Everything you need to know about the process of communication. Process means a systematic series of actions or operations of a series of changes directed to some end. Communication is a two-way process wherein there is an exchange and progression of ideas towards a mutually acceptable goal.
Communication process, as such, has to be viewed, as a whole, a continuous and dynamic interaction of variables both affecting and being affected by different variables.
The process of communication consists of various components or elements. The elements are:- 1. Sender/Encoder/Speaker 2. Message 3. Receiver/Decoder/Listener 4. Medium/Channel 5. Feedback.
What is Communication Process: Elements and Components Involved in the Process of Communication
Process of Communication – 5 Elements with Alternative Process of Communication
Two-way communication takes place when the receiver provides feedback to the sender. For instance, giving an instruction to a subordinate and receiving its acceptance is an example of two-way communication. On other hand, in case of one-way communication, feedback is absent.
Here the sender communicates without expecting or getting feedback from the receiver. A policy statement from the chief executive is an example of one-way communication. One-way communication takes less time than two-way communication. In certain situations, one-way communication is more effective to get work from the subordinates.
Two-way communication is superior to one-way communication in the following respects:
(i) Two-way communication is more effective than one-way communication. The feedback allows the sender to refine his communication so that it becomes more precise and accurate.
(ii) Receivers’ self-confidence is higher in case of two-way communication as they are permitted to ask questions and seek clarification from the senders.
However, in case of two-way communication, the sender may feel embarrassed when the receiver draws his attention to sender’s mistakes and ambiguities. It is therefore, essential to discuss the communication process in comprehensive manner.
To this point we have seen how each of us lives in an environment of signs and how these signs are with us throughout each day. We have also seen how our ability to detect these signs varies, how we can tune them in or tune them out, and how our alertness to them varies across time. With this knowledge of the communication environment as a foundation, we are now ready to describe the communication process.
Communication is a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of ideas towards a mutually accepted direction or goal. For this process to materialize, it is essential that the basic elements of communication be identified.
These elements are:
The person who initiates the communication process is normally referred to as the sender. From his personal data bank he selects ideas, encodes them and finally transmits them to the receiver in the form of a message. The entire burden of communication then rests upon the sender or encoder. His choice of images and words, and the combination of the two is what gets the receiver to listen carefully.
In this process a number of factors come into play, primary among them being an understanding of the recipient and his needs. If the message can be formulated in accordance with the expectations of the receiver, the level of acceptance is going to be higher. For example- a consultant wishes to communicate with the HRD manager of a company. The objective is to secure consultancy projects on training of personnel. If the consultant wishes the HRD manager to communicate with him, he has to ensure that their goals converge. He has a tough task ahead of him. The manager has been interacting with many consultants.
Why should he pay heed to the proposal of this consultant? In a situation such as this, a good strategy to be adopted is to expand the purview of the proposal and make it company specific. The result could be highlighted and spelt out in terms of increase in sales. If sufficient preparation has been done, the message too would be formulated in a manner conducive to the interests of the HRD manager.
The listener receives an encoded message, which he attempts to decode. This process is carried on in relation to the work environment and the value perceived in terms of the work situation. If the goal of the sender is clear in the mind of receiver the job of decoding becomes quite easy and the listener finds the message more receptive.
The decoding of the message is done in almost entirely the same terms as were intended by the sender. In the example cited above, as soon as the HRD manager realizes that the proposal of the consultant is going to result in tangible benefits, he becomes more receptive and his interest in communication is reinforced.
Message is the encoded idea transmitted by the sender. The formulation of the message is very important, for an incorrect patterning can turn the receiver hostile or make him lose interest. At this stage the sender has to be extremely cautious. What is the order in which he would like to present his ideas? Suppose he has four points to make.
Would he (a) move in the stereotyped manner of presenting them in a sequence or (b) would he like to be innovative and proceed in a creative way? Probability is high that in the first case and he might become monotonous and in the latter case (c) he might touch a wrong spot. How then should the message be formulated and transmitted?
The ordering, should be based on the requirements of the listener so that its significance is immediately grasped. The minute the receiver finds his goals codified in the message, he sits up, listens and responds. The message thus has made an impact.
Another important element of communication is the medium or channel. It could be oral, verbal or non-verbal. Prior to the composition of the message, the medium, channel should be decided.
Each medium follows its own set of rules and regulations. For example, in oral communication one can afford to be a little informal, but when using the written mode, all rules of communication need to be observed. It must be remembered that anything in writing is a document that would be field for records or circulated to all concerned.
