3 Types of Human Communication

Are we truly communicating? Are you engaging people?

Humans are not at their best when sending and receiving messages that are either delayed or blindly broadcast into “the stream”, desperately hoping someone will see it.

It is inefficient, impersonal, and too easy to lose, ignore, or forget in an Attention Era where each day means more new signals.

It will kill our society.

How are you doing business?  How are you leading people?

Here are three ways we can choose to communicate.  As the list progresses, communication degrades and becomes less effective.


Concurrent Communication

  • Personal Meeting
  • Skype / FaceTime / Google Hangout
  • Phone
  • Instant Message Conversation


Deferred Communication

  • Personal YouTube message
  • Voicemail
  • Text Message
  • Email
  • Facebook Message
  • Social Mentions (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.)
  • Comment
  • Twitter DM
  • Mail
  • Telegraph


Broadcast Communication

  • Bullhorn yelling on corner
  • Sandwich boards
  • TV Commercial / Online Video Ad
  • YouTube Video
  • Radio
  • Pins on Pinterest
  • Billboards
  • Twitter Update
  • Facebook Update
  • Social Check-ins
  • Smoke Signals


If people are really your people, you need to talk.  Real friends don’t spend years trading delayed snippets of communication with each other.

Communication is more than words. True engagement is harder than you think.

Engage in real communication tonight,


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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

16 comments on “3 Types of Human Communication”

  1. I find it amazing how much I am willing to put up with just to get some sort of communication! I think we all have to decide what we need and  get really good at communicating that need or move on. On the other hand I was thinking this morning of what a blessing even being connected is! We don’t live in the days when if you lived in a secluded area your fate was keeping company with family, hired hands and cows! LOL!

    1. Betsy, I used to be in the camp of “thankful” for new connections.  However, I’m watching people give up their close connections to have a bunch more loose low-quality connections.

      I think poor communication is the cause.  

      What’s your take on that?

  2. We gotta do a Google+ Hangout sometime, buddy. Great sharing the stream with you, but I agree…more rewarding when take that relationship to the next level of trust and engagement.

  3. Great points, Aaron. It’s good to go low-tech sometimes and remember the power of personal interaction to heal and soothe. Hard to do that when the conversation goes only one way. 

    Happy to report I just spent an hour on the phone with my eldest daughter, and will be meeting my estranged brother whom I haven’t seen for over ten years this Sunday when I travel to Texas. Its all good.

  4. Hahaha…I’m going with smoke signals and bullhorn yelling on the corner…more effective and reaches a larger audience ;-)  Here’s what I love about engaging in social media….you get to “talk” to so many amazing people that you have connected with….Here’s what I don’t love about engaging in social media….you don’t get to TALK to the amazing people that you have connected with IRL.  I have SO many dear and wonderful friends that I have made online by engaging in some of the above mentioned ways…but I don’t always get to do my favorite kind of engagement (person to person IRL) with most of these people (unfortunately) by virtue of our geographic limitations.
    ” Real friends don’t spend years trading delayed snippets of communication with each other.”  Exactly!!!!

  5. I agree with your basic premise but sometimes I really like Deferred Communication. It allows me to communicate on my time w.o. worry or distraction. I LIVED on the phone in my former showbiz career and ever since leaving I’ve enjoyed the freedom of all the other forms of communication. 

    1. Bruce, I’m right there with you brother.  The problem is that I believe it’s causing deep problems within families, friendships, and organizations.  Easy, yes!  Best, I’m not so sure.

  6. I think too many people these days hide behind their computers and just have online friends so they don’t have to interact face to face like real human beings. They totally lack social skills!

  7. I found your post while doing research for a communication paper. I have to say that as a communication studies major it really frustrates me. Your first question is valid and is posed in many areas of communication studies- i.e. are the words and symbols I use actually transferring the meaning from me to you? However, from there I see your post fall apart. I think you are confusing “human communication” with types of media messaging. There isn’t a “concurrent communication” style- even face to face communication is asynchronous, not synchronous. Deferred and broadcast communication are actually the same, I believe you are just separating them by their response mechanism. Paul Watzlawick proposed a theory that stated simply is “One cannot not communicate”, I’ll agree that human’s are the best at it- we send mixed signals, use both verbal & nonverbal, and tone and inflection play a role in how the message is interpreted. But in the end it will not kill our society. There has never been a time in human history for humans to interact with each other at the scale we have now. Message and symbol transfer may degrade- but that can be due to a number of factors. But I believe it’s wrong to thing that true communication is reliant on feedback from the sender.

    1. Mike, thanks for taking the time to provide an analysis of my post.  I always enjoy a  good critique.

      Here’s my response:
      I don’t really write for the Ph.D folks that teach your classes, but rather for people who are in the field living it.  I write for people who do see a difference in communication styles.I honestly don’t care if it’s in your textbooks or not, when I’m talking to someone and I see or hear their reactions at the same time, that’s different than sending a tweet into cyberspace.  

      If someone is giving feedback while someone is talking, that would be concurrent communication.  We are both communicating at the same time, right?  Just because I gave it a name that isn’t in your book doesn’t mean I’m wrong.  That’s a very narrow way to approach people you don’t know.
      Also, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that a voicemail is broadcast…

      If you’re looking for more non-academic thoughts on communication, I’d love to hear your take on this piece too:


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