We explain what communication is, its elements and how it is classified. Also, what are its general characteristics and functions.

What is communication?

Communication is a generally active and reciprocal process of transmission of information and concepts, through an ordered system and a physical channel arranged for it.

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All living beings communicate , but they do not do so through the same method, or with the same level of complexity. Linguistic communication, for example, is unique to human beings .

Communication between living beings represents a very important aspect of life , since it allows them a certain margin of social organization or interactions.

For example, the female and the male communicate during courtship , the insects of the same hive to attack the common enemy, and the young that ask the mother for food.

In human hands, communication has reached unprecedented levels, through artificial systems and codes , which allow it to overcome distances and times, or to develop highly complex models of understanding and organization.

Comunication elements

Comunication elements

The elements of communication are as follows:

  • Transmitter. That individual or entity that initiates the transmission and encoding of the message.
  • Receiver. That individual or entity that receives and decodes (interprets) the message.
  • Message. The informative content that you want to transmit, whatever the type.
  • Channel. The physical medium used for transmission: sound waves, chemical messages, smoke signals, email , etc.
  • Code. The " language " in which the message is encoded, that is, its representation

Types of communication

Types of communication

The main types of communication are:

  • Verbal or linguistic communication . That which is produced through the use of a language , that is, of a system of signs that are words. These signs represent ideas , objects or other referents of the physical and mental universe of human beings, and can be represented by means ofarticulated sounds .
  • Non-verbal communication . All those forms of communication that do not involve words, such as gestures, facial expressions, body language, among others. When one dog shows its teeth to another, it is communicating an idea non-verbally.
  • Mixed communication . All communicative forms that combine verbal and non-verbal communication, as in comics , for example, where words and forms are combined to convey a message.
  • Written communication . Linked to verbal communication, written communication includes words but embodied in a medium by means of some type of marks or lines, that is, a second form of representation of thought (a representation of the sounds that represent it). The writing is artificial and must be learned, but has the enormous advantages that can communicate to a transmitter and a separate receiver for years or even centuries, or by kilometers away.

Some animal species also have forms of chemical communication , by sending and receiving organic substances.

How is communication carried out?

For the communication process to be carried out, the aforementioned elements must be available in optimal conditions.

For example, the channel must be clear , the code must be of mutual knowledge between the interlocutors and the sender and receiver must take turns in these roles, being able to later exchange them so that communication is two-way.

Like any process, communication involves an investment of energy, time, and effort , and usually occurs at a specific time and location.

Communication barriers

Communication barriers

Communication barriers are the different obstacles and difficulties that can arise during the communication process, and hinder its correct completion or deform the original message.

These are physical phenomena (such as environmental noise) , anatomical (such as deafness of one of the interlocutors) or social (such as poor handling of the code by one or more of the interlocutors), which jeopardize the effectiveness of the communication.

Communication functions

Communication fulfills a series of functions depending on the proposed objectives :

  • Informative. Share objective information.
  • Expressive Manifest feelings or emotions .
  • Formative Influence the other and teach him things.
  • Persuasive Convincing others to do something.
  • Entertainment. For the mere joy of communicating.

Why is communication important?

Why is communication important?

Communication is fundamental in human societies , whose legal, social, intimate, cultural or even religious arrangements require the concert of two or more people .

Humans are gregarious beings , that is, we like to live in society .

In order to agree on a common goal, whatever it may be and for whatever purpose it may have, some kind of communication is required , which allows us to give us instructions, warnings, corrections or information.

Communication Sciences

Academic disciplines that focus their interest on various forms of communication are often referred to as Communication Sciences.

They are at the service of larger scientific doctrines such as anthropology , social communication, psychology , sociology or political science.

In the vast and complex world of contemporary human communications, this means studying such seemingly unconnected areas as linguistics , film , literature , advertising, or discourse analysis .

How is effective communication achieved?

How is effective communication achieved?

An effective or efficient communication requires the correct arrangement of the elements that intervene in it, so that the transmission of information occurs in the most transparent and diaphanous way possible.

Effective communication is characterized by being:

  • Clear and concise. Concrete, free of ambiguities and vagueness that obstruct the meaning.
  • Finite and sequential. A communicative act that never ends, or that manifests itself in patches, requiring the receiver to make an effort to put the parts together, will be given little to effectiveness.
  • Intelligible. If the sender and receiver do not share the code, or one of them is unable to decipher it, the message will be lost along the way.

Assertive communication techniques

Assertive communication is one that is carried out consciously , actively having all the elements involved.

The objective is not only to guarantee its clarity , but also the best possible receptivity on the other side of the channel.

Some tips in that regard are:

  • Empathize Involve the receiver in the communicative act, appealing to their sensitivity. This can range from looking him in the eye when speaking, speaking in a polite tone, allowing interruptions, and assisting with gestures.
  • Be firm and linear. At the same time, you should not allow the abandonment of the communication, nor convey to the receiver that what is being said is not important, so a firm tone is recommended when speaking, without shouting, or abuse of gestures, or ramblings.
  • Be reciprocal. Allow the interventions of the other, do not monopolize their attention and respect the same rules of the speaker and listener.
  • Choose the lexicon. Choose well the words to use, according to the context in which we find ourselves and the reaction we expect from the receiver.

Communication examples

Communication examples

Some simple communication examples are:

  • Leave a note of paper written in the refrigerator.
  • The many and numerous forms of advertising.
  • The Fine Arts and all performance shows: dances , dances, recitals, concerts, etc.
  • The gestures we use during a romantic date.
  • The debates that we give in a forum on the Internet .
  • The barking of a dog that alerts its owner to the presence of an intruder.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Veronica is a culture reporter at Collaborative Research Group, where she writes about food, fitness, weird stuff on the internet, and, well, just about anything else. She has also covered technology news and has a penchant for smartphone stories. .

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