Types, Methods and Modes of Communication

10 minute read
Modes of Communication

What is communication? To put it simply, Communication can be explained as the process of transmitting information from one person, place or group to another. It is through communication that we share messages. There are three integral elements of communication, i.e. Sender, Message and Receiver. A mode is the means of communicating, i.e. the medium through which communication is processed. There are three modes of communication: Interpretive Communication, Interpersonal Communication and Presentational Communication. In this blog, we’ll explain about different communication modes, the best books to learn modes of communication and more.

7 Types of Communication

The types of communication represent the different ways used to communicate messages while the modes of communication focus on the mediums. Here are the 7 types of communication:

1. Verbal Communication

Through spoken words and the use of speech and language to convey messages. It occurs when we speak to others. Verbal communication can be formal and informal. However, when it takes place in person, verbal communication and non-verbal communication go together.

Credits – Ekeeda

2. Non-verbal Communication

Body language, facial expressions, eye contact, appearance, and sign language. Non-verbal communication complements verbal communication and also helps when words don’t help. It is an important type of communication in interviews and discussions as they value it a lot.

Credits – Amanda Guzman

3. Written Communication

The use of written words to convey messages. Written communication happens through email, memos, texts, posts, etc. While written communication helps you share your thoughts well, sometimes it does not fully convey the emotion that you are trying to share.

Credits – McGillCaPS

4. Listening

Listening is one of the most important parts of communication as it helps you understand the perspective of the communicator and effectively engage with them. The process of any communication places a crucial value on listening correctly and responding appropriately.

Credits – Communication Coach Alex Lyon

5. Visual Communication

Through visual messages like pictures, graphs, objects and other visual facets. Visual Communication is a crucial part of today’s methods of conveying important information. It is used in presentations, televisions, etc.

Credits – Killer Visual Strategies

6. Aural Communication

Aural communication involves the sense of hearing. It consists of different forms of communication that rely on spoken words, sounds, and other auditory cues. Aural communication involves spoken words, non-verbal elements such as tone of voice, pitch, and rhythm, good listening skills, content and delivery of speech, etc.

Source – Vocab Voyage

7. External Communication

External communication refers to the transmission of information and data in and outside an organization. This external mode of communication involves entities like customers, suppliers, partners, investors, regulatory bodies, the media, and the general public.

Source – KnowledgeCity

Here’s how to Explain About Different Communication Modes

Communication is the process of sharing information between individuals using a set of common rules, behaviours, symbols, and signs. Thus, there are five modes of communication:

  • Interpretative Communication
  • Presentational Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Verbal Communication
  • Non-Verbal Communication

Before we delve deep into the topic, let us first understand the importance of different modes of communication.

  • Maintains the flow of conveying information
  • Helps in devising plans and strategies for reaching a goal
  • Builds cordial relations and soft skills
  • Decision-making becomes more effective and less time-consuming
  • Problem-solving and conflict management become easier

1. Interpretive Communication

Modes of Communication
Credit: Pinterest

Also referred to as “one-way communication”, in this mode, the information conveyed by the sender is interpreted by the receiver in its original form. The target has to understand the message in both written and spoken form keeping various aspects in mind. For example, in a class, the learners may not understand every word said by the teacher but are expected to understand the main crux of the topic. Some of the main highlights of Interpretative Communication are:

  • Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
  • This mode of communication involves interpreting the author or producer’s intent.
  • There is no alternative to the active negotiation of meaning with the writer, the speaker, or the producer.

2. Interpersonal Communication

Modes of Communication

Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information through verbal and nonverbal messages. It is an unmediated mode of communication that occurs when we interact and attempt to mutually influence each other, simultaneously, in order to manage relationships. Although interpersonal communication can encompass oral, written, and non-verbal forms of communication, the term is usually applied to spoken communication that takes place between two or more individuals on a  personal or face-to-face level. Examples of Interpersonal Communication include:

  • Personal Interview
  • Telephonic Conversations
  • Interactive Sessions 
  • Debates
  • E-mails
  • Text Messages

3. Presentational Communication

Modes of Communication
Credit: SlideShare

Presentational Communication is another type of one-way communication, which facilitates interpretation by members of another group where no direct opportunity for the active negotiation of meaning between members of the two groups exists. With this mode of communication, a person is speaking to an audience that can be rehearsed, pre-prepared, or scripted. Some of the main highlights of Presentational Communication have been given a rundown below.

