Nature of Communication Purpose, Importance, and Forms of Media

Nature of communication

Table of Contents:-

  • Nature of Communication
  • What is Communication 
  • Importance of Communication
  • Communication Meaning
  • Definitions of Communication
  • Purpose of Communication
  • Role and Importance of Communication
  • Forms of Communication
  • Communication media types

Communication is an important part of human interaction, enabling the exchange of information, ideas, and emotions. It plays a role in establishing connections, fostering relationships, and facilitating understanding among people. Understanding the nature of communication is important to effectively navigate the complexities of human interaction.

Communication is a natural process. It is a two-way process that involves stimuli and response. It is a dynamic, irreversible and contextual process.

Nature of Communication

Communication is how people talk, write, and understand each other. It’s like the thread that holds the nature of communication in our relationships and interactions together. It allows us to share ideas and feelings. We use different ways like speaking, writing, and body language to communicate.

Understanding the nature of communication empowers one to navigate the complexities of human interaction with confidence and proficiency.

Below we’ll discuss the nature of communication and why it’s so important for our relationships, learning, and dealing with the challenges of connecting with others.

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Nature of communication

The nature of Communication is given below:

  1. Communication is a natural process
  2. Communication is a two-way process
  3. Communication is dynamic
  4. Communication is Irreversible
  5. Communication is Contextual

The following paragraphs describe the nature of Communication in detail:

1. Communication is a natural process

People spend more time communicating than engaging in any other activity. A significant portion of their day is dedicated to sensing information or participating in communication activities such as talking, listening, reading, writing, drawing, or gesturing. Communication is a natural process. Therefore, as one writer has observed: ‘We cannot not communicate’.

2. Communication is a two-way process

The communication process starts with the sender creating a message (source). The sender stimulates the receiver (destination) by transmitting the message. The sender’s conscious intent is to influence the receiver’s behaviour and obtain a response. The receiver responds discriminatively, thus completing the process. This response is termed feedback, which is essential for the two-way process.

3. Communication is dynamic

Communication is not a mechanistic, linear cause-and-effect process. Instead, it involves a more intricate concept of dynamic change, with two or more participants interacting to gradually develop a deeper level of understanding.

4. Communication is Irreversible

Communication is the flow of information through time. It only moves forward. Once a word is spoken, the speaker cannot take it back. That’s why it’s important to ensure that what is spoken accurately reflects what is in the heart.

5. Communication is Contextual

Communication never occurs in a vacuum; it happens within a context. The communication context includes physical characteristics, such as seating arrangement, colour and lighting, physical space, and more. It also encompasses intangible elements, like the atmosphere or ambience of the place.

What is Communication 

Communication is the two-way process of transferring information from one place, person or group to another. It is a human process that binds people in organizations, homes, nations and the world. Communication is everywhere. It is something everyone does every day for different purposes in different forms. Effective communication is important for the success of individuals and organizations. The nature of communication is all about how people connect, express themselves, and understand each other, which makes it a cornerstone of human society and interpersonal relationships.

Communication is central to everything that we do. Our activities succeed or fail, and our goals are achieved or not, according to our ability to communicate effectively with other members. The object of communication is to convey thoughts, intentions, emotions, and facts, ideas of the one person of the group to the other. The nature of communication is a fundamental and complex aspect of human interaction.

Importance of Communication

The importance of communication can be measured by the fact that we are communicating in some form or other almost every moment of our life. Whenever we are walking, talking, playing, sitting, or even sleeping, a message is being formulated and transmitted. Man is a social animal, and constantly interacts with other individuals. Human beings can symbolize or understand concepts in terms of images or symbols. It is the ability that helps a person to communicate.

Every organization, whatever its business or size, is held together by communication. It is a tool with which managers can influence others, can bring about changes in the attitudes and views of associates. It motivates them and establishes and maintains relations with them. Therefore, to accomplish goals a person should develop and improve his communication skills.

Matheus has said, “Communication is something so simple and different that we can never put it in simple words.”

Communication, this way, is the life of any organisation. Communication is so powerful that it can replace any person in the organization or help to stand straight. This is because, communication is an information science and it gives all required information whether internal or external in the required form, quantity and quality. Communication, as such, facilitates the exchange of facts, ideas, feelings and expressions among the people of an organisation to achieve common goals.

Communication Meaning

The word communication is derived from the Latin word ‘communicate’, which means sharing of information. A communicator tries to establish commonness or sharing of information, ideas, attitudes, and understanding. In simple words, communication can be defined as “It is the process of interchanging thoughts, feelings and information to create mutual understanding”.

Communication is the process through which two or more people can exchange ideas and understanding among themselves. Understanding the nature of communication is important for effectively navigating the complexities of human interaction.

According to Newman and Summer, “It is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons”.

