Levels of Communication

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Scholars categorize different levels and types of communication. These distinctions are somewhat artificial, since types of communication more realistically fit on a continuum rather than in separate categories. Nevertheless, to understand the various types of communication, it is helpful to consider various factors. The distinguishing characteristics include the following:

Number of communicators (one through many).
Physical proximity of the communicators in relation to each other (close or distant). Immediacy of the exchange, whether it is taking place either (1) live or in apparently real time or (2) on a delayed basis. Number of sensory channels (including visual, auditory, tactile and so on). The context of the communication (whether face-to-face or mediated).

Note that each level of communication may be formal or informal, personal or impersonal. Note also that the purposes of communication may vary and overlap, giving a communicator a potentially wide list of choices for communication channels.

Broadly speaking, the levels of communication can be categorized in a four-fold pattern as intrapersonal, direct interpersonal, mediated interpersonal, and mass.


For the majority of people, communication only means having interaction with others. This a great fallacy because communication also takes place between ourselves. In fact, all forms of communication originated from within us in the form of intra-personal communication and only then it leads to communication which involves other. The thoughts going on in our minds like thinking whether to say or not to say something is just one example of intra-personal communication. According to some experts, we communicate with ourselves 50,000 times a day, which indeed is a lot of communication, and which needs great attention.

Intra-personal communication is also known by many other names like self-dialogue, self-talk, inner monologue, inner dialogue, inner speech and self-verbalization. The understanding of Intra-personal communication and improving it can tremendously improve the quality of our lives. The following are some of the points which emphasizes the importance of self-talk.


Intra-personal communication begins with thoughts which leads to feeling and finally, ends up in actions. Positive intra-personal communication leads to positive feelings, which in turn generates positive actions. Likewise, negative self-talk will generate negative self-feelings and negative actions and performance. People who affirm their capabilities, strengths and good qualities perform better than those who oppress themselves with negative self-dialogue.

2) It influences our communication with others

There are many examples of people who stammer, cannot express themselves clearly or face identical handicaps which stems not from any physical defect, but rather from their low self-esteem due to negative intra-personal communication. They face these problems because in their minds, oppressing dialogues like “ I am scared ”, “ They don’t like me ”, “ What will they think? ”, “ My English is not good ”, etc, are repeatedly played. When we convey this type of messages to ourselves we feel uncomfortable and lose confidence. This behaviour relayed through our body language put us in negative vibration with others and thus stops us from effective communication. It is known of world class communicators that before they deliver public speeches they affirm and reinforce themselves with positive intra-personal communication. Our intra-personal communication has either a positive or negative implications on our communication with others.

► Direct Interpersonal Communication

Direct interpersonal communication involves a direct face-to-face relationship between the sender and receiver of a message, who are in an interdependent relationship. Because of interpersonal communication’s immediacy (it is taking place now) and...
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