The Nature of Communication What is Communication?

What is Communication?

Communication is the lifeline of human interaction. It’s the process where individuals exchange information, feelings, and meanings through verbal and non-verbal messages. But it’s not just about the words we use; it’s about how we convey our message and the context in which it’s received.

Introduction to Communication- Meaning & scope

Meaning of Communication

Communication can broadly be defined as exchange of ideas, messages and information
between two or more persons, through a medium, in a manner that the sender and the
receiver understand the message in the common sense, that is, they develop common
understanding of the message.

The word communication is derived from the Latin word ‘communicare’, which means to
share, impart, participate, exchange, transmit or to make common. It emphasises on
sharing common information, ideas and messages. It is not merely issuing orders and

Communication is a two way process of exchanging ideas or information. One person
alone cannot carry out communication. When you communicate, there has to be a
receiver or an audience that would reciprocate. Only then can your communication be

Communication is a process of transmitting and receiving verbal and non-verbal
messages. It is considered effective only when it achieves the desired reaction or response
from the receiver. The response may be positive or negative. In case of absence of any
response, communication is incomplete.


“Communication is the transfer of information from a sender to a receiver, with the
information being understood by the receiver”. — Koontz and Weihrich
The Oxford dictionary defines communication as ‘the imparting or exchange of
information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
According to Newman and Summer, ‘Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas,
opinions or emotions by two or more people.

To summarize, communication has been defined as

 A process of passing information and understanding
 A two way process of reaching mutual understanding
 The act of making one’s ideas and opinions known to others.
 The process of imparting ideas and making oneself understood by others
 The transmission and accurate replication of ideas ensured by feedback for the purpose of
eliciting actions.
 A systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding.

Fundamental Characteristics of Communication

  1. Transactional Process: Communication is a dynamic and continuous process where all parties are simultaneously senders and receivers. It’s like a dance, with each step affecting the next.
  2. Multifaceted Functions: It serves various functions such as informing, persuading, entertaining, or even controlling a situation. It’s the Swiss Army knife of social interaction.
  3. Relies on Multiple Channels: Whether it’s through speech, writing, gestures, or even silence, communication travels through numerous channels. It’s the courier service of our thoughts and emotions.
  4. Influenced by Perception: Each individual perceives messages through their own lens, colored by experience, beliefs, and attitudes. It’s like watching the same movie but walking away with different impressions.
  5. Subject to Noise: Various barriers, or ‘noise’, can distort the message. This could be literal noise or psychological distractions. It’s the static on the line that can garble the message.
  6. Context-Dependent: The setting—social, cultural, historical, or relational—plays a significant role in how communication is crafted and understood. It’s the stage that sets the scene for our dialogue.

The Essence of Effective Communication

  1. Clarity and Conciseness: Messages should be clear and to the point. No one likes to wander through a maze of words.
  2. Feedback Mechanism: Feedback is the compass that guides the effectiveness of the communication process. It’s how we navigate the conversation.
  3. Emotional Intelligence: Sensitivity to the emotions behind words is crucial. It’s reading between the lines and listening to the unspoken.
  4. Flexibility: Adapting messages to the context and receiver’s needs is essential. It’s about being a chameleon in conversation.
  5. Ethical Considerations: Honesty and integrity should underpin every message. It’s the golden rule of not saying anything you wouldn’t want to hear yourself.

The Impact of Communication

Proper communication can bridge gaps, build relationships, and foster understanding. Poor communication, on the other hand, can lead to conflict and confusion. It’s a tool that can either construct or crumble the towers of human connection.

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