This ‘ultimate guide to communication’ is acting the topic out. You are reading text from this blog post, which is going to tell you how one can convey a message across. Communication is key to any relationship.
Communication between spouses builds relationships. Business communication within a company or between organizations, can create awareness of recent developments. Communication between this blog post and ‘you’, the reader, can make you aware of every possible aspect related to communication.
Communication is a broad topic to apprehend and covering every aspect will take this guide past 7000 words or more. We will therefore, not cover everything but the basic concepts of communication. Our main focus will be on business communication, communication design and visual communication.
2. What is the meaning of communication?
Communication is the transferring or receiving information, using a medium. It is carried out via multiple channels, using symbols, words, visuals, text, and signs. There are four key elements to any piece of communication.
A Sender – who encodes and sends a Message. This message is sent via a Channel to a Receiver, who decodes it. This is the classical SMCR model of communication, applicable universally.
DID YOU KNOW?
‘Communication’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Commūnicāre’.
It means, ‘to share’…
Communication involves a series of actions between the sender of a message and the receiver. It involves the exchange of messages and their meaning through different channels or methods. Unless you communicate properly with family, friends, co-workers or even strangers, you cannot get your ideas, thoughts or suggestions across effectively.
2.1 What is effective communication?
If there is no effective communication between two individuals or entities, there is bound to be chaos. It is, therefore important to embrace at least basic communication skills to avoid sounding out of context. Effective communication is not just about speaking clearly, it is also about creating a communication space. Some effective communication skills to possess are:
Listening actively is not about paying attention to what the other person is saying. It involves understanding the viewpoint of the opposite speaker. There needs to be empathy towards what information you are gathering in.
Responding to opinions, thoughts, ideas, and feelings is also an important skill to have. Know what you are speaking about, when responding. Avoid any demeaning language or attitude. Understanding the opinions of others is good, but also get clarity on your perspectives.
There will be barriers to communication. The skill lies in avoiding stress, and then making a point to respond without any unwanted comments. Keeping the tempo and mood of the conversation light is key. Despite doing this, you could encounter the following barriers to communication.
- Language barrier – It occurs when both participants do not correspond in a common language
- Psychological barrier – This barrier surfaces when both participants are restricted by taboos or cultural assumptions
- Physical barrier – A physical hurdle that prevents face-to-face communication is a physical barrier. An example of this could be a break in Wi-Fi signal when video calling etc.
2.2 What are the basic communication styles?
Communication styles are techniques that allow participants to better understand how to convey their message to initiate communication. The four common communication styles are:
1. Passive Communication
Through this style of communication, a communicator will yield to persuasiveness. The most common phrases used by a passive communicator are, “I don’t care” or “Whatever you say”.
2. Aggressive Communication
Communicators adopting this style are brash, physically aggressive and loud. The volume and pitch go higher as they try to assert their point-of-view.
3. Passive-Aggressive Communication
This style is a mixture of both the above-mentioned styles. The communicator might seem passive but also hide an aggressive side beneath. The behavior may not match the words they speak.
4. Assertive Communication
Communicators, through this style, express opinions and needs, while also being compassionate towards the needs of others. Communication often results in a win-win situation for the participants.
2.3 What are the different types of communication?
Communication will not always face-to-face conversations. There are 4 different types of communication which facilitate the conveying of a message via proper communication channels.
1. Verbal Communication
This type of communication involves speaking in a compatible language, making use of words; also including sounds. It is easily the most effective way to express feelings, needs, emotions, and opinions. It involves 4 sub-types. They are:
- Interpersonal communication – This involves a one-to-one conversation with another person
- Intrapersonal communication – Here, it’s just an individual communicating to oneself through thoughts
- Public communication – This involves, one individual communicating to a large group. A pitch deck presentation or commercials are good examples
- Group communication – When two or more individuals are involved in a meeting or a press conference, it can be termed as a small group communication
2. Nonverbal communication
When the message communicated does not include any words, it is nonverbal in nature. Good examples are voice tonality, body language, facial expressions, and gestures.
Dancing, pottery, painting, shaking hands, crossed legs, lack of eye contact, smiling, fidgeting, etc. are also examples of nonverbal communication.
