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Basics of Communication

by Ron Kurtus (updated 6 June 2022)

Communication is the exchange of information between entities, such as people, animals or even machines.

One party sends out information that the other senses, processes, and interprets. A response may be given, resulting in a back-and-forth communication.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Sending out information

Humans, animals and machines communicate by transmitting or sending out sound, visual, chemical, or mechanical signals.


Humans can send out information to another through verbal signals and visible gestures. They may also give signals through physical contact.

There are other, subtle methods of sending information, which may be somewhat involuntary, such as emitting odors. Some people believe that humans can even send out mental signals.

Humans have also invented writing and drawing, which are special ways of presenting visible information.


Animals send out auditory signals, make visible gestures and emit odors in order to communicate with others. They can also send information to their own species and other animals through physical or mechanical means.

For example, monkeys have sounds that indicate danger to the group, and dogs bark to ward off intruders. A cat will arch its back to tell others it is ready to fight. Smells are very vital in initiating mating. A skunk's coloring is a warning to other animals to stay away.


Computers and machines can send out electrical, electro-magnetic or mechanical signals that include encoded information. Sound is considered a mechanical signal. Machines are inventions that humans created to assist in communicating between each other.

Sensing and processing

Animals, humans and machines must have sensors to receive signals sent from another entity. Those signals are then sent from the sensor or detector to the brain or computer for processing and filtering.

In the case of more complex communication, the processor must be able to understand the "language" of the signal.

Unwanted noise and other signal may be filtered out.

(See Succeed by Using Your Senses for more information.)

Interpretation and response

Signals that an entity receives and processes are then interpreted according to a number of factors. The interpretation will help to determine the type of response given, which can start the process over again.


Humans will converse and communicate. Sometimes misinterpretation of what was communicated can result in misunderstandings.


Animals send signals back and forth and seem to be able to communicate fairly well. Communication between animals and humans is very rudimentary.


Machines can communicate between each other to perform tasks without the intervention of humans. They also are used to enhance the ability of humans in communicating with each other. The telephone is a good example of this.


People, animals and machines communicate between each other in various combinations. Communication is the exchange of information between these entities. One sends out some information that another senses, processes and interprets. Then the second responds in some manner, which the first senses, processes and interprets.

Communicate your skills

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Four Principles of Interpersonal Communication

Communication Resources


(Notice: The School for Champions may earn commissions from book purchases)

Top-rated books on Animal Communication

Top-rated books on Interpersonal Communication

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