Communication is the process of transmission of ideas, opinions, thoughts and information through speech, writing, gestures or symbols between two or more persons. Communication always contains a message which is transmitted between the parties.
There are minimum of two parties involved in communication - one is ‘Sender’, and the other is ‘Receiver’. The process of communication is said to be complete when the receiver receives the message and responds to it or acts according to it.
Types of Communication
Based on the method used, communication may be oral, written or non-verbal.
1. Oral Communication
When a message is transmitted orally i.e., through spoken words it is called oral communication. It may be in the form of lectures, meetings, group discussions, conferences, telephonic conversations, radio message and so on. It is considered to be quite an effective and economical method of communication (both in term of money and time), and is most commonly used for internal as well as external communication. The major drawback with verbal communication is that it cannot be verified as normally it is not put on record.
2. Written Communication
When a message is transmitted through written words (in writing in the form of letters, telegram, memos, circulars, notices, reports etc.) it is called written communication. It provides a record of the message and feedback which is available for verification as and when required. Normally, one is very careful to the point and precise while sending a written communication. However, it is formal, lacks personal touch and difficult to maintain secrecy.
3. Non-verbal Communication
Communication without any use of words is called non-verbal communication. Sometimes when you look at some pictures, graphs, symbols, diagrams etc. some message is conveyed to you. All these are different forms of visual communication. Bells, whistles, buzzers, horns etc. are also the instruments through which we can communicate our message. Communication with the help of these types of sounds is called aural communication.
Similarly, communication is also made through some physical gestures through the use of various parts of the human body through body language. This is termed as gestural communication. Saluting our national flag, motionless position during the singing of national anthem, waving of hands, nodding of head, showing anger on face, etc. are all examples of gestural communication. When a teacher pats his student on his back, it is considered as an appreciation of his work and it encourages the student to do still better.
For sending the message or getting the response, you require a medium. Such medium is termed as ‘means of communication’. It carries the message to the receiver and a feedback or response from him. The commonly used means of communication are:
- Postal mail services
- Courier services
- Cellular phone
- Voice mail
These means are also termed as ‘communication services’. Of these, the main services which help business in its effective communication, are classified as
- Postal Services
- Telecommunication Services
The postal system in India was established in 1766 by Lord Clive for sending official mails. It was made available to the public in 1837. The Indian postal service has the largest network of post offices throughout the country. These are mainly concerned with collection, sorting, and distribution of letters, parcels, packets, etc. Besides, a number of other services are also provided to the general public as well as business enterprises.
1. Mail Services
The postal mail service deals with both inland and international mails. An inland mail is one where the sender and receiver of the mail reside within the same country. On the other hand, where the sender and receiver of the mail reside in different countries it is called an international mail.
While sending a written message, the sender can make use of a post card, an inland letter, or an envelope. For sending some item in a packet, parcel post facility is provided. Articles in the form of printed materials, printed books, periodicals, greeting cards can also be mailed by book post.
2. Financial Services
Various financial services are provided by the post office through Saving Schemes, Remittance Services, and Distribution of Mutual Funds and Securities.
3. Insurance Services
Post offices also provide life insurance coverage to individuals. There are two different schemes of insurance offered by post office. These are (i) Postal Life Insurance (PLI), and (ii) Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI). The Postal Life Insurance was introduced in 1884 as a welfare measures for the employees of Posts and Telegraphs Department. Later on it was extended to the employees of Central and State governments, public sector undertakings, universities, government aided institutions, nationalised banks and financial institutions, local bodies like Municipalities and Zilla Parisads.
4. Business Development Services
Post office offers some special services to the business firms.
Business Post: In this service, post office undertakes all the pre-mailing activities of the bulk senders. Pre-mailing activities include collection from sender’s doorstep, insertion of goods in packet, pasting and addressing as well as franking of mails, etc.
Media Post: The postal department offers a unique media to help the corporate and government organisations to reach the potential customers through media post. Under this facility, advertisements are allowed on post cards, inland letter cards and in other postal stationery items, and space sponsorship options on letter boxes.
Express Parcel Post: Post office offers a reliable, speedy and economical parcel service to the corporate and business customers through its express post. It provides a time bound door-to-door delivery of parcels.
Direct Post: It allows the business houses to send the pamphlets, brochures and other advertising materials like CDs, floppies, cassettes, samples, etc. to the prospective customers at very low rates.
Retail Post: The post office offers the facility to collect public utility bills like telephone, electricity, and water bills, sale of application forms for government and other private organisations, survey through postmen, address verification through postmen are some of the activities undertaken under retail post.
Business Reply Post: Under this facility post offices allow the customers to send their reply through business reply post, which does not require any postage from the sender. The post office recovers the postage from the addressee later on.
Post Shoppe: Post shoppes are the small retail shops established for sale of postal stationery items, greeting cards and small gift items to the customers. These shops are found within the premises of some post offices.