3. Written communication
Any message or communication that involves written text or words is called written communication. Unlike verbal communication, written communication can be edited just before being sent or published. Written communication is accompanied by visual communication for better effect. Examples included are letters, reports, articles, memos, and emails.
4. Visual communication
Visual communication makes use of visual aids to send or receive a message. There is some verbal communication or content involved. The majority of the communication though is made up of symbols.
Examples of this type are video content, TV shows, movies, etc. Emojis seen on WhatsApp or icons on your smartphone home screen are also examples of visual communication.
3. What is the meaning of business communication?
We now know what is communication and the different types of communication. Next, we look at how important is communication in business. Everything we do at work is connected to communication.
We communicate with colleagues or leaders, trying to learn or perform our tasks effectively. Business communication is visible through sales collateral, annual reports, work-related seminars, PPT presentations, e-mailers and even in conversations with customers.
3.1 Which are the types of business communication?
The common communication methods that are used are telephone conversations, Skype messages, personal interactions or emails. There are 4 types of business communication types that you should know about. According to eZTalks, business communication is an essential aspect of any enterprise.
1. Internal-Upward Communication
This type of communication involves messaging, reporting or information being sent from the subordinate towards the top tiers in the organizational hierarchy. At most times, it could be reporting or data, which is used by the higher management to make decisions.
2. Internal-Downward Communication
This is the opposite. Here, communication flows from the upward tiers of the organizational hierarchy. Examples here include memos, letters, and any verbal instructions.
3. Internal-Lateral Communication
The communication that happens between co-workers or colleagues is internal-lateral. The communication can happen between inter-departments or between employees across departments.
4. External Communication
Any communication that is conveyed outwards from the workplace is called as external communication. Examples include partners, vendors, customers, clients, etc. Sales pitch decks or marketing communication are also part of this communication type.
4. What is the meaning of communication design?
Communication design is a discipline that is a mixture of information-development and design. The focus of communication design is to look at how communication modes such as PPTs, electronic media, print and visuals, can be channeled properly.
Communication design is beneficial in ensuring that the message reaches the right target audience. Both, communication design and graphic design overlap in order achieve marketing goals. Designs need to be altered to fit consumer taste and culture.
Communication design refers to designing a communication system. It is related to brand building. All aspects of communication, may it be free or paid, are integrated through communication design. A communication design agency, for example needs to understand persuasive communication dynamics, to design a communication strategy.
Several sub-disciplines have sprouted out of communication design. Graphic design for starters has evolved into digital design. Digital design requires a designer to think like a marketer instead of simply placing graphics on visuals.
‘New media design’ refers to the designing of newer channels of communication. Mobile communication, internet communication, motion media design communication, and social media communication are some examples of ‘new media design’. Visual art is a sub-discipline of communication design which considers sculpting, painting, photography, motion media and visual design as types.
Sub-disciplines that need a mention under communication design are:
- Brand management
- Art direction
- Content management
- Creative direction
- Brand managing
- Information design
- Graphic designing
- Technical writing
5. What is visual communication design?
Calling ‘graphic design’ as ‘visual communication design’, would not be wrong. It is a combination of technology and visual arts. Visual communication design is much bigger than pictures and words. A visual communication designer creates visuals that entertain, educate, persuade and inform consumers connected to your target audience.
Visual communication design focuses on digital design, standout illustrations, animations and photography to get its message across. A graphic designer is focused solely on the designing of graphic element, which are used in mobile applications, websites, and other media. A visual communication designer looks at the marketing aspect as well. Both work in tandem, to communicate the brand’s key message across.
5.1 What are some communication design elements?
Communication design allows the expression of information through aesthetics, emotion, culture, visuals, and data. These include design efforts that go into publications, advertising, software, public relations, games, and internal communication. The elements within communication design are:
- Graphic design – Visual designs that are based on visual composition & layout
- Typography – Arrangement of line lengths, sizes, typefaces, kerning & letter-spacing
- Illustration – Visual elements that include pictographs
- Content – The message that needs to be embedded within visuals
- Data – Information that needs displaying in an intuitive manner
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