Effective Communication: Which of the 4 Types Should You Use?

Communication is happening all the time. People receive emails and text messages, others send memes via social media, billboards communicate an idea as people drive by, and TV shows communicate entertaining stories. As leaders seek to contact others inside their organization, they must know how to communicate appropriately. Knowing which method of communication can be most effective is an excellent start to conveying yourself efficiently.

Verbal

Verbal communication is most effective when you need to express information clearly and concisely. These statements are common in personal contact, but it is important to implement verbal communication within the workplace. While emails may be a standard way to message people in the office, verbal communication has some added benefits.

When communicating verbally, you hear the inflection in the speaker’s voice. You can distinguish between a speaker who is passionate about their subject and one who isn’t. This method of communication can be beneficial when you have to have a difficult conversation with a coworker.

Non-verbal

Non-verbal communication is one of the most effective ways to convey the emotions you are feeling in the current moment. This type of communication can include gestures, facial expressions, body language, and eye contact. While you may not use non-verbal communication to explain a new project at the office, there are other ways to use it effectively within the office.

Most people have had to give a presentation before. How did you feel standing in front of your peers? Was it intimidating? For some people, public speaking is not a pleasant experience. As an audience member, you can encourage speakers through non-verbal communication. Eye contact, a smile, and an occasional head nod are effective ways to communicate that you are following what a speaker is saying. It may not seem like much, but sometimes the slightest encouragement can change someone’s day.

A group of people sitting while looking at a pamphlet, an example of effective communication

Visual

Visual communication can be described as using visual elements to portray ideas or information. This type of communication is common when someone wants to engage their audience, convey emotion, simplify information, or share data. It’s commonly used in presentations or briefings to build on top of verbal communication.

People can use visual communication to simplify how information is shared, but too much can lead to confusion. Depending on the data, sometimes a pie chart isn’t the best way to show it. Similarly, sometimes a video isn’t needed to explain a concept further. Before adding visual communication, check with a team member and hear their opinions on if it helps or hurts your material.

Written

Written communication is pretty straightforward; this type of communication is when you write a message. Whether you are communicating in a text message, email, letter, office memo, or report, this form is more formal. While written communication helps you contact people who may be farther away, this form of contact leaves room for error because you cannot determine inflection and humor effectively. Due to the formality of this type of communication, written contact is best used when you need to keep a permanent record of something.

These different types of communication can drastically change the meaning of what you say and how others interpret it. To learn how persuasion affects everyday communication, check out the Bigger Brains course, Persuasion: The Art of Communication. This course will prepare you with methods you can use to encourage your audience to listen and believe what you are saying.

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