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The 28 types of communication and their characteristics

The 28 types of communication and their characteristics

March 1, 2021

Communication is the act of exchanging information , either between two or more people, with the purpose of transmitting and receiving information (written, emotional, etc.). The person (or persons) that sends the information is the sender, and the person who receives the receiver. The medium through which the message is transmitted is the channel.

But this relatively simple scheme does not cover all the complexity of the process, because there are actually many types of communication, not just one . In this article we will see its characteristics and what it means to know how to master them well.

The main communication skills

Being a good communicator is key to personal relationships , in the success of your professional career and, in addition, the emotional health of people. In other words, being a competent communicator is necessary to be successful in this life.


And is that if something characterizes the people who are happiest is that they are competent communicators, what helps them to face the situations of their daily life in the most satisfactory way . For example, when solving a discussion with your partner or when presenting your candidacy in a job interview. Luckily, communication skills can be learned.

But ... what are these communication skills? Good communicators are characterized by mastering these skills:

  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Emotional validation
  • Nonverbal language
  • Conflict resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Verbal language
  • Read
  • to write
  • Respect
  • Persuasive ability
  • Credibility

You can go deeper into these aspects in our article: "The 10 basic communication skills". However, to understand how the act of communicating can be taken advantage of, it is necessary to know the types of communication in turn.


  • Related article: "Paradoxical communication and affective relationships: he said" yes ", he meant" no "and everything ended"

Types of communication

As we have seen, beyond the basic scheme of the process of transmitting a message there are different types of communication, since the issuers can be different and the information that is sent and the channel through which it circulates is also different. Below you can find the classification of the various forms of communication, according to various criteria:

Verbal and non-verbal communication

Two types of communication that are often talked about a lot are verbal and non-verbal communication . This dichotomous classification refers to whether the message is verbalized or not.

1. Verbal communication

Verbal communication is characterized by the use of words in the interaction between the sender and the receiver. There are two types, since the words or the language can be expressed in a spoken or written way:


  • Oral communication : it is done through oral signs or spoken words. Screaming, crying or laughing are also oral communication.
  • Written communication : it is done through written codes. Hieroglyphs, alphabets or logos also belong to this type of communication.

Although verbal communication is the most explicit and obvious, given that it is regulated by a series of norms that take several years to learn and that allow us to transmit units of meaning that are relatively clear and often even concise, we must bear in mind that after it there is also another one that is more or more important than this, which can also modify the meaning of the first one. It is about non-verbal communication, which we will see below.

2. Non-verbal communication

This type of language is carried out without the use of words and, in many cases unconsciously. Body movements, postures, the look, the way of sitting or walking are some examples.

In most cases, both the issuance of messages and the interpretation of these are processes carried out automatically, even involuntarily. This is so because this type of communication is the one that has had more importance throughout our evolutionary history, in stages of evolution in which the use of words did not yet exist.

But nevertheless, messages linked to nonverbal communication are relatively ambiguous and difficult to interpret, since unlike the previous type, it is not governed by consensual norms and learned explicitly.

According to the number of participants

The type of communication may vary depending on the people who participate in the communicative interaction

3. Individual

In this type of communication only one sender and one receiver interact, that is, that communication is produced from individual to individual. It is a framework of interactions characterized by privacy and the impossibility of trying to impact an audience or a third person who observes.

4. Collective

This type of communication happens when there are more than two people who exchange messages . In these cases, the situation may arise that although one person addresses the other in his speech, it is intended to have an effect not on him but on the rest of the people.

5. Intrapersonal

This type of communication occurs when a person communicates with himself. For example, when someone has to make a decision and reasons the solutions. It is debated whether communication can really be considered.

6. Interindividual

Interindividual communication occurs when two people communicate, either verbally or non-verbally, basically expressing feelings .

7. Intragroup

This type of communication is given when two or more people belonging to the same group or group communicate or .

8. Intergroup

Intergroup communication refers to the communication that exists between groups. For example, between the interpreters and a group of spectators.

9. Mass communication

Mass or mass communication refers to the interaction between a single transmitter and a massive receiver or audience to . The receiver should be: a large group of people, be heterogeneous and be anonymous.

According to the sensory channel

According to the sensory channel, it is possible to differentiate different types of communication:

10. Visual communication

In this type of communication, messages (for example, ideas) are transmitted through the visual medium and are perceived through sight .

11. Auditory communication

It is a type of communication in which messages and information is perceived through the ear . For example, music. Of course, it is one of the most commonly used types of communication, since it can connect two people over a relatively large distance and, in addition, makes it easy to locate the source of the message, something that does not happen, for example, with the olfactory.

12. Touch communication

In tactile communication, the information is perceived through touch , usually by the skin or by writing in Braille.

13. Olfactory communication

The message received through the olfactory route gives shape to olfactory communication. For example, the act of perceiving the information that a person gives by its smell.

As with auditory communication, the message can travel long distances, but in this case it is not easy to locate the source or establish a sequence of information. However, the message remains in the environment much longer than what happens with sounds.

14. Gustatory communication

It is a type of communication in which the information is sent through taste . For example, when a "chef" makes a recipe for a group of diners. Unfortunately, in this type of communication the information is usually limited to the chemical properties of the element that is savored, and there are no precise data or chains of information.

According to the technological channel

Depending on the technological channel, the types of communication can be:

15. Telephone communication

It is the communication that It is done through the telephone device . Either fixed or mobile. It allows to interact with people who are far away.

16. Virtual or digital communication

Virtual or digital communication is the communication that occurs thanks to the connected world through Internet t. It includes both a Skype conversation and the issuer's writing and the reading of the recipient of an article published on a blog.

17. Television communication

The communication that happens through the TV It is television communication.

18. Cinematic communication

It is the communication that occurs through the big screen and thanks to the largometrajes or cinematographic productions.

According to the use or purpose

Depending on the purpose or objective of the communication, this can be:

19. Advertising communication

This type of communication occurs when a company sends a message, usually to a group of consumers, to publicize your brand or sell a product . In this case, the principal interested party is the issuer, who is the one who wants to sell something.

20. Journalistic communication

It is the communication that it is done through different means of communication with the purpose of informing the recipient from the journalistic perspective.

21. Educational communication

The content of this kind of communication is educational . For example, when a student attends a class in which his teacher is teaching a subject.

22. Political communication

The information of this type is communication is political and the content tends to have a strong ideological charge. For example, when someone attends a debate in which the sender is a politician who wants to win his vote.Unlike advertising, propaganda does not aim to encourage buying, but to change the mindset of the recipients.

Other types of communication

There are also other types of communication:

23. Sign communication

This type of communication refers to the one used by deaf and deaf people s and the people around you to establish a channel of communication with their social social circles, whether made up of other deaf people or people without hearing problems.

24. Organizational communication

Organizational communication refers to the communication that occurs within companies and companies outward . It also receives the name of corporate communication.

25. Vertical communication

Vertical communication is a type of communication that occurs between different levels or hierarchical positions within an organization. There are two types:

  • Upward communication : from employees to senior management.
  • Downward communication : from the superior controls to the employees.

26. Horizontal communication

Another type of organizational communication that occurs within the same level . For example, between departments with the same hierarchical rank or between workers of the same office.

27. Sexual communication

Content the communication is sexual . Either through verbal language or sending pictures through WhatsApp, what is known as "Sexting".

28. Emotional communication

Emotional communication refers to the content is emotional . It can be verbal, by expressing feelings, or nonverbal, for example, by laughing or crying.


9 Types of Communication, Effective Communication & Active Listening (March 2021).


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