7.5  Types of communication

7.5.1  One-way communication

If the flow of information from the sender to the receiver is one-way the communication is dominated by the sender’s knowledge and information is poured out towards the receiver (Figure 7.6). This model does not consider feedback and interaction with the sender (look at the principles in Box 7.3 again). A familiar example of this model is the lecture method used in a classroom, where the teacher stands at the front of the class and lectures on a subject without any interaction or activities (Figure 7.7). Unless mechanisms are put in place to get feedback from the audience, many mass media communication methods are one-way.

A diagram representing one way communication.
Figure 7.6   One-way communication.
A male health worker giving a lecture stands in front of the blackboard.
Figure 7.7  This male health worker is giving a lecture about HIV/AIDS. (Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia/Indrias Getachew)
  • One-way communication isn’t in itself wrong and there times when it is very useful — as Table 7.1 illustrates. Think of a situation when one-way communication is used effectively.

  • This model is commonly used in awareness creation. One-way communication is best used by organisations when the message is simple and needs to be communicated quickly, for example if an organisation wants people to be aware of the date and time of a public meeting.

Table 7.1  Advantages and disadvantages of one-way communication


●  Faster

●  Orderly

●  Learning of facts is authoritative

●  Little audience participation

●  No feedback

●  Does not influence behaviour

7.5.2  Two-way communication