Course Content
Private: BA Arabic
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Unit 2
Different Forms and Techniques of Communication

Learning Outcomes

Upon the completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

  • define and explain communication as a process
  • describe the different forms of communication
  • identify and describe the different techniques to effective communication
  • acquire a general insight into the need for effective communication


The Latin term for “communication” is “communicare”, which means to share or make common. Simply said, communication is the process of producing, transmitting, or exchanging information, ideas, points of view, facts, and sentiments from one location, person, or group to another. It is critical to the existence and survival of both persons and organisations.

Every communication has one or more senders, a message and a recipient. A wide variety of factors can influence message delivery from sender to destination. These include our emotions, the cultural circumstances, the communication medium employed, and even our location.

Communicative abilities are often at the top of the list of core talents required for success in the job. With the growth of social media networking and texting, communication has become more informal, even in contexts where more professional communication is necessary. This implies that people may be unaware of the value of strong communication skills in the job. This section will introduce some of the fundamental ideas of communication and the many tactics for effective communication.

Key words

Forms of Communication, Channel, Style, Participants, Techniques of Communication


Does every human being communicate in the same way? No, it depends on the individual’s choice, linguistic faculty and/or circumstances. Let us discuss using examples. When a person is hungry, he/she can use language to express the need by putting it into words. A baby who has not begun to speak may just cry. A mute person uses sign language. Similarly, if you want to communicate with a friend who lives in another city, you may ring the person up or send a message, write an e-mail or even go the old way and post a letter.

There are several forms of communication classified in multiple ways. Let us look at some of those:

1.2.1 Different forms of communication

Based on channel

  • Verbal
  • Oral
  • Written
  • Nonverbal

Based on style

  • Formal/ Official
  • Informal/Grapevine

Based on number of participants

  • Intrapersonal
  • Dyadic
  • Small group
  • Public
  • Mass Based on channel

  1. Verbal Communication
    Based on the channel used, communication can be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal communication refers to the type of communication using language and it can be oral or written.

    Oral communication happens in the spoken form. Human communication was oral in its early stages. Examples of oral communication include face-to-face conversations, telephonic conversations, interviews, public speeches, meetings, debates, abuse, sarcasm, threats, commands, prophecy, cursing, lecturing, moralising, challenging, group discussions and presentations.

    Written communication developed later. As we have already discussed in the previous unit, written communication has evolved drastically through the ages. It is more formal than oral and, in an organisational set up, will have a format. Technology has advanced very much in this field. Today, we have facilities for instant messaging and e-mails that can send messages across to the receiver in seconds. Other examples of written communication include letters, minutes, reports, notices, memos and circulars. Under formal conditions, it is always better to resort to written communication.

  2. Nonverbal communication
    Nonverbal communication relies on external aspects like body language, symbols, etc. It does not use words but is more accurate than verbal language as it is more spontaneous. Nonverbal communication includes the use of physical appearance, body language, paralanguage, kinesics, proxemics,chronemics, haptics, silence and visual/graphic elements in communication.

    Let us look at these in detail. Paralanguage or vocalics refers to the vocal yet non-lexical features that accompany speech through which people show what they mean other than by the words they use, for example by their pitch, tone of voice, or by making hesitation sounds, facial expressions, gestures, etc.

    Kinesics is the study of the way in which certain body movements and gestures serve as a form of non-verbal communication. Proxemics, chronemics and haptics study the role of space, time and touch in communication respectively.

    Let us look at some examples. Do you prefer to sit in the front row during a lecture? It may reflect that you are interested in the event. This is an example of proxemics.

    If you go late to an interview, it reflects badly on you. It gives a bad impression about you. This is an instance of chronemics.When you feel sad, a hug can bring you comfort. This is what haptics talks about.

    Nonverbal communication is the most effective as a supplementing factor to verbal communication. A good example of nonverbal communication is the handshake. In most cultures, a handshake means cordiality. A firm yet warm handshake can give a good impression of the person. Based on style

1. Formal Communication

Based on style and purpose, communication can be formal or informal. Formal or official communication is a form of communication in which the exchange of information is done through the pre-defined channels. It is rigid, systematic, passes through different stages,and is slow. It would produce documented records and can be tracked at a later time, if necessary. For example, if a worker in a firm wants to convey something to the Managing Director, he/she has to follow the protocol and go through the proper channel, passing through various levels. It can be vertical (information flows between upper and lower levels), horizontal (information flow is between similar levels) or diagonal (information flows across various levels).

Let us discuss with an example. In a school, a student has an issue. He/she discusses it with his/her friends and decides to raise it to the class monitor first, who would take it to the tutor. The issue, if found genuine and important, would be brought to the Principal’s attention in a staff meeting. The Principal would address the issue, take necessary steps and if there is a change in policy, let the students and teachers know it during the assembly. The first stage where the student discussed it with his/her peers is an example of horizontal flow of information. The flow of information from the class monitor to the Principal follows a vertical path. The Principal directly addressing the students and teachers is an example of diagonal flow.

