6 junio, 2024

Individual communication: characteristics, types, examples

The individual communication It is a process of exchanging information between two people, face to face and without the mediation of any interlocutor. It is the most basic type of communication that exists, and in fact it is at the base of practically all the other forms of transmission of messages that we can find.

Despite being one of the simplest information exchange processes that we can find, individual communication can be studied from different points of view and is made up of several related phenomena. Thus, within it we can find verbal and non-verbal communication, and conscious and subconscious processes.

Understanding individual communication processes is essential, since doing so allows us to better understand all other situations in which we transmit messages to one or more interlocutors. Thus, the basis of processes such as group or collective communication remains the same as that of the individual.

Because of this, today we know a lot about individual communication processes, their components and their most important characteristics. In this article we will study the most important aspects of this method of information transmission.


Characteristics of individual communication

– Involves only one sender and one receiver

Most of the types of communication that exist involve several people, being able to find some processes that occur in groups, others that go from a single sender to a large number of receivers, and other combinations of all kinds. On the contrary, in individual communication we only find a sender and a receiver.

This is not to say that there are no variations in the process. For example, in some cases the sender is always the same, and the receiver is limited to listening to the message. On other occasions both take turns, which leads to a reciprocal and more interactive communication process.

– It is made up of several elements

The fact that individual communication only involves two people does not mean that it is a simple phenomenon. On the contrary, it includes a large number of different processes and components, which must be studied in depth in order to understand what happens when it appears.

Thus, in addition to the most basic components such as the sender and the receiver, we can study in depth all the other elements that make up this type of communication.

On the one hand, the message in individual communication is usually very different from those transmitted in other contexts. When we are alone with a person it is much easier to be honest or let ourselves be carried away by our emotions.

In this sense, the context shared by the sender and receiver also has much more influence in individual communication processes than in other alternatives. Depending on the relationship you have, the way you behave and the types of messages that can be conveyed will change greatly.

For example, two people who know each other well will be able to make references that only they understand and will use much more idioms and body language to communicate with each other. Conversely, two strangers will have to be much more literal in order to properly convey information to each other.


Not all individual communication processes work in the same way. There are many variables that can influence the exchange of information between two people, such as the type of relationship they have, the hierarchy of each one of them, their preferred communication style or the common context they share.

Individual communication is one of the most studied classes within this field, so we can find a multitude of theories about it. Next we will see what are the most common types of one-on-one communication that exist.

– verbal vs. non verbal

When we think of a communication process, we usually imagine two or more people talking. However, not all information exchanges need to take place in such an explicit way, using spoken language. Other elements, such as proxemia or gestures, can also be considered forms of communication.

Experts in this field consider that the information transmitted verbally represents a very small percentage of all that we exchange in a face-to-face conversation. Body language, tone of voice, gestures and the like account for approximately 80% of all our messages.

– Conscious vs. unconscious

In the same way that we do not always have to transmit information to each other in a spoken way, not in all contexts in which communication occurs does it appear consciously. In fact, on many occasions we send messages to other people without realizing it.

Experts believe that it is not possible for two people to be in the same room without communicating in some way. When we are not consciously exchanging messages, our brains are constantly processing data, which is considered a type of subconscious communication.

– Reciprocal vs. unilateral

In some individual communication scenarios, one of the participants is in charge of continuously transmitting information, in such a way that the roles of sender and receiver always remain fixed and are not reversed. In others, on the contrary, the roles are exchanged from time to time depending on who takes the role of sender.

This is the main difference between reciprocal and one-sided individual communication. Both types can appear in completely different contexts, and have quite different characteristics.

– Virtual vs. pressessential

The last classification to appear is the one that divides individual communication processes according to whether they occur in person or through communication technologies. With the advent of social networks and instant messaging services, new ways of transmitting information one to one have appeared.


Finally we will see several examples of situations in which individual communication occurs.

– A boss talking to his employee to congratulate him on his work.

– A woman telling her partner how much she appreciates him.

– Two friends talking on the phone to tell each other the news that have appeared in their lives.


“Individual communication”in: Study. Retrieved on: March 11, 2020 from Study: study.com. «The main types of communication» in: Self-help Resources. Retrieved on: March 11, 2020 from Self-Help Resources: recursosdeautoayuda.com. “Group vs. Individual Communication” in: Brain Mass. Retrieved on: March 11, 2020 from Brain Mass: brainmass.com. «33 types of communication and their characteristics»in: Nagore García Sanz. Retrieved on: March 11, 2020 from Nagore García Sanz: nagoregarciasanz.com. «The 35 types of communication and their characteristics»in: Marketing & Web. Retrieved on: March 11, 2020 from Marketing & Web: marketingandweb.es.

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