This is the most important component of communication. Effective communication takes place only when there is feedback. The errors and flaws that abound in business situations are a result of lack of feedback. Let us take a look at the typical responses of people involved in miscommunication – “This is not what I meant” or “This is not what I said” or “This was not my intention”.
If feedback is solicited on all occasions, this error can be minimized or even completely done away with. Fallacious statements or erroneous conclusions are made because of lack of confirmation through feedback and discrepancy between the message transmitted and message understood.
Alternative Process of Communication:
The sender, according to his ideas, behaviour pattern and intention, selects a message, encodes it, and transmits it to the receiver through a medium-be it oral, verbal or non-verbal. As soon as the message reaches the receiver, he decodes it and gives an internal response to the perceived message.
It is noteworthy that the response is not in relation to the actual content but rather to the “perceived content” of the original message. This completes the first phase of the communication process. Interestingly at this point words in themselves have no meaning. It is the perception of a particular word and the intention behind it that assign it meaning. The manner in which the sender and receiver perceive the same word could give rise to difference in encoding and decoding.
In the second phase, the receiver formulates his message, encodes it and transmits it to the original sender-now-turned-receiver. This stage is referred to as providing feedback and is most crucial. Unless and until there is feedback-be it in the verbal or the non-verbal form-we cannot say that effective communication has taken place.
If the feedback is in tune with the original intent of the sender, communication proceeds without a hitch. However, there could be moments when the receiver does not agree with the message of the sender. This does not mean that there is breakdown of communication. We can, in such instances, state that effective communication is stalled for the time being.
For the process of communication to be effective, there should be a well-defined goal in the mind of the sender. Harmony between the goals of the two communicators makes for good and easy progression of ideas and concepts.
Whatever be the initial situation, the sender necessarily needs to adhere to the following stages:
1. Create awareness in the mind of the receiver on the topic.
2. Propose his own point of view with clarity and preciseness so as to eliminate possibilities of confusion in the mind of the receiver.
3. Enable smooth flow of discussion through observance of communication strategies.
4. Reinforce or correct ideas in the mind of the receiver concerning the goal of communication.
5. Achieve the goal of communication.
At the time of transmission and reception of message, all our five senses play an important role in grasping its intent. The sense that is predominantly active at a particular stage, helps in a higher degree of absorption, For example, in the course of the communication, if the visual sense at a particular moment is highly active, we respond only to the visual cues.
Process of Communication – 5 Major Components of Communication Process: Sender, Message, Receiver, Medium and Feedback
Process means a systematic series of actions or operations of a series of changes directed to some end. Communication is a two-way process wherein there is an exchange and progression of ideas towards a mutually acceptable goal. The process of communication involves two parties, viz., ‘sender’ and ‘receiver’. The former conveys message through a medium to the latter who acknowledges receipt of the message delivered.
The process of communication involves the following major components:
Sender is the person who starts the process of communication. He communicates opinions, ideas, facts, thoughts or information instructions, directions, advice, etc. He is the transmitter of the message.
This refers to information, written or spoken, which is sent from one person to another. It can be verbal and non-verbal. Since the message has to trigger response, it needs to be simple, precise, complete, unambiguous and courteous. The sender has to gauge the requirements of the receiver in advance and accordingly design the message to be transmitted and choose the right medium to get maximum impact to the message conveyed.
The person who receives the message decodes it, understand, it or attaches some meaning to it. Thus the receiver has to perform three functions at the receiving point. In other words, he has to take the message. But the very message may not reach the receiver or may reach the intended receiver in a different shape due to many reasons like interception of message conveyed by a third person, receipt of message by a third person etc.
Suggestions may be misconstrued as order, etc. The second function of receiver is to attach meaning to it. The third one is to understand the message in same sense in which it is conveyed by the sender.
The very method with which communication is sent is called channel. It can be letter, e-mail, fax, telegram, telegraph, telephone, reports, bulletin, posters and manuals. The sender has to select the appropriate channel, given the nature of message to be transmitted viz., oral or written.
Receiver’s reaction or response to the message delivered is feedback. The feedback may be oral or verbal. Smiles, nod, sight, etc., are oral ones while sending replies through letters, documents, submitting explanation etc., are written feedback. The feedback in oral communication is quicker than the written communication. It minimizes or eliminates errors.
Sometimes receiver may not give feedback to the message delivered. This leads to a lot of wrong assumptions, erroneous conclusion and fallacious statements. It reduces the effectiveness of communication. In other words, success or failure of communication is determined by the feedback. The feedback completes the cycle of the communication.
