Communication skills

Meaning of Communication

  • The word communication has originated from a Latin word ‘communis or communicare’ which means ‘to share, impart, participate, exchange, transmit or to make common’. 
  • In general, communication refers to the process of sharing information, ideas and thoughts between individual.
  • It is the process of imparting or exchanging of information, ideas, facts, opinions, beliefs, feelings through verbal or nonverbal means between two people or within a group of people, usually with the intent to motivate or influence behavior. 
  • The means of transferring the information from the sender to the receiver so that it is understood in the right context.

Types of Communication

Formal Communication

  • Formal communication refers to the official communication which takes place following the chain of command in the organisation. There are four directions of formal communication i.e. Downward, Upward, Horizontal, and Diagonal

Advantages of Formal Communication

  • Orderly flow of Information
  • Identified Sources
  • Authentic Information
  • Justification of Authority
  • Answerability for actions
  • Control 

Disdvantages of Formal Communication

  • Time Consuming
  • Lack of Personal Touch
  • Distortion 
  • Expensive

Communication Networks: 

Represents the pattern of contacts among the members of an organization. 

  • Chain Network: Chain network follows a formal chain of command where information flows vertically upwards or downwards. A superior and subordinate communicate with each other through vertical chain of command, both upwards and downwards. Information distortion is not likely to take place but communication system becomes time consuming. 
  • Y Network: Here C is the central person who communicates with A, B, D and E. It follows the formal chain of command where upward and downward communication takes place in the organizational hierarchy.
  • Wheel Network: All messages flow through A, who is at the centre of the wheel. He communicates with other members of the group, while members cannot communicate with each other. This communication network is found in highly formal organization structures where task-oriented approach to leadership is preferred over employee-oriented approach.
  • All Channel/Open/ Star Network: All the members in this network communicate with each other freely and regularly. It follows the informal channel of communication and provides maximum satisfaction to members. Information flows fast, though there may be problem of coordination. 
  • Circle Network: This network is similar to chain network except that information flows in a circular direction rather than vertical direction. A can communicate simultaneously with two persons, B and E but to communicate with D, he has to pass the messages through E or B and C

Informal Communication / Grapevine

Communication between individuals and groups which are not officially recognized is known as informal communication. It is also known as Grapevine.

  • The network or pathway of informal communication is known as grapevine.


  • It transmits information in every direction throughout the organization
  • Transmits information rapidly.
  • Grapevine is selective with regard to the person who receives the information

Types of Grapevine chains / Informal Communication

  • Single Strand Network: Under this communication pattern, the information flows from one person to the next person in the network. Such as, one person will give information to another person who will communicate it to the next person and similarly the third person will also communicate the same message to the next person in the network and so on. This type of chain is less reliable and accurate to pass on the message. Here, the communication process is linear.
  • Gossip Chain Network: In the gossip chain network, there is an individual who tells the message to all other members in the network directly. He is generally the central person who seeks out and transmit information to all that he has obtained. Here, every person in the network communicates with each other informally. This network is often used when the subject matter is unrelated to the nature of the job. 
  • Probability Chain Network: Under this communication pattern the information passes randomly from persons to persons. Such as, there is an individual who acts as a source of message selects any person randomly in his network to communicate the message. That second person will again, select another person randomly and passes on the message to him, likewise the communication flows to different people chosen randomly. Here, the source of information for each member of the network is different. This communication pattern is used when the information is interesting, but not significant.
  • Cluster Chain Network: In the cluster chain network, there is an individual who, acts as a source of a message, transmits information to the pre-selected group of individuals out of whom few individuals again tell the same message to other selected group of individuals. Likewise, the chain continues, and the message reaches to all in the networks. 

Advantages of Informal Communication

  • Social Relations
  • Need Satisfaction
  • Speed
  • Avenue of Expression
  • Feedback
  • Supporting the formal channel
  • Better Human Relations 

Disadvantages of Informal Communication

  • Incomplete Information
  • Distortion
  • Unreliability
  • Leakage
  • Lack of Authenticity
  • Problem in Fixing Responsibility