Types of communication Unit Structure

Communication has been classified into several kinds/types depending upon the social groups in which it takes place and upon the technical devices used to facilitate it. The types range from the intrapersonal and interpersonal to the group and mass communication.

  • Intrapersonal Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Group Communication
  • Mass Communication
  • Public Communication

Intrapersonal Communication:
It refers to communication that transpires inside a person; and this happens all the time. It is like talking to oneself, listening to oneself and relating one to oneself. The individual functions here as the source and receiver. It includes our reflection, contemplation, meditation, our inner monologues, our reflection upon ourselves, and our relationships with others and with our environment. Conversing with the Divine may be termed trans-personal communication.

Interpersonal Communication:
This is the universal form of communication that takes place between two individuals. Since it is person-to-person contact, it includes everyday exchanges that may be formal or informal and can take place anywhere by means of words, sounds, facial expression, gestures and postures. It is considered the most effective type of communication because it is personal, direct, intimate and allows maximum interaction in word, gesture and expression. Immediate feedback can be received in this type of communication and it is possible to influence the other person and persuade him or her to accept your point of view. Since there is proximity between sender and receiver, interpersonal communication has emotional appeal too; it can motivate, encourage and coordinate work more effectively than any other form of communication.

Group Communication:
Group communication is an extension of interpersonal communication where more than two individuals are involved in exchange of ideas, skills and interests.
Basically, communication that takes place between many persons in a face to face situation is described as group communication. Here, as the group grows in size communication tends to become more and more of a monologue reducing participation. The degree of directness, therefore, depends on the size of the group, the place where it meets and also the relationship of the members of the group to one another.
Group communication is considered effective as it provides an opportunity for direct interaction among the members of the group and it helps in bringing about changes in attitudes and beliefs.

Mass Communication:
Mass communication involves communicating with mass audiences and hence the name mass communication. The channels through which this kind of communication takes place are referred to as mass media. Both mass communication and mass media are generally considered synonymous for the sake of convenience. Mass communication is unique and different from interpersonal communication as is evident from the following definition. Any mechanical device that multiplies messages and takes it to a large number of people simultaneously is called mass communication.
The magazines, radio, television, websites, social media networks etc.
The act of mass communication is much more complex than that of face to face communication. It is addressed to an extremely large audience.

Public Communication:
Have you ever attended an election meeting of a political party? Or heard a religious or spiritual leader giving a discourse? Such meetings and discourses are part of our public life today. Generally there is a stage or a platform or the roof of a vehicle for such a speaker to stand and speak. A microphone and a loud speaker are essential for communication here. Many people may be hundreds or even thousands can be seen waiting for the speaker to begin. When the leader speaks a large number of people will be listening. One person here is speaking to a large number of people. Such communication is called public communication. The speaker can see or identify only those who sit in the front rows. But messages are given not to just one or two persons but to many.
Unlike interpersonal communication, here, the speaker cannot see the audience. So it generally lacks the personal touch. Of course there are public speakers who can build immediate rapport or personal touch with the listeners. But unlike in group communication, here, people may not know each other. Public communication may be defined as a situation where many people receive messages from one person. The skills of the person are very important here in this situation. We can think of a number of political and spiritual leaders as excellent communicators. Again, unlike group communication, to reach out to a large number of people, microphones and loud speakers may be used.

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