Process of Communication – Elements of Communication Process
The communication is a process which consists of five key components. Those components include encoding, medium of transmission, message, ‘decoding and feedback. There are also other factors in the process and those two factors are present in the form of the sender and the receiver. The communication process begins with the sender and ends with the receiver.
The basic elements in the communication process are:
The entire burden of communication rests upon the sender or encoder. His choice of images and words and the combination of the two is what drives the receiver to listen carefully. In this process, a number of factors come into play, primary among them being an understanding of the recipient and his/her needs.
If the message can be formulated in accordance with the expectations of the receiver, the level of acceptance is going to be higher. The sender is an individual, group or organisation, who initiates the communication. This source is initially responsible for the success of the message. The sender’s experiences, attitudes, knowledge, skills, perceptions and culture influence the message. All communication begins with the sender.
The sender (or source) acts as the transmitter in providing message. There are five factors that lead the sender in any communication.
The factors are summarized as follows:
(i) Communication Skills:
The effectiveness of our communication is also determined by our ability with non-verbal communications skills. A stern look of disapproval from the group leader readily communicates to the receiver (group member) that something he/she said or did, was not well-received.
We can say that an attitude is a generalized tendency to feel about something one way or another.
Attitudes affect our communication in three ways:
(a) Attitudes toward Ourselves:
It determines how we conduct ourselves when we transmit messages to others. If we have a favorable self-altitude, the receivers will note our self-confidence. If we have an unfavorable self-attitude, the receivers will note our confusion. However, if our favorable self-attitude is too strong we tend to become forward and overbearing and our communication loses much of its effect with the receiver.
(b) Attitude towards Subject Matter:
It affects favorable self-attitude. Attitude towards subject matter affects our communication by predetermining the way we work our messages about certain subjects.
(c) Attitude towards the Receiver:
Attitude towards the receiver or attitude of receiver towards the sender is the third item that influences our communication. Our messages are likely to be different when communication of the same content is done to someone we like and then to someone we dislike. We also shape our messages in different forms while talking to someone in a higher position than while speaking to someone in the same position or in a lower position regardless of whether we like them or not.
Knowledge level has a bearing on our ability to communicate effectively about a subject. A businessman might feel at ease trying to talk with a farmer about hogs, cattle, corn or beans. The farmer would probably not feel qualified to talk about city slums, urban traffic problems or city government. They may both feel quite comfortable discussing politics, however.
(iv) Position in the Social System:
The position of the sender and the receiver in their respective social systems also affects the nature of the communicative act. Each one of us handles a position in one or more social systems likewise in our family, work groups, church, community or the organisations to which we belong. We perceive those with whom we communicate as occupying a similar, higher or lower position in their respective social systems.
Communication becomes easier and more impressive when it takes place between people belonging to same cultures, because culture is relatively independent of social positions of the sender and the receiver. Similar cultural backgrounds make communication effective.
Message is the encoded idea transmitted by the sender. The message is what the sender attempts to transmit to his/her specified receivers.
Every message has at least two major aspects:
(i) Content of the Message:
It includes the assertions, arguments, appeals and themes which the sender transmits to the receivers. The formulation of the message is very important, for an incorrect gesture can turn the receiver hostile or make him lose interest. At this stage the sender has to be extremely alert.
(ii) Treatment of the Message:
The selection of contents and the treatment of the message basically depend on our communication skills, attitudes knowledge level, our position in social systems, and our culture. The choice of content and the treatment of the message we use also depends on our audience and their communication skills, knowledge, attitudes, social position, and culture.
Medium or channels are another important element of communication. It could be oral, written or non-verbal. Prior to the composition of the message, the medium/channel should be decided. Each medium follows its own set of rules and regulations. To initiate transmitting the message, the sender uses some kind of channel (also called a medium).
The channel is the means used to express the message. Most channels are either oral or written but currently visual channels are becoming much popular as technology expands rapidly. Common channels include the telephone and a variety of written formats such as memos, letters and reports. The effectiveness of the various channels fluctuates, depending on the characteristics of the communication.
After the appropriate channel or channels are selected, the message enters the decoding stage of the communication process. Decoding is conducted by the receiver. The receiver is the person receiving the message that derives the meaning or understands and translates it into meaning. Once the message is received and examined, the stimulus is sent to the brain for interpreting, to assign some type of meaning to it.
It is thus processing stage that constitutes decoding. The receiver interprets the symbols sent by the sender, translates the message to their own set of experiences to make the symbols meaningful. Successful communication takes place when the receiver correctly interprets the sender’s message.
