Types of Communication

Communication skills are one of the most important skills you can have. Employers now ask for candidates to have a good communication skills as the majority of roles require them.

General Communication is how information is passed from one place to another. Written communication such as sending emails or letters, speaking to somebody face to face, over the phone or on video chat (skype and facetime) and socializing on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

One example of using general communication is when somebody who works at a marketing agency sends an email or calls a customer to answer a question or any queries they might have or to confirm work that the agency will be doing for them.

Another example is face timing a family member who lives/works or is on holiday in a different country and speaking to them.

Interpersonal Communication is when you engage with someone face to face, in writing or over the phone. Body language and active engagement is important when you are communicating to someone face to face. You can show positive body language by smiling, making and maintaining eye contact, how you are sat and also by the tone of voice. To show active engagement you could make hand gestures and nod your head.

Listening is also a vital interpersonal communication skill as we have to listen to what people are saying so we can communicate back to them.

One example of interpersonal communication being used is when a retail assistant is serving a customer as they would also have to listen to the customer so they and can direct them to the right location. Using body language can reassure the customer that the retail assistant is listening to them and understands what they want.

Written Communication is probably the most commonly used way when we communicate as we see text everywhere. Grammar, structure, relevance to the subject and proof reading are all important factors when written communication is being used.

An example of written communication being used is when a company is creating a promotion post on Facebook. They would want to ensure that everything is correct and that there are no grammatical errors and would want to get it proof read by someone else before posting it.

Relevance would be important if you had to write a proposal for your employer. For example if you had wrote a proposal to present to a potential client who wanted a website designed and built for them and you wrote a proposal covering web design and build briefly and covered services the client wouldn't need in more depth then it could lose the client.

Potential Barriers to effective communication

General Communication

Some barriers faced when using general communication could be distractions and lack of interest. If you were speaking to someone and the location was busy or loud you may lose interest in what they were saying and focus on something else going on around you.

For example, if a sales assistant in a store was speaking to a customer and there was an alarm going off, they may become distracted and lose interest in what the customer was saying because they are thinking about getting the alarm turned off.

More barriers could be difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents and language differences, non-verbal communication, the use of unfamiliar and technical terms.

If a teenager was to speak to their older family members and use slang words, the older family members probably wouldn't understand what they were saying, however if they spoke normally with no slang words the older family members would understand them.

To overcome these barriers you could try to focus more on what you are doing/who you are speaking to and try not to become distracted by what's going on around you and ask someone to repeat something if you couldn't understand them the first time.

Interpersonal Communication

Barriers that are faced with interpersonal communication is people being nervous and speaking quieter than they normally would.

For example, if you had to stand up and present a proposal for a client, but you are a nervous speaker, you may speak quieter and make more mistakes whilst speaking. A way to overcome this barrier would be to practise speaking in front of people so you don't feel as nervous when it comes to actually doing the presenting.

Other barriers could be your tone of voice, negative body language such as being hunched over and gesturing.

For example, if you were at work and your boss asked you to do something and wanted it to be done straight away, but their voice was a relaxed tone of voice and they didn't make any hand gestures, you may think you have quite a lot of time to do it and not do it straight away. However, if they were to say it in a more serious tone of voice and use hand gestures, you would think it was more important and do it sooner.

To overcome this barrier, you could ask the person you are speaking to, to clarify how they were meant to say it.

Written Communication

A barrier for written communication is incorrect grammar and spelling errors. This error is small however it can distract the reader from the point of what they are reading.

For example you could be writing a review on a product and store saying ‘I returned the top to New Look, it was to big and there customer service was horrible’ which is grammatically wrong and if people were to read it, the incorrect grammar might distract people from what I’m actually saying.

To overcome this barrier, you could proof read it yourself a few times, put it into Microsoft word and do a spelling and grammar check on it and if it was important you could always get somebody else to proof read it.

Another barrier is a misunderstanding of the meaning of a message by the person who is receiving it. Words also mean different things in different countries which is another barrier.

To overcome these barriers you could ask the sender of the message to clarify what they meant.

Including irrelevant information instead of focusing on what is relevant is also another barrier as people can easily go off topic when writing.