2. Informal communication

Informal communication is a type of verbal communication in which the interchange of information does not follow any channels, i.e, the communication stretches in all directions. It is also known as grapevine communication. It is mostly oral and flexible. Informal communication mostly happens among persons of the same level. It is spontaneous and fast. It requires no pre-defined channel. For instance, the communication between friends at workplace during a coffee break is informal. Based on number of participants

1. Intrapersonal Communication

It is the type of communication which takes place within oneself. Only one person is involved in this type of communication. A person remembering something and experiencing emotions is a good example of intrapersonal communication.This type of communication can help in self-evolvement, stress management, etc.

2. Dyadic Communication

It is that kind of communication which takes place between two persons. The positions of the source and the receiver are interchanged due to the dynamic nature of communication. Feedbacks become messages upon which further communication is built. It can be unintentional or unpremeditated. It need not always be in the form of speech. Gesture, expressions, appearance, etc. can be different forms of communication. A good example of dyadic communication is a friendly telephone call between your friend and you.

3. Small Group Communication

It involves more than two participants. An example of this type of communication is a group meeting that takes place in an office. It can be formal or informal, depending on the circumstances. Information shared would be of common interest or to achieve a common goal. It is very important in business as it facilitates decision-making, generation of ideas, sharing of feelings, etc.

4. Public Communication

It is one in which messages from a single source will be received by many people/ audience. A public speech is an example of this type of communication. Public communication may be employed for purposes including but not limiting to education, entertainment, building relationships, creating connections, generating a network and politics. It is a very important part of Public Relations too.

5. Mass Communication

It is the type of communication where there is a huge number of audience who cannot be grouped together, and hence technology is used as a medium to reach them. Radio is an example of this form of communication. There is no scope for feedback in this kind of communication as it is mediated by technology.

1.2.2 Techniques of communication

Let us now move on to the techniques of communication. There are certain techniques that would make communication effective. There are some qualities that help in bettering communication skills. It would be very helpful if you incorporate these into your daily lives.

1. Develop Curiosity

The adage “Curiosity kills the cat” does not apply to communication. Here, it is a good quality which helps in the smooth flow of information. Try to develop interest and curiosity in learning new things. Observe good communicators and learn how they put across information in the most effective manner. Listen actively when people talk to you. Read a lot to have a general idea of topics which would help widen your perspectives.

2. Display Enthusiasm

Good communication cannot happen if the receiver looks uninterested. Do not keep a poker face. Appear enthusiastic. It encourages the speaker to communicate. Your body language should show interest in the communication. Maintain eye-contact. It is good if you ask open-ended questions that prompt the speaker to communicate more. Give and receive feedback.

3. Be Empathetic

In communication, empathy is a better feeling than sympathy. It places one in the shoes of another person. When you are empathetic, you will have the ability to feel a person’s feelings as your own. It increases the efficiency of communication. Ego suspension or removing the feeling of “I” is important in communication. As it is a combined effort, the other person is also equally important. Mirroring is a good technique to follow in communication. Subtly imitating the gestures of the speaker would help in better communication. Silence is a vital element in communication. It can prompt more words out of the other person.

4. Reflect Honesty

Staying honest to one’s feelings and opinions helps in effective communication. People tend to like honest people and there would be an effortless flow of information when the participants involved are honest.

5. Polish Sense of Humour

Good humour is always welcome in communication. Make sure that your jokes are politically correct, suitable to the occasion and harmless.

6. Positivity

It is useful to have a general sense of positivity in communication. Smile more as it makes you more approachable. Stress management is important as it helps in staying positive.

7. Give Importance to Clarity

Your messages should be clear. There should not be any scope for misunderstanding in communication.

8. Careful Choice of Words

In effective communication, what you don’t say is also important. Your choice of words should be perfect. Avoid filler words like “oh, umm, so, right, etc.” that disrupt the flow of communication.


  • Dyadic – adjective form of dyad, which means something that consists of two elements or parts.
  • Empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  • Open-Ended Question – a question that allows the formulation of any answer, rather than a selection from a set of possible answers.
  • Political Correctness – the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalise,or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.


  • Forms of Communication
  • Verbal, Non verbal
  • Formal, Informal
  • Intrapersonal, Dyadic
  • Techniques of Communication
  • Develop Curiosity
  • Display enthusiasm
  • Empathy
  • Honesty
  • Humour
  • Positivity in communication
  • Clarity
  • Choice of words

Objective Questions

  1. What are the two types of verbal communication?
  2. How many participants would dyadic communication have?
  3. What are the three types of flow of information in official communication?
  4. What is the other name for informal communication?
  5. What branch of study deals with the role of touch in communication?
  6. What is proxemics?
  7. What is the other name for paralanguage?
  8. What branch of study deals with the role of time in communication?
  9. List any three filler words commonly used in English.
  10. What is mirroring?


  1. Oral, Written
  2. Two
  3. Vertical, horizontal, diagonal
  4. Grapevine communication
  5. Haptics
  6. Study that deals with the role of touch in communication
  7. Vocalics
  8. Chronemics
  9. Oh, right, so
  10. Subtle imitation of speaker’s gestures


  1. Prepare conversations as examples to the different forms of communication.
  2. Take note of two persons conversing. Describe how they communicated. See if you can identify the various communication techiniques and offer examples for each.
  3. Prepare a model communication between different individuals in the workplace, in the class room and a public place.

Suggested Reading

  1. Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis, 2016.
  2. Miller, Chris and Mia Poston. Exploring Communication in the Real World :An Introduction to Speech Communication, College of DuPage Digital Press, 2020.