The term ‘communication’ means to make common, share, impart, convey or transmit. Exchange of ideas, etc., may take place in different ways in the communication process. Language is the most common medium of communication. While speaking, we often resort to physical gestures. We wave our hands, shrug our shoulders, smile and nod to reinforce what we say.

The nature of communication refers to the basic characteristics and principles that define how people exchange information, ideas, and emotions with one another. It can be said that communication is intercourse with the words spoken or written. It is a total of direct or indirect, consciously or unconsciously transmitted words, attitudes, feelings, actions, gestures and tones. Even silence is also an effective form of communication. The mood, the tone and the waving of body parts utter more than speech.

Definitions of Communication

‘Communication may be defined as an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions, or emotions and as a way that individuals or organisations share meaning and understanding with one another.”

“Communication is an intercourse by words, letters, symbols or message: and is a way that one organisation member shares meaning and understanding with another.” – Koontz and O’Donnell

“Communication is the sum of all the things one person does when he wants to create understanding in the mind of another. It involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding. – Louis Allen

“The word communication describes the process of conveying messages (facts, ideas, attitudes and opinions) from one person to another so that they are understood.” – Common

“Communication is the broad field of human interchange of facts and opinions and not the technologies of telephone, telegraph, radio and the like.” – Charles E. Redfield

“Communication is a process of passing information and understanding from one person to another.” – Keith Davis

“Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions, emotions or by two or more persons.”– Newman and Summer

Some more definitions

“Communication may be broadly defined as the process of meaningful interaction among human beings. More specifically, it is the process by which meanings are perceived and understandings are reached among human beings.” – D. E. Farland

Berelson and Steiner, (1964) explained the content of the communication that is transmitted. “Communication is the transmission of information, idea, emotion, skills, etc., by the use of symbols, words, pictures, figures, graphs, etc”.

Anderson (1959) termed it as a process emphasizing mutual understanding and hinted at the dynamic nature of the process. “Communication is the process by which we understand others and in turn endeavour to be understood by them. It is dynamic, constantly changing and shifting in response to the total situation”.

Stevens (1950) introduced the discriminatory response concept to show that communication is a skill. His definition is as follows: “Communication is the discriminatory response of an organism to a stimulus”.

Purpose of Communication

The often-stated purposes of communication are to inform, persuade, remind and entertain. There are but three generic purposes in human communication relating to changing attitudes, knowledge, and behaviour.

1. To affect one’s own or another’s knowledge of or thinking about something, in some way by attempting to alter a present conception, to add to it, to establish a new conception, etc.

2. To affect one’s own or another’s attitude or orientation towards himself or others or some aspect of his environment in some way, or

3. To affect or influence one’s own or another’s behaviour in some way.

Role and Importance

Communication is essential for individuals as well as for organizations. It is indispensable and inescapable.

(a) Role in individual success

It gives strength and an image of competence to people and helps them in succeeding in their lives.

Power to influence events: Good communicators generally have an effective voice, language proficiency and acceptable body language. Their arguments sound logical, believable and forceful. Other people listen to them with attention and they will be influenced by what they say. Good communicators project an image of persuaders, negotiators and leaders. For instance, a trade union leader can persuade management to provide benefits to workers if he has good communication skills.

Projects an image of competence: Effective communicators can socialize well. In the process, they get recognition as good speakers and conversationalists. Their opinions will be valued and they are respected for their proficiency and eloquence. In recognition of their communication and social skills, they may be chosen to lead groups. Leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Churchill, and Lincoln won the support of the people only through the power of communication.

b) Role in the success of organizations

Communication plays a vital role in the success and performance of organizations. 

Assists in participative decision-making: Communication acts as a facilitator of sound decision making in many organizational policies. Getting ideas on business strategy from employees has become the emergent way of making decisions. Communication plays a vital role in securing employee involvement and brainstorming for ideas.

Facilitates planning and controlling: Proper communication can help managers carry out their responsibilities associated with the job more effectively. Planning and controlling require information about the organization and environment. By establishing interactive management information systems, the organization succeeds in disseminating information to persons who require it. Good communication makes discussions and appraisals more effective.

Helps organize: Communication enables people to establish and achieve common objectives altogether. It facilitates cooperation among people and coordination between groups. When employees and management feel free to communicate with each other, they can work towards common goals. Organizational goals like making higher profits in turn satisfy individual goals like higher wages. As a consequence, there will be commitment and loyalty among employees. 

Creates teamwork: Communication helps promote motivation in a group or team within an organization. When the team members are provided with the details about a task and the methods involved for execution they become capable and interested in achieving their goals.

Promotes trust: Good business communication fosters a congenial work environment of honesty, sincerity and respect. Employees are more loyal to organizations which are transparent and keep trust in their employees. Customers, suppliers, bankers etc., are more loyal to those companies which treat them with respect.

