Career Development

What are the Different Forms of Communication?

Quick Navigation:


In communications, the presence of the right audience is important for a successful transmission. The right message is also essential. If you are the audience and you do not comprehend a message, it is beneficial that you ask for clarification to prevent any misunderstandings. This article will help inform you about the types of communication that will improve your communication skills in your career.

What are the different types of communication?

There are several types of communication, such as verbal, nonverbal, written and visual communication. Good communication skills are a result of constant practice. Knowing how to use each type requires a conscious effort and perhaps some training. Depending on the situation, there may be the need to use more than one type of communication for the communicative goal to be successful. In other cases, just one type of communication may suffice. 

Why are different forms of communication important? 

Effective communication helps you understand other people and in turn, helps them understand you, as well. Using a variety of communication styles can enhance your professional life, as using several styles can spread a message more clearly to your employer and coworkers. Clear communication helps lessen confusion. 

Common forms of communication

The following items  will help you understand the various forms of communication:

Verbal communication

This type of communication is oral-based and one of the most commonly used methods in the workplace. When speaking, consider using a strong, impartial voice, as well as clear words to prevent any confusion or miscommunication. When receiving the message, exercise active listening. 

Examples of verbal communication: 

  • Business partner: ‘There is a company meeting at 4’ o clock on the 22nd this week at the Mohiva Cafe. I am bringing a tablet and the executive director assigned you to bring a laptop to take meeting notes. ‘
  • You: ‘Ok, thank you. To confirm what you just said, I am bringing a laptop to the meeting on the 22nd at the cafe on 20th Avenue, correct? Did you mean the one at the corner of Main Street and Grand River?’

Repeating what was said shows that you are interested, and are committed to participating in the conversation.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

Nonverbal communication 

Nonverbal communication requires the use of body language, facial expression and tone of voice. They are factors to consider in terms of interpretation as the messenger is responsible for effectively communicating, but the receiver is just as responsible. Any message has the possibility of being interpreted differently by the receiver, so make your intentions clear and consider being emotionally aware in situations. Similarly, the sender has to be prepared to think before reacting. 

Examples of nonverbal communication:

  • An employee named Mark does not read the company policy, so he is not sure where to place his supplies. At the end of his shift, the employer stands right next to a blue shelf. Mark places the equipment in the blue shelf, believing that the employer would correct him if he misplaces them. As Mark exits the door, he sees the employer with arms crossed. Mark interprets this as a sign that he did not correctly pick the right storage. He later finds that the policy states all equipment should be stored under the blue shelf. 
    • Mark misinterprets the employer’s body language. The employer’s closed position did not have anything to do with how Mark placed the equipment.
  • Frank is the manager of a liquor store. A customer named Joe visits the store. It is Frank’s duty to inform him of the latest discounts but unfortunately, the company has had an unexpected change. As Frank explains this to him, Joe looks down at the ground and frowns. Frank apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused to Joe. Frank offers other options available at the end of this week. 
    • In this situation, Frank correctly understood that Joe was disappointed by his body language, so he quickly apologized and provided him another discount opportunity. 

Written communication 

Written communication implements the use of hand-written or typed words. This means that there is less human interaction involved and interactions are mainly comprised of text. Therefore, consider transcribing messages as simple as possible when writing. You may find many professional settings reporting their information in a straightforward manner since it is essential that many people comprehend their message. 

Examples of written communication:

  • On a Friday morning, Bob works at a theater as an attendant. He emails Carl asking him how many seats there would be available in a music auditorium that night. Carl checks and counts 60 seats. Bob accurately inserts the numbers on the computer.
  • Emails are great ways to send messages. Writers have the ability to write their thoughts in simple, main points to solve common workplace problems. 

Visual communication 

When communicating, people look for ways to strengthen what they wish to convey. Therefore, look to supplement other forms of communication. You can benefit from the use of visual aids to improve your message. Consider knowing who your audience is to effectively plan the necessary material. 

Examples of visual communication: 

  • A private tutor notices that a student’s average vocabulary test scores have dropped. The tutor makes a decision to implement flashcards with pictures to help the student remember words better. 
  • A company posts photos of milk cartons for their Grand Opening event. They are displayed on brochures, flyers, walls and employees’ clothes. They give a sample to each person who comes into the store. In this example, the company uses pictures to let customers know that they can try their newly-launched product for free.