  • To ensure the intended audience is successful in its interpretation, the “presenter” needs knowledge of the audience’s language and culture.
  • No direct opportunity for engaging with a larger audience exists in this form of communication.

4. Linguistical or Alphabetic Communication

As one of the popular modes of communication, Linguistical or Alphabetic Communication mainly refers to written or spoken communication where the sender conveys their message through writing on paper or through speaking.
Examples: Text messages, audio messages, emails, speech, notes and lists, etc.

5. Gestural Communication

Gestural Communication has its quintessential emphasis on body language and physical movements to communicate messages. Sign Language is the best example of the gestural mode of communication as those who can’t talk or hear are able to communicate best through their gestures and have their own set of unique languages to converse. While this mode of communication is mainly combined with spatial, aural or linguistic ones, it can also be used individually given that both the sender and receiver have common points of reference and meanings to have an understandable communication.

6. Aural Communication

As the name suggests, oral communication uses audio mode to convey messages whether it is through sounds or spoken audio. The speaker’s voice and pronunciation need to be clear and precise with no background noise.
Examples: Radio, audio messages, music, recordings, songs, audiobooks.

7. Visual Communication

Visual Communication can be simply termed non-verbal communication as it comprises visual messages from the sender to the receiver. It is one of the oldest modes of communication when the ancient people didn’t know a language to communicate with, it is through pictures, drawings and symbols that they were able to talk and converse with each other.
Examples: Pictures, Videos, Charts, Graphs, Symbols

8. Spatial Communication

Spatial Communication elaborates upon the use of physical space in the text as well as its overall structure to convey certain meanings and messages. The physical layout of any written text is deliberately designed to make it look a certain way and adhere to a particular theme. Websites also use this unique mode of communication in choosing a certain font, style, design and layout to make any website user-friendly and more interactive.

9. Multimodal Communication

Modes of Communication
Credit: Twitter

Multimodal Communication can be simply referred to as communication through varied modes such as verbal, written, gestures, etc. There are different modes of multimodal communication and it is popularly used in higher education to accentuate the learning experience for students. Here are the major 5 modes of communication:

  1. Linguistical or Alphabetic: Either written communication or spoken communication
  2. Gestural: Using Gestures
  3. Visual: Pictures, Videos, Infographics
  4. Aural: Audio, Music, Sounds
  5. Spatial: Physical coordination, positions, proximity

10. Various Cultural and Intercultural Modes of Communication

Several cultural modes of communication are specific to each area and culture. It can be symbolic usage of actions, body language, etc. The culture of a person is not just what they eat or wear but also how they communicate. 

Credits – Biboy Tacardon

Cultural Differences in Communication

In verbal communication, different cultures have different languages, dialects, and even accents. Even the tone and volume of communication differ from place to place. For example, the tone of a native German speaker might angry with a British speaker, even if they both are speaking in English. 

In non-verbal communication, several differences can cause miscommunication in intercultural discussions. Some of the major non-verbal modes of communication that change from place to place are:

  1. Touch
  2. Eye Contact
  3. Gestures
  4. Facial Expressions
  5. Physical Space
  6. Posture

Here, let’s take an example to understand the difference in intercultural communication. A stranger from America is likely to make eye contact to express a sense of equality between you while Asians prefer to avoid eye contact as a sign of respect. 

Another example would be, that it is customary in France to kiss on both cheeks as a form of starting a conversation. But in India, people greet you with Namaste avoiding any touch-based communication. 

