What Are Channels of Communication? (With Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The medium through which you communicate a message can influence how the audience receives it. Aligning employees with company objectives can challenge, break down silos, and foster innovation when proper communication channels are in place. Knowing the answer to "What are channels of communication?" can help you understand the medium to use in different situations. In this article, we discuss the benefits of good communication, review the different communication channels you can use, and share tips to help you choose the right channel in various situations.

What are channels of communication?

Understanding which channels the company uses can help you choose the most suitable ones to use for different situations in the workplace. Communication channels are how people converse and interact with each other. These channels are mediums that allow you to convey a message to your intended audience. Sharing ideas can help shape connections and relationships between professionals.

Communication is an important tool for nurturing interpersonal connections and engagement. In a business setting, employees typically communicate to exchange information, make suggestions, or provide responses. Interactions can include in-person dialogue, telephone conversations, e-mail, social networking sites, or text messaging. The communication channels you use in the workplace directly impact your general work experience and level of engagement and your ability to help employees improve their performance, governance, and effective communication.

Read more: 7 Ways to Communicate Effectively (Plus Benefits and Tips)

Benefits of good communication

Here are the key benefits of good communication:

  • Provides team-building opportunities: Creating effective teams revolves around how participants communicate and collaborate. Incorporating effective communication strategies contributes significantly to developing cohesive teams and enhancing motivation.

  • Allows team members to express opinions: Job satisfaction often depends on having the opportunity to speak, whether it's offering an idea or a challenge. Regardless of their level, employees require the ability to share information with workmates and management freely.

  • Fosters innovation: People are typically willing to offer their ideas when they can openly communicate, knowing their audience doesn't judge them. New ideas rely heavily on information exchange, and an organization that facilitates good communication is likely to encourage innovation.

  • Improves growth**:** Collaborating internally and maintaining clear communication channels can ensure that the organization delivers a consistent message to the outside world. Growth relies on effective communication and all relevant parties aligning effectively internally and externally.

  • Enhances management abilities: Typically, managers who are also skilled communicators manage their workgroups effectively. Task delegation, dispute resolution, inspiration, and relationship building become more straightforward when you are an excellent communicator.

  • Builds strong relationships: Effective workplace communication nurtures and strengthens relationships throughout an organization. The key interactions that occur every day are essential in developing the strong connections important for job satisfaction and optimal productivity.

  • Allows virtual onboarding: Effective workplace communication channels are important to overcoming the challenges of virtual onboarding, developing an interactive platform and layered engagement strategy to onboard personnel in a warm and inviting manner.

Read more: How To Become an Effective Communicator

Types of communication channels

Here are the types of communication channels you can use in the workplace:

Verbal communication

Verbal communication involves orally passing information via face-to-face or phone conversations. Speaking and listening are the essential aspects of verbal communication. Individuals favour verbal exchange because it's often spontaneous and facilitates instant feedback. Listening and carefully considering your response before speaking is crucial in oral communication.

The choice of words you use determines whether effective communication occurs. Try not to make statements that the recipient is unfamiliar with to avoid miscommunication. Another aspect of the verbal communication channel is the choice of vocabulary you use. For example, you may use more informal language with friends or close workmates than in a briefing to your supervisors. The dominant form of communication in the workplace is typically verbal, with employees coordinating with one another, resolving issues, and strengthening cooperation.

Read more: 11 Examples of Effective Probing Questions to Improve Your Communication Skills

Written communication

Written communication refers to textual, printed, or written messages, such as plans, agreements, memos, and minutes. Workplaces use the written channel to expound well-planned details that are often easier for a recipient to evaluate than a verbal message. Organizations typically use written communication when documenting information for future reference. Even though written communication is sometimes time-intensive, physical documents are valuable in formal situations requiring authorization and those with legal consequences. E-mail communication has revolutionized the speed of written text and has become a popular alternative for sharing information quickly.

Verbal communication typically happens in real-time. In contrast, written communication can take place over a more extended period. Most often, written communication is asynchronous, where a sender writes a message that the recipient can review at any time. Many professions require some level of written communication, so it's important to learn and improve your writing skills.

Related: 12 Communication Skills Interview Questions With Tips and Example Answers

Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication refers to the information you can pass alongside words when interacting. Body language, expressions, eye contact, visual appeal, pitch, and voice tone can all convey a wide range of emotions. In formal situations, it's important to consider your body language and tone of voice in addition to what you say. It's possible to communicate unintentionally without speaking a word. For instance, before an interview, your facial expression can convey your confidence level to the interviewer. Similarly, smiling and eye contact can hide your nervousness, which might encourage an interviewer to view you favourably.

The following are forms of non-verbal communication:

  • Body language: Your body language can send different messages, so it's essential to ensure your body posture aligns with your message. When you use or interpret body language, it helps to keep the cultural context in mind because body signals convey different messages depending on where you are and your audience.

  • Eye contact: Holding eye contact while communicating can build trust and show that you listen when another party speaks. Eye contact can also help you convey more confidence when speaking.

  • Facial expressions: Your facial expressions can spontaneously affect conversations and how other people perceive you. An open mouth, for example, conveys fear; pursed lips, lack of trust; and an upturned mouth, happiness.

  • Posture: Your body's position in relation to the other person is a silent messenger that expresses interest, detachment, and professionalism (or a lack thereof). Mirroring other people's posture shows you are attentive.

Digital channels of communication

The three primary channels of communication apply in-person and digitally. Technology has enabled new communication methods, such as teleconferencing, e-mail, and social media. Some features of the primary channels apply to digital platforms. Your analogue or digital communication choice might impact the environment and context, causing interference in the communication process.

Read more: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Tips for choosing the right communication channel

Here are tips to help you select an appropriate communication channel in different scenarios:

Know your audience

Your audience strongly influences the choice of communication channel you use. Research your audience and the preferred communication channel. Using the right communication channel increases the likelihood of your audience receiving your message favourably, which is essential in receiving helpful feedback.

Consider the company's culture

The prevailing company culture can also help you determine the right channel to use. For instance, if most employees prefer face-to-face communication, you can visit them instead of writing an e-mail or a memo. If the company values work-life balance highly, avoid making phone calls after official working hours.

Related: Communication in Organizations (With Benefits and Types)

Consider your message

After studying your audience, you can determine the message you intend to send. Key issues to think about here include whether your information is formal, informal, or confidential and if you require an immediate response. For instance, it's important to write an e-mail and follow up with a phone call instead of texting or leaving a voicemail when seeking a job referral.

Consider your budget

The potential costs can also assist you in determining the communication channel to use. Key budgeting issues include whether the communication channel is affordable and if you have the tools for that channel. If you choose to use multiple channels, the cost may be higher, but the message may reach your audience faster.

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