There are three major methods of communication, viz., (a) oral communication, (b) written communication, (c) non-verbal communication.
(a) Oral Communication:
The most prevalent form of communication in institutions is oral. Oral communication takes place everywhere in informal conversations, during staff-meetings, in formal speeches and so on.
It is more effective than written communication in conveying feelings, attitudes and reactions. This form of communication is more powerful because it not only includes speaker’s words but also includes the changes in tone, pitch, speed and volume.
Oral communications provide opportunities for immediate response, help in providing/receiving explanations and clarifications.
This mode of communication is useful when the information to be conveyed is short, the number of subordinate’s small, the geographical distance between the sender and the receiver is short or the time available for communication is short. This is a natural form of communication during emergency situations.
The difficulties associated with oral communications are many:
(i) The real meaning of information conveyed through tone and gestures may not match the spoken words;
(ii) The receivers’ attention and perceptions are guided by their self-interest;
(iii) The receivers’ understanding depends on their attitudes and emotions; and
(iv) Receivers interpret oral messages in the context of previous communications and possibly the reactions of other receivers.
The tone of the oral communications in an educational institution is most often set by the principal of institution.
(b) Written Communication:
Typically educational institutions produce a great deal of written communication of many kinds including letters, circulars, notices, contracts, reports, memos, work orders, time-tables, instruction manuals, examination results, admission forms and so on. Thus, it constitutes the greatest medium for conveying information.
Written communication can be transmitted to numerous persons at a time. When the receivers are placed distantly from the sender or where the content of communication is lengthy and meant for a large number of persons, the written mode of communication is used.
It is used for record and reference for future. It should be drafted clearly, simply, accurately and convincingly.
(c) Non-verbal Communication:
Non-verbal communications include all the elements associated with human communications that are not expressed orally or in writing. These include physical movements and facial expressions, both conscious and unconscious.
For example, excitement, joy, surprise, startle, anger, fear, distress, shame, anguish, humiliation, distrust, contempt, disgust and so on. Most of these emotions can be expressed through one’s eyes and facial movements.
Physical movements and “body language” are also highly expressive human elements. Body language includes both actual movement and body positions during communications.
For example, a hand-shake, making eye contact, a pat on the back, sitting on the edge of a chair, sitting with folded arms, frequently looking at the watch all indicate willingness or otherwise of the people involved in communication.
The distance between the sender and the receiver i.e., how far they stand from each other, also suggests something about the relationship between the two. Distance may reflect intimacy or status. If a physical object like a table stands between individuals, an authority relationship is heightened.