The Nature of communication can be explained by the following characteristics of communication:
Two-way process: Communication can take place only when there are at least two persons. One person has to convey some message and another has to receive it. The receiver, however, need not necessarily be an individual. Information may be conveyed to a group of persons at a time. For example, in classroom, the teacher conveys information to a group of students. If the receiver needs any clarification, he can ask the sender of message immediately in the case of face to face of telephonic conversation. Communication may also be sent by means of letters, circulars etc. If a letter is sent, the receiver may respond to it either by way of a reply letter or as per the mode desired by him or by the sender.
Knowledge of language: For communication to be successful, the receiver should first of all understand the message. For this, the sender must speak in a language that is known to the receiver. For example, if the receiver cannot understand English and the sender of message conveys his ideas in English, the communication will be a failure.
Meeting of minds necessary: The receiver must understand the message in the way the sender wants him to understand. For this consensus is required. Consensus is nothing but identity of minds. If weekly target announced by a supervisor is misunderstood by a worker as monthly target, there is lack of consensus. Inattention, poor vocabulary, faulty pronunciation etc., may result in lack of consensus.
The message must have substance: The message has substance only if the receiver shows interest in the subject matter. In other words, the sender of message must have something really worthwhile for the receiver. For example, If certain botanical names are explained to a student learning commerce, he may not show any interest.
Communication may be made through gestures as well: Communication need not necessarily be made orally or in writing. Certain gestures or actions may also convey one’s willingness or understanding of a given problem. Nodding of heads, rolling of eyes, movement of lips etc., are some of the gestures normally used to convey certain ideas.
Communication is all-pervasive: Communication is Omni=present. It is found in all levels of management. The top management conveys information to the middles management and vice versa. Similarly, the middle management conveys information to the supervisory staff and vice versa. There is flow of communication in all directions in a workplace.
Communication is a continuous process: In any workplace someone will be conveying or receiving some information or the other always. Sharing or exchanging information is an on going activity. As long as there is work – personal, official or unofficial, there will be communication.
Communication may be formal or informal: Formal communication follows the hierarchy – the official channel established. For example, if a worker wants to convey any information to the production manager, he can do only through the foreman. He cannot bypass the foreman and have direct contact with the production manager. Informal communication does not follow the official channel. It allows any individual to convey information to anybody else freely without having to bother about the hierarchy.