Method of Communication for Paper 1 Unit IV (Communication) as Per New 2020 Syllabus

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Communication: Types of Communication

Formal Communication

  • Formal communications are the one which flows through the official channels designed in the organizational chart. It may take place between a superior and a subordinate, a subordinate and a superior or among the same cadre employees or managers. These communications can be oral or in writing and are generally recorded and filed in the office.

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  • Formal communication may be further classified as Vertical communication and Horizontal communication.

    • Vertical Communication

      • Vertical Communications as the name suggests flows vertically upwards or downwards through formal channels. Upward communication refers to the flow of communication from a subordinate to a superior whereas downward communication flows from a superior to a subordinate.

      • Application for grant of leave, submission of a progress report, request for loans etc. are some of the examples of upward communication. Sending notice to employees to attend a meeting, delegating work to the subordinates, informing them about the company policies, etc. are some examples of downward communication.

    • Horizontal Communication

      • Horizontal or lateral communication takes place between one division & another. For example, a production manager may contact the finance manager to discuss the delivery of raw material or its purchase.

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  • Types of communication networks in formal communication

    • Single Chain: In this type of network communications flows from every superior to his subordinate through a single chain.

    • Wheel: In this network, all subordinates under one superior communicate through him only. They are not allowed to talk among themselves.

    • Circular: In this type of network, the communication moves in a circle. Each person is able to communicate with his adjoining two persons only.

    • Free Flow: In this network, each person can communicate with any other person freely. There is no restriction.

    • Inverted V: In this type of network, a subordinate is allowed to communicate with his immediate superior as well as his superior’s superior also. However, in the latter case, only ordained communication takes place.

Informal Communication

  • Any communication that takes place without following the formal channels of communication is said to be informal communication. The Informal communication is often referred to as the ‘grapevine’ as it spreads throughout the organization and in all directions without any regard to the levels of authority.

  • The informal communication spreads rapidly, often gets distorted and it is very difficult to detect the source of such communication. It also leads to rumors which are not true. People’s behavior is often affected by the rumors and informal discussions which sometimes may hamper the work environment.

  • However, sometimes these channels may be helpful as they carry information rapidly and, therefore, may be useful to the manager at times. Informal channels are also used by the managers to transmit information in order to know the reactions of his/her subordinates.

  • Types of Grapevine network:

    • Single Strand: In this network, each person communicates with the other in a sequence.

    • Gossip Network: In this type of network, each person communicates with all other persons on a non-selective basis.

    • Probability Network: In this network, the individual communicates randomly with other individuals.

    • Cluster Network: In this network, the individual communicates with only those people whom he trusts. Out of these four types of networks, the Cluster network is the most popular in organizations.


This involves the use of language and words for the purpose of passing on the intended message. In general terms, Verbal Communication means communication in the form of spoken words only. But, in the context of types of communication, verbal communication can be in the spoken or the written form. Thus, the verbal form may be oral or written as discussed below.

  • Written Communication: This kind of communication involves any kind of exchange of information in the written form. For example, e-mails, texts, letters, reports, SMS, posts on social media platforms, documents, handbooks, posters, flyers, etc.

  • Oral Communication: This is the communication which employs the spoken word, either direct or indirect as a communication channel. This verbal communication could be made on a channel that passes information in only one form that is sound.

Non-Verbal Communication

  • In this type of communication, messages are relayed without the transmission of words. The messages here are wordless messages. This form of communication mainly aides verbal communication. It supplements it with gestures, body language, symbols, and expressions.

  • Through these, one may communicate one’s mood, or opinion or even show a reaction to the messages that are relaying.

  • One’s non-verbal actions often set the tone for the dialogue. You can control and guide the communication if you control and guide the non-verbal communication.

  • Some of the modes of non-verbal communication are:

    • Physical Non-verbal Communication: This is the sum total of the physically observable. For instance, hand gestures, body language, facial expressions, the tone of one’s voice, posture, stance, touch, gaze, and others. Several researchers have revealed that physical nonverbal communication constitutes about 55% of our daily communications.

      • This is the sum total of the physically observable. For instance, hand gestures, body language, facial expressions, the tone of one’s voice, posture, stance, touch, gaze, and others. Several researchers have revealed that physical nonverbal communication constitutes about 55% of our daily communications.

    • Paralanguage: This is the art of reading between the lines. The main kind of such communication is done with the tone of one’s voice. This kind of communication amounts to almost 38% of all the communication that we do every day. Along with the tone of voice, the style of speaking, voice quality, stress, emotions, or intonation serves the purpose of communication. And, these aspects are not verbal.

    • Aesthetic Communication: Art is an important means of communication. Through the paintings or other forms of art, an artist can covey the strongest messages. Several times in the history of the world, art has been used as an effective form of nonverbal communication.

    • Appearance: The first impression sets the tone. People will react to your appearance and this is a fact of life. Your clothes, the color of the fabrics, etc. all determine the reaction of your audience.

    • Visual Communication: This is communication through visual aids like drawings, placards, presentations, and illustrations, etc.

image of types of communication

Image of Types of Communication

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