The Basics: What is Communication?

What is communication? and What is effective communication? One wonders...

Depending on who you ask, the answers may vary. Let's start with the most basic definition of communication. Straight from Wikipedia:

Communication is a process of transferring information from one entity to another.

Your next question may be: What is an entity? For now, let's call the entity that transfers information Sender and the entity that receives the information Receiver.

The sender and the receiver can be people, animals or devices. It can also include other beings, but since this website is about communication in the workplace, we'll leave animals, dead people and angels out of this conversation.

What is Communication

Information can be a lot of different things depending on the context. People sometimes view information and the medium to transfer it as one and the same. They aren't. Let's distinguish between the information being sent that the medium used to send it.

The information can be:Words, gestures, drawings, paintings, songs, music.

The means can be: speeches, emails, blogs, forums, text messages, voice messages, poems, essays, books, newspapers, ads, articles, and practically anything you can speak through, write on or draw on.

What is Effective Communication?

Effective Communication is a process where a message is received and understood by the receiver in the manner that the sender intended it to be.

Definition of Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal CommunicationInformation exchanged between people via words, gestures/signs and body language. The entities (sender and receiver) can be:

• One sender to one receiver
• One sender to many receivers
• Many senders to one receiver
• Many senders to many receivers. This sounds crazier than it is, as an example think of a chorus singing at a church.

Definition of Business Communication

Business communication takes place in the context of people and organizations transacting business, so the definition of communication as listed at the top of the page applies.

The entities exchanging information are employees, customers, bosses, boards, stockholders, companies, departments and so forth.

One specific - and subjective - dynamic that applies to business communication is that it tends to use its own "language" (business jargon) and the entities (sender and receiver) tend to adopt and maintain their public identities while communicating.

In some sense and very unfortunately, business communication is not as authentic as other types of communication.

Summing Up

Communication in its most basic sense is transferring information from sender to receiver.

The various definitions of communication (organizational, business, interpersonal and so forth) are just flavors of the basic definition of communication.

Communication in its most expansive sense is everything and anything (not just information) that gets sent and received.Under this definition, all sentient beings are constantly communicating. But that's a whole different conversation that we won't get into just yet.

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