What are the functions of communication? Perhaps, most of you have answered that we communicate to express our desires, goals, and needs. That is the utilitarian function of communication. Communication serves many other functions:
1. Informative Function
We want to inform other people of what we know—facts, information, and knowledge. In school, most of our speaking activities are directed to get and give information to develop or improve our knowledge and skills and to imbibe good values. In social organizations, information is shared to guide people on the processes and procedures necessary to operate efficiently and effectively.
2. Instructive Function
Many times, older people, people who hold important information, and those in the higher rank communicate to instruct people on what to do, when and where to do them, and on why and how to do them.
3. Persuasive Function
You may find yourself wanting to influence the opinion of others to believe and accept your stand or claim on an issue or a problem; so you think of strategies on how to persuade them to change their perspectives or opinion and to decide accordingly.
4. Motivation Function
We communicate to entice and direct people to act and reach their objectives or goals in life. In the process, we use positive language to make them realize that their actions lead them to something beneficial for their being.
5. Aesthetic Function
We use communication for pleasure and enjoyment.
6. Therapeutic Function or Emotional Expression
Communication is curative and serves to maintain good health. Have you found yourself talking to a friend about your personal problems? Have you consulted your teacher about your academic standing? Sometimes, talking to a person does not mean asking for his/her help; we talk to another person merely to vent our feelings. After the talk, we find ourselves in a much better condition to think over matters that trouble us.
People use communication to maintain control over other people’s attitude and behavior. Your parents use it to guide, inspire, or reprimand you when you seem to lose control over your schedule, studies, and relationships, among others. In school, your teachers and the administrators use communication to direct your efforts to positive channels in order to learn new skills, gain more knowledge, develop competencies, and imbibe good values. In the workplace, leaders and managers use communication to maintain control over their employees and their work environment, or to encourage them in their work. The media use communication to urge the public to patronize a new product or service, to support an advocacy or rally against a cause, or even to remove government officials from office.
8. Social Interaction
Communication helps us start, maintain, regulate, or even end relationships with other people. We usually establish a positive climate at home, in school, and in the workplace by greeting the people around us and by exchanging pleasantries with them. We also show how we welcome new classmates or col-leagues by smiling at them and conversing with them about any topic with the intention of getting to know each other and to feel that “we belong.” Likewise, we avoid communicating with a person when our relationship with him/her turns sour. Our nonverbal language tells the other person that we are using communication in order to stop communicating with him/her.
Moreover, communication helps us understand not only the people around us but also ourselves. It helps us examine what we know about ourselves as people react to what we say and do. We also understand other people’s attitude and behavior by observing their actions and listening to their opinions, beliefs, preferences, and feelings. Most relationships are nourished and deepened when the communicators willingly share their thoughts, ideas, and feelings with others leading them to examine themselves in order to assimilate and accommodate differences in perspectives. Such efforts lead to more meaningful relationships.
In business, communication serves three important functions: to inform, to persuade, and to promote goodwill with the people inside the organization (employees, staff, and leaders) and with the people outside of the organization—their clients or customers.