Interpersonal vs Interpretive vs Presentational Communication

ComponentsInterpersonal Interpretive Presentational
NegotiationActive negotiation of meaning between individualsNo active negotiation of meaning with the writer, producer or speaker No plausible means of engaging the masses
Mode of CommunicationSpeaking, ListeningReading, and Writing are the main modes of conveying and interpreting messagesReading, Viewing and Listening to textsWriting and Speaking are the 2 major modes of communication
ExamplesSocial Media, text messages, telephone, etc.Stories, literature, articles, speeches, songs, radio news, videos, movies, presentations, etc.Articles, flyers, short stories, reports, presentations, skits, debates, speeches, etc

10 Methods of Communication

Different types of communication methods are used to deliver your message. Here, the 10 mediums of communication are different from the previous ones. Interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of conversation are based on human interaction during that communication. While these are based on the type of source we use. These are some of the real-world communication methods. Let’s have a look at them:

  1. Typewriting only: In this method, communication happens only through typing. Examples are emails, messages, etc.
  2. Handwriting only: Here the communication from both ends is solely based on handwriting. An example is a teacher correcting a student’s exam paper and writing comments on it.
  3. Voice only: Here, both communicators use voice only. An example is a phone call or a normal verbal communication
  4. Video only: Here, both communicators use video to communicate. An example is a video call
  5. Handwriting and Typing: Here either one of the communicators is using handwriting to share their message and the other is using typing to relay their response or vice versa.
  6. Typewriting and Video: Here either one of the communicators is using handwriting to share their message and the other is using typing to relay their response or vice versa.
  7. Handwriting and Video: Here either one of the communicators is using handwriting to share their message and the other is using video to relay their response or vice versa.
  8. Voice and Typewriting: Here either one of the communicators is using voice to share their message and the other is using typing to relay their response or vice versa.
  9. Voice and Handwriting: Here either one of the communicators is using voice to share their message and the other is using handwriting to relay their response or vice versa.
  10. Voice and Video: Here either one of the communicators is using voice to share their message and the other is using video to relay their response or vice versa.

Best Books to Learn Modes of Communication

Here are some excellent books on modes of communication: 

Book NameAuthor Link
Registers and Modes of Communication in the Ancient Near EastGillan DavisBuy Here!
On Modes of CommunicationOther Modes of ConveyanceRoger Pinette Buy Here!
Multimodal composition: A Critical SourcebookClaire Lutkewitte Buy Here!
East and WestModes of Communication: Proceedings of the First Plenary Conference at MeridaEvangelos Chrysos and Ian WoodBuy Here!
CommunicatingThe Multiple Modes of Human CommunicationRuth Finnegan Buy Here!
Teacher’s Handbook, Contextualized Language InstructionJudith L. Shrum, GlisanBuy Here!
Writer/DesignerLanguage and Identity Across Modes of CommunicationDwi Noverini DjenarBuy Here!

Modes of Communication PPT

Credit: EDUTIC_aulas_digitales

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Q1. What are the 5 modes of communication?

Ans. The New London Group defines five forms of communication as visual, verbal, spatial, auditory, and gestural.

Q2. What are the modes of communication?

Ans. Five Communication Styles
Communication through speech. When we speak with others, we engage in verbal communication.
Communication that is not verbal. What we do while speaking frequently communicates more than what we say.
Communication in writing.
Visual Communication

Q3. What are the 4 modes of communication?

Ans. Non-verbal communication.
Verbal communication.
Written communication.
Visual communication.

Hope this blog helped you in understanding the fundamental concepts related to the different modes of communication. Be it in an organisation or for competitive exams like IELTS and TOEFL, your communication skills are evaluated on various parameters, and to create a lasting impression, one needs to overcome the barriers to communication. Enrol in Leverage Edu’s Leverage Live classes where the British Council certified experts, through one-on-one sessions, mock tests, and updated study materials will assist you in improving your communication skills in an effective way!

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  1. Good day!

    First of all, I want to thank you for making this blog. It is truly informative and the topics are discussed briefly. This is really helpful. I also liked how you chose words that are common to everyone because it helped the readers (including me) to understand the discussion very well.

    Thank you very much!

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  2. Very informative and comprehensive article.
    I have been looking for a such detailed explanation
    for some time. Thank you

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  3. Great article! Thank you for sharing this informative post, and looking forward to the latest one.

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  1. Good day!

    First of all, I want to thank you for making this blog. It is truly informative and the topics are discussed briefly. This is really helpful. I also liked how you chose words that are common to everyone because it helped the readers (including me) to understand the discussion very well.

    Thank you very much!