Types of Communication: Formal, Informal, Grapevine, Verbal & Non-Verbal

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Supervisor Responsibilities Flashcards

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 Verbal & Non-Verbal
  • 2:24 Formal & Informal
  • 3:49 The Grapevine
  • 4:57 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Communication is essential for success in any business, and the type of communication will vary given the circumstances and business needs. In this lesson, you'll learn about verbal, non-verbal, formal, informal and grapevine communication.

Verbal & Non-Verbal Communication

Communication can be divided between verbal and non-verbal communication. Verbal communication is communication using speech that is understood by all parties to the communication. In other words, it's talking. Keep in mind that we're talking about speech, not the written word. Written communication falls under its own category.

Non-verbal communication is a bit more complicated. It is sending a message without using words to convey meaning. Non-verbal communication can include many different elements. Let's look at some:

  • Vocal cues, referred to as paralinguistics, is a form of non-verbal communication that includes such things as pitch, inflection, tone, volume, speed of the speech, quality, non-word sounds, pronunciation, enunciation and even silence.
  • Body movement and gestures are also part of non-verbal communication. For example, leaning forward may mean interest, while crossing arms is often viewed as a defensive posture.
  • Facial expressions are a common form of non-verbal communication. Examples of facial expressions include smiling, crying and grimacing.
  • Space can also act as a form of non-verbal communication. Space includes the concept of territoriality and personal space. Territoriality is about making sure others know your territory. A fence is an example of territoriality. Personal space, on the other hand, is a three-dimensional space surrounding you that you don't want people to cross. If they come too close, you get uncomfortable.
  • Touch is often considered as positive and reinforcing, such as patting someone on the back for a job well done.
  • Clothing and artifacts can also send a message, including status, conformity or rebellion. Think about a doctor. Do they really need to wear a lab coat during all examinations? Not really, but it's a cue to their status. Artifacts include such things as hairstyles, jewelry, cosmetics, watches, shoes, tattoos and body piercing.

Formal & Informal Communication

Companies need to be able to communicate effectively. This is especially true of large companies where personal interaction may not be practical. This is where formal communication comes into play.

Formal communication involves utilizing the formal communication channels of an organization. Formal communication can move vertically in an organization. Information is collected and flows up to the top levels of management for review and decision making, while orders flow down from the top to the place where it will be implemented. For example, employees may be given a presentation from the human resources department on new policies and procedures.

Formal communication can also flow horizontally across the organization. Unlike vertical communication that involves communication between a higher and lower level of an organizational hierarchy, horizontal communication occurs between two parts of the organization at the same level. For example, the vice-presidents of a company may hold a quarterly meeting to discuss the upcoming quarter.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create an account