What Are Channels Of Communication? (Importance And Types)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

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Communication is essential in the workplace because it conveys information to different departments and establishes relationships. Using the right channel to communicate your messages allows you to convey information so that recipients can accurately interpret it. Learning about various communication channels can help you choose the right one for sending or conveying your message. In this article, we answer “What are channels of communication?”, explore its importance, understand commonly used communication channels and discover tips for choosing them.

What are channels of communication?

The answer to the question, “What are channels of communication?” is that these are methods that an employee uses in the workplace to communicate and convey information to managers, stakeholders and colleagues. Using such channels, a business can conduct formal or informal communication. Implementing proper communication channels in an organisation is essential for keeping the employees engaged, productive and aligned with the business goals.

Communication depends upon both non-verbal and verbal cues. In a workplace, a large portion of communication is non-verbal, making specific channels more effective than others. Technology provides many communication mediums to choose from and allows you to connect to others in different countries and share information anywhere. When an organisation lacks a proper communication medium, it becomes challenging to drive workplace innovation.

Related: How To Overcome Communication Barriers: Benefits And Tips

Why are channels of communication important?

Effective communication builds and maintains a long-lasting relationship across an organisation. Communication channels are essential in the workplace because they help to increase workplace productivity and creativity. Here are some reasons these channels are essential:

  • Achieves organisational alignment: With a proper communication medium, it becomes easy for leaders and managers to align employees with shared core values, purposes, vision and mission of the company.

  • Makes communication more efficient: Effective communication is essential for ensuring higher output for minimal input. These channels ensure delivering accurate information.

  • Increases employee productivity and engagement: In a workplace, employees feel more motivated when leaders and managers keep them up-to-date with the latest company updates. Sharing information on sales quota, production cost and employee goals become easier with an effective communication channel.

  • Reduces employee turnover: When managers and leaders constantly communicate and update employees about the latest updates, it helps in reducing employee turnover.

  • Improves workplace safety: An effective communication channel is essential for organisations where employees work in a dangerous environment. It keeps employees aware of the changing workplace risks.

  • Makes remote work efficient: Implementing a robust communication channel can make remote work more efficient. It can motivate employees and improve their performance.

  • Improves inter-departmental collaboration: Different departments in an organisation cannot work in silos because collaboration is necessary to deliver outstanding results. Companies that support honest and transparent communication are usually more efficient than others.

  • Drives innovation: Effective communication channels can encourage you to share your expertise with others. Also, it ensures that teams can focus on workplace innovations.

6 channels of communication

Here are six channels of communication that an organisation can use:

In-person or face-to-face communication

In-person conversations are some common and effective business communication channels. It involves direct communication between two or more people who are in conversation. In-person communication uses both verbal and non-verbal expressions to communicate a message. This can help in improving the efficacy and quality of conversations. Also, the choice of words can affect communication. For instance, if the speaker uses words or phrases unfamiliar to the listener, it results in miscommunication.

Another essential element of face-to-face communication is the tone of your voice. When you speak face-to-face with others, your body language, tone of voice and vocabulary make the conversation clear and ensure you deliver the intended message. When using in-person or face-to-face communication channels, it becomes easier to convey the tone of the conversation. Often, digital and written communication lacks the tone that can result in confusion.

Related: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)


An email is one of the most popular written communication channels that send information using textual messages. It is an excellent channel for sending or receiving attachments and contacting a large group of people. A short email can convey information quickly and takes only a few minutes to write. Another advantage of using email is that it allows you to record conversations or files shared. Organisations use the email communication channel to share essential workplace documents and provide employees with regular company updates.

A company can send a quick note to a particular employee or send mass emails announcing upcoming updates using an email. This helps everyone in the organisation track an ongoing company conversation. An email is an essential and longstanding communication channel for sending urgent messages to team members and sharing company-wide communication with employees. It is a direct channel to keep employees informed.

Related: How To Write A Formal Email (With Steps And Example)


Formal business documents are another widely used written communication channel. Some documents commonly used for internal communication are:

  • office circulars

  • office orders

  • HR documents

  • company policy documents

  • resumes

  • legal documents

  • applications

  • suggestions

These documents provide a sense of authority and contain essential official information. For instance, during the onboarding process, the HR department provides an employee handbook that contains details about the organisation's history, procedures, missions, policies, values and employee benefits. This helps communicate the organisation's expectations and provides written proof. Also, documents can contain both images and text to deliver the right message to the recipient.

Phone calls

A phone call is a verbal communication channel that helps communicate urgent issues and get answers quickly. Using a phone call, you can bring clarity in communication and convey information across long distances. Conference calls can allow multiple people to participate and give their viewpoints. Though these calls lack non-verbal cues like tone and body language, it is an easy-to-use communication channel.

Today, companies widely use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calling apps that allow you to call over the internet rather than spend on expensive hardware. It is an affordable solution for fostering a communication culture in an organisation.

Video conference

A video conference is a verbal communication channel where two or more people engage in a live audio-visual call. This channel allows communication between people who work in different locations. It is much like in-person or face-to-face communication. This allows for a more personal interaction than phone or emails. Most video conferencing tools provide an option for call recording that allows you to review calls and share files.

Instant messaging apps

The instant messaging app is a digital and written communication channel commonly used by organisations for internal communication. These messaging apps provide a faster and more efficient way for organisations to communicate. Most of these messaging apps archive the conversations that allow users to refer to previous chat histories. A messaging app has a layout and style similar to personal messaging platforms. You can converse with multiple participants in multiple variations using a messaging app. It means that different employees can discuss topics together or conduct a quick one-to-one session with each other.

Tips for choosing the communication channel

Here are some tips to consider when choosing a communication channel:


Some communication channels are more formal than others. Emails are informal or semi-formal, while a business letter is a formal means of communication. When you create a business letter, you take additional effort to write it. Other communication channels may not require such efforts. Instant messaging apps are a highly informal means of communication. Having a conversation with a colleague during a break is an example of informal communication but scheduling a face-to-face meeting with managers or colleagues is more formal.


Choose a medium based on the urgency of the message and how your audience might receive and respond. When trying to send an urgent message, avoid written communication channels. For instance, if you are trying to communicate with a manager outside office hours, they are more likely to respond to instant chat messages or phone calls over an email.


Before choosing a communication channel, understand the purpose of the message. For instance, when giving training to new hires, you might prefer face-to-face meetings or video conferencing over sending training material over an email. Face-to-face communication provides others with an immediate opportunity to ask questions. You can email the manager or use a business letter to submit a leave application when applying for leave.


Before choosing a communication channel, know the relationship with the message recipient. For instance, the communication channel for a manager might differ from the channel used to contact a colleague. Since every person has a unique relationship with you, adapting to various communication channels allows you to communicate effectively.

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