Value Payable Post (VPP): This facility is offered to meet the requirement of the traders who wish to sell their articles and collect the price of articles supplied by them through the post offices. Under this service, post office receives the properly packed goods from the seller and carries those to the customers. After receiving the total amount (the price of the goods plus the VPP charges) from the customer, it delivers the goods to him or her. Later on, the post office sends the amount due to the seller.
Corporate Money Order: Like individuals, business organisations can also transfer money through money order. For them, the post office offers Corporate Money Order Service.
Post-box and Post-bag Facility: Under this facility, a particular number and a box or a bag is allotted to the receiver at the post office to receive all unregistered mails. Post office keeps all mails addressed to that number in those boxes or bags. The addressee makes necessary arrangement to collect the mails as per his convenience. This facility is mostly suitable for business firms which want to receive their mail promptly. Those who do not have any fixed address or those who do not want to disclose their names and address can avail of this facility on payment of the specified rent.
Bill Mail Service: It provides cost effective solution for mailing of periodic communication with nature of annual report, bills, monthly account bills or other items of similar nature.
E-post: This has enabled people to send and receive messages through e-mail in all post offices of the country. To make it more useful for business, a corporate version of e-mail was also launched, which allows simultaneous sending of e-post to a maximum of 9999 addresses.
The first telegraph line between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour was opened for traffic in 1851. The first telephone service was introduced (in Kolkata) in 1881-82, and the first automatic exchange was commissioned at Shimla in 1913-14.
1. Fixed Line Phone
The fixed line phone or telephone is a very popular means of verbal communication. It is widely used for internal and external business communications. It facilitates both oral conversation as well as sending written text messages. Both government and private telecom companies provide this service in India.
2. Cellular Services
Now-a-days, cellular phones or mobile phones are very popular as they give access to the receiver at all times and everywhere. This is an improvement over the fixed line telephone. It possesses many modern features like Short Messaging Services (SMS), Multi Media Messaging Services (MMS), etc.
It is a form of written communication by which messages can be sent quickly to distant places. It is generally used when there is an urgency of communicating an important message. Now a days this facility is not available in any of the telegraph offices.
Telex provides a means of printed communication using teleprinter. The teleprinter is a tele-typewriter having a standard keyboard and connected through telephone.
Fax or facsimile is an electronic device that enables instant transmission of handwritten or printed matters to distant places. By using telephone lines, this machine sends the exact copy of the document to another fax machine at the receiving end. This is the most commonly used means of written communication in business now-a-days.
6. Voice Mail
It is a computer based system for receiving and responding to incoming telephone calls. It records and stores telephone messages through computer memory. The caller can get the required information by dialling the voice mail number and then following the instructions of the computer. The individuals can also record their messages through voice mail. The receivers at their own convenience can get the message from the machines and take action accordingly.
Electronic mail, popularly known as e-mail is a modern means of communication that transmits the written message, pictures or sounds, etc. from one computer to the others connected through internet facility.
8. Unified Message Service
It is a system by which fax, voice mails and e-mails (all three) can be received from one mail box using telephone instrument, fax machine, mobile phones, internet browsers, etc.
Teleconferencing is a system through which people can interact without physically sitting in front of each other. People can hear the voice and see the picture of others and also respond to their queries while sitting in different countries. It makes the use of modern electronic devices like telephone, computers, television, etc.
Importance of Communication
Promotion of Business: Because of modern means of communication, businessmen sitting at different places can finalise their business deals without much difficulty. They can make enquiries, settle terms and conditions, place orders and send confirmation. It has helped in the growth of national as well as international trade.
Mobility of Labour: People who have gone for employment to places away from their homes and families are able to keep in touch with their friends and relatives through the various means of communication. So they willingly go to far off places for employment.
Socialisation: Through communication facilities like telephone, fax and e-mail, etc. people are able to exchange messages, information, etc. with their friends and relatives on a regular basis. This helps in maintaining and developing social relations among people.
Coordination and Control: Offices of big business houses and government departments may be situated at different places. There may be many departments in the same building. Effective communication between them helps in coordinating their activities and exercising control over them.
Efficiency in Job Performance: Effective communication contributes a great deal to higher in job performance as regular communication within a business unit ensures a willing cooperation of others due to the close understanding of ideas and instructions.
Helpful to Professionals: Lawyers are to attend courts situated at different places, doctors are to visit different nursing homes, chartered accountants have to go to different offices of companies. Mobile phones help these professionals in changing and adjusting their schedule as required without any difficulty.
Meeting Emergencies: In the event of accidents or incidents of fire, immediate help can be asked for and made available through modern means of communication.
Sea and Air Navigation: Means of communication are extremely important for the navigation of ships and air crafts which need to be guided from control rooms at particular locations.
Spread of Education: Broadcasting of educational programmes on radio and telecasting on televisions are popular means of educating students without the necessity of personal coaching.
Advertisement: Radio and television as means of mass communication have increasingly become important as media of advertisement for business firms as it is possible to reach the masses by such means.