Communication Channels in an Organization: Types, Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Definition of a…
  • 0:28 Types of Channels
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Communication is vital to any organization. In this lesson, you'll learn about communication channels in an organization, what they are, and the various types. You'll also have an opportunity to take a short quiz after the lesson.

Definition of a Communication Channel

A communication channel is a particular type of media through which a message is sent and received. In other words, it's the method of communication used. The communication channels can flow down from superiors to subordinates, up from subordinates to superiors, or across from and to co-workers of the same hierarchical level of authority.

Types of Channels

Organizations have several types of communication channels available for people to communicate with each other.

Verbal communication is spoken communication. This is one of the oldest forms of communication and one of the most used channels in day-to-day activities. It can be a rather informal form of communication, and no records of the communication are typically kept unless the communication is recorded. Examples include talking around the water cooler, team meetings, and live presentations.

Written communication - Written communication is another widely used channel of communication in an organization. It includes any communication done with the written word, including letters, memos, and even a simple note scratched out on a napkin. Written communication is a much more formal channel of communication, which permits you time to think and process your message, revise your message before sending it, and archive the message for use later. It can be an impersonal means of communicating.

Nonverbal communication - You can actually communicate without saying or writing anything. Nonverbal communication involves using body language to send cues, such as happiness, satisfaction, anger, worry, and fear. It's probably the oldest form of communication because language isn't required. It is often used as a supplement to verbal communication and sometimes is more effective. It also allows you to send an indirect message where a more direct message isn't advisable. For example, your boss is meeting with a client and asks you to come to it; he's in a rush for you to complete a document for the client that was already supposed to be done. He politely and nonchalantly asks you when it will be ready, but you can see from his body language that it is a rush job.

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