Increases productivity: Good communication results in increased productivity. It reduces time spent explaining issues, seeking information and handling disputes. Also, it increases motivation to achieve the goals. As a result, there is increased efficiency or a rise in productivity.

Forms of Communication

Communication takes different forms by context (formal and informal), media (oral, written and non-verbal) and persons involved (intra and interpersonal). We will now discuss them one by one to understand the dimensions of communication.

Organizational communication types

Organizational communication can be classified into two categories-formal and informal.

Formal communication – Formal communication is official and structured. It relates to work and organizations. It takes place through the established channels of the organization. The channels facilitate upward, downward and lateral communication in an organization. Examples include:

  • Staff meetings, union-management meetings, branch manager conferences, performance review meetings, and customer meets are examples of oral communication forums.
  • Letters, memos, circulars, notices and reports are examples of written communication.
  • Dress code, office furniture and amenities like phones, computers etc., are non-verbal cues. 

Informal communication – Informal communication is unofficial and unstructured. It takes place outside the formal channels. This type of communication is based on the interests of the communicators. It takes different forms like gossip, rumours, conversations and discussions. It is unstructured and spontaneous.

Communication media types

Communication is possible through a variety of media, such as:

Oral Communication

Oral communication is more important than written communication. It is necessary in many contexts of human life. It may take a variety of forms such as a conversation over lunch, a gossip in the lift, a telephone conversation, an informal get-together of staff, interviews with clients, giving a presentation, or a meeting with the employees. Oral communication is supported by non-verbal communication and audio-visual media for effectiveness.

Technological advances have provided a new specialized communication with visual and audio impact. They include the internet, television, films, computers, projectors, graphs, tables, charts, diagrams and posters. 

Written communication

Written communication is widely used where oral communication is not a suitable method of communication. It is necessary when messages are to be carefully formulated, through editing and revising processes. Also, it is preferred when a record of the transactions is to be built for future storage (long-term memory) or reference.

The main methods of written communication are letters, memos, reports, circulars, notices, bulletins, brochures, leaflets, advertisement, fax, e-mail and questionnaires.

Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication is as natural as oral communication is. This includes kinesics (body appearance and movements), Oculesics (eye movements), haptics (touch effects), proxemics (distance effects) and paralanguage (vocal cues).

Visual communication

Visual communication is the transmission of information using visual aids created either manually or using technology. The visuals include typography, graphics pictures and diagrams (blueprints, maps, charts, tables and graphs), films, paintings and physical models.

Audio-visual communication

Audio-visual communication represents a combination of sight and sound. Nowadays short films and videos are used in communicating to employees in meetings and training programmes. Audio-visual communication is also suitable for publicity. mass propaganda and mass education.

Aural communications

Aural communication pertains to hearing or listening. It involves the transmission of information through the auditory sensory system. It usually encompasses both verbal communication and paralinguistic communication such as spoken words, sirens, alarm bells, and so on.

The warning beep that is often sounded if you press the wrong key in a software application, or the chime that plays when a new e-mail arrives are examples of aural communication. It can be used to transmit information independently or in combination with visual communication. 

The uses of aural communications include the following:

(a) Very effective for gaining the attention of people. It can serve as a prior warning for another type of communication.

(b) Can communicate with people in faraway places.

(c) Can communicate with several people at the same time.

(d) Can be used even when the exact recipient is not known.

Silence

Silence is a form of communicating viewpoints and feelings. There is a saying-speech is silver and silence is gold’ that emphasizes the value of silence. Silence is observed on different occasions as given under.

  • I’m thinking.
  • I don’t agree. But, I’m afraid to tell you. 
  • I have another idea but doubt you’ll listen to it.
  • I have no idea what you’re talking about – but don’t want to offend you by asking a question.
  • I did not understand. 
  • I’m not interested enough to ask you to go over it again.
  • I’m too upset to even talk. 
  • I need some time to cool down and gather myself together. 
  • I’m ready to pounce but don’t want to be the first one to attack.

Personal communication types

It is the communication within an individual (intrapersonal) or between individuals (interpersonal).

Intrapersonal communication – It is such communication which is within the self. It involves sensation, perception, cognition and understanding. It begins with sensation-seeing (eyes) and hearing (ears). smelling (nose), touching (skin), and tasting (tongue). The information obtained through sensory organs is processed further to form perceptions, and meanings to create an understanding. Self-of-talk and reflection are examples of intrapersonal communication.

Interpersonal communication – It is communication between two people or groups. It involves sensation, perception, cognition and sharing of understanding. This is often direct and interactive. It can take the form of telephone calls, conversations, one-to-one meetings, letters or e-mails. There is an element of privacy in all such communications.

FAQs

1. What is nature of communication?

The nature of communication is a natural, two-way, dynamic, irreversible and contextual process.

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