What is Communication? The Definition of Communication

A gentleman orders a coffee in a crowded cafe. The young woman in line behind him shoots a withering look at the rambunctious toddler tugging on her coat. From the radio blares an advertisement for a one-day sale at the mall. At a nearby table, a deaf couple signs to each other, while a teenager in the corner busily texts a friend on his cell phone. These situations all have one thing in common. They all involve communication.

Communication is the act of conveying information for the purpose of creating a shared understanding. It’s something that humans do every day. The word “communication” comes from the Latin “communis,” meaning “to share,” and includes verbal, non-verbal and electronic means of human interaction. Scholars who study communication analyze the development of communication skills in humans and theorize about how communication can be made more effective.

Humans convey information through a variety of methods: speaking, telephones, email, blogs, TV, art, hand gestures, facial expressions, body language and even social contexts. Communication can occur instantaneously in closed, intimate settings or over great periods of time in large public forums, like the Internet. However, all forms of communication require the same basic elements: a speaker or sender of information, a message, and an audience or recipient. The sender and recipient must also share a common language or means of understanding each other for communication to be successful. As such, a study of communication often examines the development and structure of language, including the mathematical languages used in computer programming.

The act of communicating draws on several interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. These include speaking, listening, observing, questioning, processing, analyzing and evaluating. Recipients of a message must be able to identify the sender’s intent, take into account the message’s context, resolve any misunderstandings, accurately decode the information and decide how to act on it. Such skills are essential to learning, forming healthy relationships, creating a sense of community and achieving success in the workplace.

As a field of study, communication spans a broad, rich array of subjects, including sociology, psychology, philosophy, political science, linguistics, history, literature, criticism and rhetoric. Although much of the field’s subject matter is theoretical in nature, communication studies have proven applicable to business, film, theater, composition, advertising, education, foreign policy and computer science.

In today’s globalized, media-driven world, communication studies have become more relevant and exciting than ever. Web developers seek new, inventive ways to draw Internet users to their websites. Public policy writers debate society’s most pressing issues. Through linguistics, computer scientists are developing programming languages that may someday allow humans to interact directly with computers. Students who earn degrees in communication often hold highly influential positions as journalists, editors, university professors, public relations officers, marketing consultants, speech writers, filmmakers, motivational speakers and political campaign managers. To communicate is to shape the world.

Interested in studying communication? Learn more about the communication major here.

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29 Responses to “What is Communication? The Definition of Communication”

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  1. Ginibo.o. emmanuella says:

    Mass communication is a two way method. It involves the source and the receiver and there must be feedback to show that communication is successful.

    • Kussi wiafe says:

      Communication is the transmission of information from one source to the other where feedback is given.

  2. azad says:

    Communication is a way to transmit an idea, message, opinion, information, or facts to create a meaningful picture.

  3. beece says:

    Communication is an act of interaction between two people…

    • Poochie says:

      That is right….! I got “communication” for home work and i am trying to find more about it can you give more specific definition! Please and thank you!

  4. Jamesmary says:

    Communication is the encoding, decoding and feedback of information through various media such as: radio, written letters, verbal or spoken, non verbal…….

  5. okonkwo okwunna arinze says:

    communication is the means by which two or more people interact, discuss, negotiate and exchange information.

  6. Emmanuel says:

    Communication is the process of using verbal and nonverbal cues to transact mutually understood meanings between two or more people within a particular context and environment.

  7. navdha says:

    communication is the exchange of ideas,opinions or facts etc between two or more than two persons.

  8. BENSON says:

    Communication is the process of exachanging information,ideas,knowledge ect,through a medium,so that the information or idear or knowledge is understood by everyone concerned.

  9. Emmanuel Evans says:

    Communication is the way of sharing ideas, thought and information by the use of symbol.

  10. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however
    I to find this topic to be actually something that I think I might by no means understand.
    It sort of feels too complicated and very large for me.
    I am having a look ahead in your next submit, I’ll try to get the cling of it!

  11. Bolu ayinde says:

    Communication is an act of conveying information for the purpose of a shared understanding

  12. Salisu A. Sadiq says:

    Communication is a bridge which peoples use to cross the river of mis-understanding between one and another regardless with their position, be it written, unwritten, verbal, jesters, symbols, etc.

  13. Sammy says:

    Communication is the transfer of information from one/more persons to the other and those at the receiving end understands it.

  14. Ayembilla Jehoiachin says:

    It the activity of senting effective messages from one person to another which have mutual understanding or meaning.

  15. Emmanuel says:

    Communication is the process of mutual sharing of information and emotion between a source and a receiver for mutual understanding.

  16. Rafiatu nutu says:

    Communication is the exchange of information between two or more persons for the purpose of bringing about common understanding.

  17. jenny says:

    communication is nothing but exchange of information,facts,emotions and opinions………..
    It can be done by 10 different ways.

    Regards, jenny.

  18. adebayo eunice says:

    communication is a way of understanding messages between two entities

  19. ismail says:

    communication connects all of the parts of world

  20. virginie says:

    Never we forget or underestimate the relevance of language in communication. Those involved in communicating must understand each other’s language, otherwise there’s no communication at all, letall the skills and techniques be gathered. Language is powerful.

  21. Communication is the transmission or ideas or thought from one person to another in a way that is mutually understandable

  22. Okoh S Adama says:

    Communication is a means of passing an information signal from source (sender) to a recipient (receiver) in such a way that the message is understood.

  23. NAFNICE says:

    Communication is an act of sending and receiving a message from one particular place to another.

  24. Carlos V Mutambara says:

    comm is process of expressing ideas, feelings, and information from sender to reciever

  25. Communication is transfering of information from one or more people to another to ensure understanding at the recieving end.

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