Different Types of Human Communication
Most animals communicate with each other in some way. Dogs bark at those they perceive as a threat in order to communicate their hostility and in some cases the threat that they will attack if provoked; bees have a pouch in which they carry the scent of their hive so as to identify themselves as members of the community. However, it is only in humans that communication breaks off into different types of communication: verbal and non-verbal, and formal and informal. Verbal communication is just what one would expect from the name: communication using words, and in some cases written characters. There are subcategories for verbal communication, depending on who is at the receiving end of the communication. The main division is between interpersonal communication, in which one person speaks directly to another person, and public or group speaking, in which one person speaks to a large group. From here, the intention of the person speaking breaks it down into still further categories depending on whether they are trying to persuade the listener or listeners to think or act in a certain way, to convey information in the clearest manner possible, or even to entertain. However, in many cases, the intentions of the speaker will overlap: speakers may want to persuade, inform, and entertain their audiences all at the same time. Sometimes, they may even be unaware of what their true intentions are themselves. Non-verbal communication is the type that is more similar to what the dogs and bees mentioned above do. Non-verbal communication includes all the information we convey to others, whether consciously or subconsciously, without actually using any words. Probably the most ubiquitous example of non verbal communication is that of facial expressions. For example, when a person rolls their eyes at someone, they are expressing skepticism about what the speaker said. They are not using any words to convey this message, but using their understanding of the non-verbal cues they can send that message without having to explicitly say, “I really find what you are saying unbelievable”. Not all facial expressions are so calculated though: there are those like smiles that come naturally when someone is happy, and indicate this to others. Beyond these more explicit examples, there are more subtle instances of non-verbal communication. For example, clothing: just as the male peacock uses a vibrant display of his colorful feathers to signal to a potential mate that he is a desirable choice, people use clothing in order to send messages about themselves (whether they are true or not). In this vein, a man going to a job interview will usually wear a suit and tie in order to convey the idea that he is a very professional person. Unlike facial expressions, this kind of non-verbal communication is more like verbal communication because it is arbitrary – there is no intrinsic reason why a suit and tie should convey the idea of professionalism any more than a Japanese kimono would. It is simply that it has become a cultural norm that a suit and tie is what a professional person wears, and as such it becomes a symbol and a means of non-verbal communication. Formal communication is more strongly associated with large and small group speaking. It is more rule bound, and is more centered on the speaker getting some kind of result. For example, speaking to a board room full of business executives in order to convince them to accept a marketing strategy is an example of formal communication: what is said and how it is said is rule-bound to what is considered appropriate for the setting, and it is directed toward the specific end of getting the executives to accept the ad campaign. Furthermore, their are instances of symbolic non-verbal communication, such as the wearing of business attire in order to appear professional. Informal communication is associated with interpersonal communication. While it is still rule bound...
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