What Are the Functions of Communication?

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The primary functions of communication are to persuade people, motivate them to purchase certain products and to inform and educate them. To be successful, companies strive to use all of the functions of communication when promoting their products. Clear and effective communication takes place within organizations and extends to the public too, as companies try to deliver a targeted message to consumers.

Within an organization, internal communication takes place on several levels. The most basic level of internal communication is that of information transference. Organizations provide employees with information such as data and background information so that they have the knowledge to carry out their specific jobs or tasks. By using the process of informing, companies give employees critical knowledge of rules and procedures that they need to carry out their assigned duties.

Within companies, communication can move upwards, downwards and laterally. Downward communication is knowledge that is disseminated from supervisors, CEOs, managers and other superiors to lower-level workers. Communication that moves upwards, in contrast, begins with subordinates, who relay information to superiors to provide information such as sales history. Communication also moves horizontally, usually via reports and data. While information is used internally, persuasion is used to change or sway public opinions and notions using emotional appeal and identifying social or personal needs and benefits.