We explain what they are and what are the communication channels. In addition, how they are classified, what they are for and when they are efficient.
What are the communication channels?
A communication channel is the physical medium through which a communicative act is carried out , that is, it serves to exchange information between a sender and one or more receivers.
The presence and availability of this specific environment is only one of the essential elements to the communication circuit is met so effective . It is extremely important, since every act of communication requires the transmission of information through a specific physical element.
For example, right now, the information contained in this text is reaching its readers after it has been transmitted on a computer network , using satellite signals (microwaves), fiber optic cables or radio broadcasts (WiFi). These are examples of communication channels.
However, a frequent use of this term, in the corporate world, refers to the ways available to customers of a business in their communication with those who conduct it: email , phone numbers, message boxes, etc.
In addition to the channel, other essential elements for the communicative act are the code, the sender, the receiver and the message.
Types of communication channels
Communication channels can be, in broad strokes, of two types:
- Personal . Those in which communication occurs directly with a receiver, usually one to one, although it may well be one to several. For example, when talking to someone face to face, our receiver listens to us directly, but there could be two recipients in the same situation.
- Mass . Those that allow the same broadcaster to reach a multitude of receivers at the same time, either directly or deferredly, such as mass media: radio, television, written press, etc.
Another classification of communication channels distinguishes between unidirectional and bidirectional channels , that is, if the sender is always a sender and does not assign the turn to the receiver or receivers (such as radio, for example), or if it is a channel reciprocal communicative, which allows the recipients to be emitters also alternately (such as the telephone).
What are the communication channels for?
As said before, the communication channels are the physical support of the communicative act, its material part. Without them it would be impossible to transmit information . This becomes evident when a communicative channel is indisposed, for example, as occurs when the telephone line is broken and our call is badly heard.
Efficiency of communication channels
A communication channel is more or less efficient , depending on its ability to transmit information reliably , that is, without being lost or adulterated along the way. A simple way to understand this is to remember that game in which the participants are placed in a wheel, and at some point in it a message starts, telling someone in the ear.
That person will say it to the ear the next and so on, until they turn around, without being allowed to repeat or clarify what has been said. Once the message has arrived at the last of the wheel, it must say it out loud, and it will be verified how much has been lost from the original message. That will be an indicator of channel efficiency.
What are the channels of communication?
There are many possible channels of communication. Next, we will detail some examples:
- The sound waves transmitted through the air , allowing the voice to reach from our voice device, to the ears of our interlocutor in a conversation.
- The telephone pulses , with which the phones of yesteryear operated, or the microwaves with which our cell phones operate, allowing the sound of our voice to be transported from our terminal to that of the receiver and vice versa.
- The radio waves , emitted by a radio station somewhere in our country, and received by a receiving device capable of decoding them and converting them into sound waves that, through the air, reach our ears.
- The fiber optics , where our computers connected to Internet send and receive computer signals as electrical pulses over long distances back and forth.
- The paper , in the case of written messages , be it a love letter, a news item in the newspaper or a public message that warns that a device is broken and we should not use it.