Types of Communication: Interpersonal, Non-Verbal, Written & Oral

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Organizational Communication

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

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:43 Four Types of Communication
  • 1:10 Interpersonal Communication
  • 3:17 Nonverbal Communication
  • 4:52 Written Communication
  • 6:06 Oral Communication
  • 7:05 Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

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

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sherri Hartzell

Sherri has taught college business and communication courses. She also holds three degrees including communications, business, educational leadership/technology.

This lesson distinguishes between the various methods of communication used by managers, including interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, written communication and oral communication.

Spice is the Variety of Life

It's almost dinnertime, and your in-laws are in town for the evening. You desperately want to impress them with your cooking skills and have spent countless hours researching the perfect meal to prepare for them. You have chosen a dish that is straight from their ethnic heritage, and you know that you have to get the spices right, choosing the right blend and using them at the most optimal time to enhance the flavor of your dish. After much consideration as to what you need to do and the best way to do it, you manage to pull it off perfectly!

Communication, like spices, comes in a variety of types. While having a variety is nice, it is important to know which one to use and at what time to maximize your success, much like preparing the meal for the in-laws. Let's take a look at the four most common types of communication used by managers, including interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, written communication and oral communication.

Interpersonal Communication

One of the most important - if not the most important - forms of communication a manager will engage in on a daily basis is interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication can be described in a variety of ways, but when we examine what it means in the context of management, we can define interpersonal communication as communication between a small group of individuals, typically in a face-to-face setting, where participants engage in a minimally restricted dialogue with each other.

The reason I say it is 'minimally restricted' is because individuals who engage in interpersonal communication share some level of familiarity with each other, making them more likely to self-disclose information, or provide more intimate details than one would with a stranger, for example.

Interpersonal communication, essentially, breaks down barriers which people put up to protect themselves. You allow yourself to become vulnerable by putting yourself out there.

Managers who engage in interpersonal communication with their subordinates demonstrate that they not only care about the organization, especially one that uses teams, but also care about their employees. Taking the time to get to know who your employees are will make them feel valued. This is not to say that every employee will want to get to know you on a more personal level but it at least tells them that you would like to. The more valued the employee feels, the fewer barriers they feel they need to build around them and the more easily information flows. As barriers come down, relationships are formed that create value within the organization, job satisfaction increases, and the workplace becomes a place where everybody likes to be.

It is equally important for a manager to communicate interpersonally with upper management, as well. Since managers serve as a gatekeeper of information between upper management and subordinates, an effective manager understands their role in keeping the lines of communication open. When organizational information fails to reach its intended recipient, the entire organization can suffer.

Nonverbal Communication

Did you know that the majority of what you communicate to people on a daily basis is done without words at all? This is also true for managers. Put simply, nonverbal communication is anything besides words, such as gestures, actions, facial expressions, body language and other aspects of your physical appearance, that, when seen, communicate something. I am sure that you've heard the saying 'it is not what you say, but how you say it' or perhaps 'actions speak louder than words.' Managers send, receive and interpret nonverbal messages the same way they would oral or written communication.

Still, understanding the significance of nonverbal communication can be troublesome for managers because it is such a normal part of any managerial action. Our nonverbal communication is as automatic as breathing because we do it without thinking about it most of the time. Even though nonverbal communication accompanies oral communication as an extension of a particular message, the two do not always align. Because nonverbal communication is often used without consideration, inconsistencies between oral communication and nonverbal communication can occur. Effective managers understand and are aware of their nonverbal communication, ensuring consistency between their spoken communication and their nonverbal communication.

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

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 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? Study.com 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 risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account