Communication is derived from the Latin word “communis” which means common. Therefore communication is the transmission of a message from a source through a channel to a receiver.

Communication is effective if the receiver is able to interpret the symbols in which the message has been coded.

The purpose of communication:

  • To motivate people to act
  • To change and achieve desired results
  • In communication, the intention of the sender must be understood otherwise there would be leakage in communication systems. Leakage occurs when information reaches unintentioned destination.

Communication Process (variables)

  • Source – There must be at least two actors:
  • Message sender (communicator)
  • Message receiver
  • Message

The message initially exists in the mind of the sender in form of idea.  For the message to be perceived by others, its given physical representation in forms of:- verbal speech, written/graphic signs, manual gestures.

Selection of channel to use – The medium or channel must be effectively chosen. The means of using the mental idea into the symbol as to form a message is called a medium.

What is transmit/carries the message from source to the receiver is called a channel/transmitter i.e. means by which the information moves from one end to the other.

Communication cannot take place unless there’s feedback. No communication takes place unless a message is sent to received thus need for feedback.

When the information is sent to the receiver then communication is said to be complete.

Feedback assessment is important for the source because it is the only way by which the source can judge the effectiveness of communication.

Verbal Channel:

  • This involves passing of messages by use of spoken words/speech apparatus.
  • It’s the most effective channel if exploited to the maximum. To be effective it requires ability to develop a pleasant voice with a flexible range possible qualities.
  • The voice should be varied to avoid monotony and sustain interest e voice modulation. In addition there should be ability to choose appropriate linguistic expressions (depending on the audience)
  • Verbal channel is usually the most persuasive as you’re seeing the receiver and feedback is immediate.
  • Messages expressed through verbal channels are prone to distortion.


  • It’s persuasive


  • Lack of permanence

There is need to use of other channels to reinforce this channel

Non-verbal channels

It includes anything that does not undue the spoken word.  It includes:

  • Body language
  • Behaviour expression
  • Behaviour of eyes
  • Posture and body movement
  • Personal appearance
  • Listeners trust body language as a way of repeating information communicated verbally.
  • The print and mechanized channel
  • They convey their messages in graphic symbols (alphabet, hieroglyphics)
  • Its valued for its relative performance as opposed to verbal channels
  • It leaves evidence of communication having taken place
  • It includes radio, video tape, television telephone. Other types of communication channels include; in organization structures
  • They are social, plan level communication
  • People who are on the same level communicate horizontally. Those on different (above or below) communicate vertically. Language used vertically is different from that used horizontally.
  • For horizontal communication there must be good understanding and psychological factors.
  • Social channels find their places in organization depending on psychological and other factors operating in a group.

Communication Barriers:

This refers to any factor that prevents passage of a message or anything that distorts a message.  A barrier may come between the source and the receiver and therefore affecting the transmission of the message.

  • Internal noise – those barriers within the source on within the receiver are called internal noise. Its also called a personal barrier.
  • Personal barriers are within the source or the receiver. They may be as follows:
  • Psychological
  • Physical eg pronunciation
  • Misunderstanding or understanding
  • Inability to read and write
  • Difference in perception
  • Lack of interest
  • Lack of fundamental knowledge on the part of the sender
  • Difference of personality
  • Poor listening
  • Distrust
  • Threat and fear

External Barriers:

Those are between the receiver and sender. They include:

  • Bad telephone lines
  • Loud noise near the communicator
  • Lack of visibility where the Communicator requires sight.

Consequences of poor communication:

  • Lead to poor employee relation
  • Loss of life
  • Los of a job
  • Loss of a business deal

How do you overcome the above barriers?  Communication is done through meetings, reports, written texts, telephones, memorandum, letter. It’s important that we:

  • Communicate carefully and honestly
  • Be specific
  • Clear and avoid ambiguity

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