not necessarily silent. It can be heard,
tasted, smelled and felt.
• Bartol and Martin: communication by means of elements and beha
viours that are not coded into words.
• Non verbal communication occurs even when there is no verbal
communication. And it always accompanies verbal communication
whether oral or written, it is more difficult to control and may
sometimes betrays the truth which the speaker/ writer is hiding
behind the words. Hence the saying : Non verbal communication
speaks louder than words.
• Proxemics, signs and symbols, colours, time, maps and graphs are
the various forms of non verbal communication.
• Methods of Non-verbal communication
Non-Verbal communication may be visual or auditory.
Visual symbols:
• Colour: Colour is a very important part of communication. Colour
plays a very . important part of communication. Colours are
associated with different moods and feelings. For Eg. Black deals
with sorrow, white with peace and purity, red with danger and so on.
We use red flags in factory when the workers are on strike.
Colour has a psychological effect; motivation and state of mind of
employees is influenced by the colour in the place of work. Calm
and cooling colours have a good influence on work, Black, dark and
gloomy colours are known to reduce the productivity of workers..
Very bright and gaudy colours may be disturbing and over-exciting.
Well matched and softly blending colours are pleasant and soothing.
Colour is an important means of formal communication, eg. Traffic
signals, colour is mainly used for classification and identification.
• Pictorial representation: How effectively pictures communicate
becomes clear from the paintings, murals, engravings found on the
walls of ancient caves, temples and such other buildings. They tell
us a lot about the tribes, or races or rulers or traders, their religon,
their adventurous deeds .A large variety of pictures from simple
drawing to sophisticated coloured pictures and photographs are
used on posters and advertisements.
with a large no. of illiterate and litterate people, a picture is worth a
thousand words because pictures can be universally understood
and more remembered.
e.g. Everybody is familiar with the picture of 2 crossed bones under a
skull as a danger signal, A cross over a cigarette as a warning
against smoking.
• Posters: a poster combines pictures and words. The use of words is
kept to the minimum. it can be used for education and persuasion in
matters like the importance of saving, the danger of drinking, the
value of a neat and clean appearance.
• Graphs and charts: Special skills are required to prepare them.
They cannot be understood by the uneducated, even the educated
persons need some explanation and training before they follow a
chart or graph. The overall situation can be seen at a glance, and
the relationships between the figures are seen more easily than in
tables. It needs less space than description.
• Maps: maps are representations of territory and
are used for conveying the space relationships
between places. They are used for geographical
information of all kinds, such as transport routes,
climatic conditions, distribution of population
• Signs and Signals: A sign is a mark used as a
representation of something, for eg., + for plus,
etc. a signal is a previously agreed movement
which serves to warn, direct or command, the
waving of a green flag is a signal to go ahead,
the firing of a gun salute signals the arrival of a
VIP. A signal may be visual or auditory.
Auditory symbols
• The use of auditory symbols is very limited. Only
very simple information can be conveyed through
sounds. For e.g.: Warning during war time, sirens in
factories to warn for fire or accident, and by police
vehicles. Whistles by police and the army to
assemble or to convey different instructions. Trains
and ships use whistles as a signal to depict
departure and for warning. Bells and Buzzers are
used to indicate starting and ending of work. A bell
with a pleasant sound is associated with worship .
Tunes often depict an identification mark. Programs
on TV and radio are introduced with a signature
tune. Similarly advertisements on these media are
recognized by their tunes. E.g. Airtel, ICICI, News
Body language
• Body language/Kinesics:Body language is a very important part of
oral communication. In face to face communication an important
message is communicated by a number of factors like clothing,
appearance, voice, posture, facial expressions, gestures and other
body movements.
• Unconsciously our body sends out may messages through the way
we look at someone or something, we carry ourselves, we interact
with others , the way we dress. Body language will include the
communication conveyed by the face, gestures, posture and even
dress and appearance. The study of body movements is called
• Facial Expressions: The parts of the face convey several messages
and of these the eyes are the most expressive. looking directly at
someone shows boldness or arrogance, downcast eyes could
indicate diffidence, shyness, fear or discomfort, averting your gaze
would mean guilt and raising the eyebrows along with widening of
the eye may suggest fear or surprise.
• Gestures: The movements of hands, legs, arms, head and
shoulders are termed as gestures. A namaste, A bending of upper
body, a raising of the hand, a handshake are various forms of
• Posture: The way you sit, stand or walk, or the way you
carry yourself speaks about your personality. Soldiers in
uniform marching look smart, imagine them with hands
in their pockets and swaggering along.
• Appearance: Physical appearance may be difficult to
alter although today cosmetic surgery and other
corrective measures can give you new look. Here by
appearance we mean general grooming. We dress
differently for different occasions,. E.g. A wedding in the
family, a visit next door, a friend’s birthday party
attending an interview etc.
• Energy: t is hard to describe. Some impress with a high
level of physical energy which is almost infectious, some
have high intellectual or emotional or spiritual s. It
conveys competence and inspires respect.
• Clothing: clothing requires good taste and judgment to
make a subtle impression by what you wear. The
colored, design, cut and fit combine to make up the
• Silence: Silence can be a very effective way of
communication. Silence is not a negative
absence of speech but a positive withdrawal or
suspension of speech. Silence can be used
deliberately to convey certain feelings like anger
or displeasure. Sympathy with someone who
has suffered a loss is often best expressed by
keeping silent. Silence can be very
embarrassing if it is not possible to interpret it. It
can be very awkward in a group when no one
knows how to break it.
• Short silences are very effective in giving
meaning to words. A pause before or after
certain words make the word stand out from the
Para language
• Para language: Sounds are the basis of paralanguage. Para
languages include:tone of voice, power or emphasis, pitch, rhythm,
volume, pause/ break in a sentence, speed of delivery, loudness,
• Para language can be divided into parts:
• Voice Qualities: pitch, volume, rhythm
• Voice qualifiers: referring to variation in pitch and volume
• Vocal segregates: the sound such as “ahs” and “ers” and pauses.
These clues do match to influence meaning.
• Vocal Charateristics: Embracing laughter, coughing, throat clearing
and sighing.
• Tone is the quality of the voice. Volume is the loudness, softness
which is modified according to the number of persons addressed
and the distance between the speaker and the listener. Pitch is the
high or low note of the scale. The voice becomes high pitched when
the person is struck with fear.
Stress on a particular word can change the meaning of a sentence
and its implication
• Space: it plays a subtle role in body language.
The study of space as a communicative system
is called proxemics. It is the degree and effect of
the spatial separation that individuals naturally
maintain in various social and interpersonal
• Time: It is even more subtle non verbal factor in
communication. Time given to listen and speak
to people creates a sense of self-esteem in
them, it is equated with care and concern for

Methods of communication