What is Communication? Definition, Process, Objectives, Types

What is Communication?

Communication is an exchange of information, ideas and emotions with the help of words, letters, symbols or messages which bring about common understanding and response.

What is Communication
What is Communication?

Definition of Communication

Communication is the process by which information is transmitted between the individuals and/or organizations so that an understanding response results.<span class="su-quote-cite">Peter Little</span>
Communication is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another.<span class="su-quote-cite">Keith Devis</span>
Communication is any means by which thought is transferred from one person to another person.<span class="su-quote-cite">Chappel and Read</span>

Process of Communication

The process of communication comprises transmission of sender’s ideas to the receiver and the receiver’s reaction to the sender in the form of feedback.

The main stages involved in the communication process are:

Generation of an Idea or Thought

The process of communication begins when an idea, thought, feeling or a piece of information arises in the mind of the communicator and he wants to transfer it to someone.


When an idea is generated in the mind of a communicator they put that idea in suitable symbols or signs, such as words, letters, signals, sounds, gestures, pictures, etc., representing the idea for its transmission. Such a process is called encoding.

Channel and Media

The communicator conveys the message originated by encoding to the receiver through suitable media and channel. The words ‘channel’ and ‘medium’ are often used interchangeably. However, in some cases, they are different. For example, a letter is a medium and the mail service is the channel, telephonic talk is a medium and telecommunication system is the channel, speech is the medium and air carrying sound waves is the channel.


This stage is where the receiver receives the encoded thought or message.


On receiving the message the receiver interprets it by translating the signs and symbols into thoughts or ideas. The process of understanding the message by the receiver through the translation of symbols or signals into ideas is called decoding.

Thought or idea

The decoding of the message by the receiver will generate thought in his/her mind and initiate feedback or a response.


The receiver decodes, interprets and understands the message fully or partially and conveys the response to the communicator through some channel of communication. This process is called feedback.

Objectives of communication

The primary objective of communication in management is to convey information—instructions, policies, procedures, decisions, etc., so the listener will hear, read, understand what is said, agree and accept the message, and react as intended by the manager or sender of communication.


All over the world, communication is the only means through which literacy is imparted. Knowledge, whether it is in terms of science, religions, history, geography, languages, etc. can be given through communication only.


Advice refers to the opinion offered to change the approach of behaviours of another person. It may be related to work or personal matter. Modern business activities have become complex necessitating expert advice in matters relating to taxation, technology, finance, marketing, public relations etc. Even superiors have to advise their subordinates.


Motivation provides the people with the inner urge to make sincere efforts and canalize their activities towards organizational goals. In a business organization, the seniors try to direct the efforts of the subordinates towards the set goals. Allowing participation in the decision-making process of an organization can motivate the subordinates.


To transmit or to receive information about a fact is one of the important objectives of business communication. The management needs accurate and precise information about the various aspects to perform its functions in an efficient manner.

Raising Morale

Morale refers to the mental health of an individual arising out of courage, confidence and a positive attitude. It is the individual and collective spirit. High morale enhances the level of efficiency of employees. People who feel good about themselves and their organisation are highly motivated.


An order is a directive to a subordinate to do something in a particular manner. It is an authoritative communication. It is a downward communication from superiors to subordinates. It may be written or oral, general or specific. It must be clear and complete, capable of being executed and generally in a friendly tone.


Counselling is another important objective of business communication. Counselling is organized and specialised form of advice. It is objective and impersonal and generally sought from a person of greater skill and knowledge.

Counselling differs from advice in the following respects

  • Advice has a personal touch while counselling is impersonal

  • Advice is generally un-sought and unwelcome while counselling is eagerly sought for.


Persuasion is an effort to influence views, opinions and attitudes of others and thereby mould their actions. Persuasion is an important objective of business communication. For instance, the management of a business has to persuade the employees to put in their best effort.


In business, the best ideas need not necessarily come only from top executives and advisors. The workers and lower order staff involved in the actual implementation of work are also capable of giving some creative suggestions on matters related to the working of the organization.

Hence modern business communication welcomes such constructive suggestions from employees. Suggestions can be downward, upward and horizontal.


Request are generally made by sub-ordinates to the higher authorities for getting some favour like a request for leave, for an increase in salary or for special training, for a festival advance etc. A request may also be made by superiors to subordinates for doing some extra work. These requests may be oral or in writing, formal or informal.


Appeals are special requests for favour made to the higher authorities with proper reasoning. They may be made by individual or in-group or oral or written. They are in a persuasive language. An appeal is one of the important objectives of internal and external communication.


Complaints are made when there are defects in the working system or the products obtained. They are made to set right those defects from the parties concerned. They may be oral or written. In commercial dealings, they should be written.


The warning is an advance intimation of unpleasant results, consequences and possible dangers. Warning becomes necessary when the employees don’t abide by the norms or violate the rules and regulations of the organizations. Lack of regularity and punctuality, gossiping, negligence in duty, pilferage of stationery and goods are some of the instances for warning and reprimand.


In big organizations,factual information is kept flowing upwards to the top management to enable them to evaluate and control the performance through proper decisions. Some reports are routine and sent in special formats at regular intervals such as a report of defective production, capacity utilization, idle labour hours, wastages of material, sales targets achieved, etc.


One of the important objectives of downward business communication is instruction. Superiors instruct their subordinates from time to time about the tasks to be performed in the regular conduct of activities. These instructions are given individually or in groups. Simple instructions are given orally and if they are elaborate they are in writing.

Types of Communication

Communication can be classified into various types based on different criteria, including the medium used, the purpose, the direction, and the mode of transmission. Here are some of the most common types of communication:

  1. Verbal Communication: This type of communication involves the use of words to convey information, ideas, and thoughts. It can be either oral or written.
  2. Nonverbal Communication: This type of communication involves the use of body language, facial expressions, gestures, and other forms of nonverbal cues to convey a message.
  3. Visual Communication: This type of communication involves the use of images, diagrams, graphs, and other visual aids to convey information.
  4. Written Communication: This type of communication involves the use of written words to convey information, such as letters, memos, reports, and emails.
  5. Electronic Communication: This type of communication involves the use of electronic devices, such as computers, smartphones, and tablets, to transmit messages through the internet, email, or social media.
  6. Interpersonal Communication: This type of communication involves the exchange of information between two or more people in a face-to-face interaction.
  7. Group Communication: This type of communication involves the exchange of information among members of a group or team, such as meetings, conferences, and group discussions.
  8. Mass Communication: This type of communication involves the use of mass media, such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, to transmit messages to a large audience.
  9. Formal Communication: This type of communication is structured, planned, and follows a set of rules, such as official reports, policy statements, and job descriptions.
  10. Informal Communication: This type of communication is spontaneous and unstructured, such as conversations among friends, gossip, and rumors.


What is Communication?

What is Communication

Communication is an exchange of information, ideas and emotions with the help of words, letters, symbols or messages which bring about common understanding and response.

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