Communication is considered to be effective only when there is a proper feedback. Feedback refers to the response of the receiver to the message communicated. It is the last step in the process of communication, which ensures the success of communication process. The signal may take the form of a spoken comment, a long sigh, a written message, a smile or some other action.
Even a lack of response, in a sense, is a form of response. In this way, feedback is a key component in the communication process because it allows the sender to evaluate the effectiveness of the message. Feedback ultimately provides an opportunity for the sender to take corrective action to clarify a misunderstood message. Feedback plays an important role by indicating significant communication barriers.
Process of Communication – Ideation, Encoding, Transmission, Receiving, Decoding and Action
There are two persons necessary irrespective of the mode of communication. They are the sender and the receiver. The sender may be called as resource person. A communication process comes to an end only when the receiver understands the message as the sender communicates.
The following is the process of effective or proper communication:
The sender can create an idea to communicate. In simple words, a sender decides what is to be communicated and how? This is the content of communication.
The sender can decide the series of symbols which are necessary to communicate the information. Besides, the symbols facilitate the understanding of the receiver. Encoding includes the selection of the methods of communication. Different words are used in different methods of communication to extend the same information. Some methods to initiate a conversation or action are showing a green signal to start a train etc.
Transmission confirms the channel of communication. The term channel of communication includes a letter, telegram, telephone and the like. A lengthy information cannot be transmitted through a telegram. As such, confidential matters and important matters are not to be transmitted by telephone. When confidential matters are sent, it is better to use an envelope marked ‘Confidential’ or ‘Personal matter’ etc. The selected channel should be free from any barrier to communication.
Receiving the message is the fourth step in the process of communication. The receiver should pay great attention in this regard. The reason is that all the relevant information should be received and all unnecessary information neglected. Mere listening is not enough. The receiver should understand the entire information.
Decoding means translation of symbols encoded by the sender into the message for understanding. The receiver may misunderstand the message. The reason is that the perception of the sender may be different from the perception of the receiver. The communication will be an effective one, if the receiver understands the message correctly.
The receiver has the responsibility to see that the received message reaches its destination. The receiver may ignore the message he receives. There is a need for action to complete the process of communication. Sometimes, the message may be a direction to ‘stop the work’. It means that there should be some reaction on the part of the receiver.
Process of Communication – Stages of Communication Process
Stage # 1. Message – This is the background step of the process of communication, which being the subject matter necessitates the need to start a communication process. The message might be a fact, an idea, a request, a suggestion, an order or a grievance.
Stage # 2. Sender – The person, who initiates the communication process, is known as the sender or communicator.
Stage # 3. Encoding – Encoding means giving a form and meaning to the message through expressing it into words, symbols, graph, drawing etc.
Stage # 4. Medium – It refers to the method or channel through which the message is to be conveyed to the recipient. The channel is the link that connects the sender and the receiver.
Stage # 5. Recipient – Technically, a communication is complete, only when it comes to the knowledge of the intended person i.e. the recipient or the receiver.
Stage # 6. Decoding – Decoding is the process by which the receiver draws meaning from the symbols encoded by the sender. It is affected by the receiver’s past experience, education, perception, expectation and mutuality of meaning with the sender.
Stage # 7. Feedback – Feedback implies to the reaction or response of the recipient to the message, comprised in the communication. To complete the communication process, sending feedbacks to communication, by the recipient to the sender is imperative.
Process of Communication – Sender, Message, Encoding, Communication Channel, Receiver, Decoding and Feedback
Process # 1. Sender:
The person who initiates the communication process is known as sender, source or communicator. The sender has some information which he wants to communicate to some other person to achieve some purpose. But initiating the message, the sender attempts to achieve understanding and a change in the behaviour of the receiver.
Process # 2. Message:
The message is the substance of the communication process. It may be in any form that could be experienced and understood by one or more of the senses of the receiver. Speech may be heard, written words may be read and gestures may be seen or felt. Thus, a message may take any of the three forms, viz., oral, written or gestural.
Process # 3. Encoding or Communication Symbol:
The sender of information organises his idea into a series of symbols (words, signs, etc.) which, he feels, will communicate to the intended receiver or receivers. This is known as encoding of message, i.e., converting ideas into communicable codes which will be understood by the receiver of the message.
Process # 4. Communication Channel:
After encoding the message, the sender chooses the mode of transmission (such as air for spoken words and paper for letters). The mode of transmission is often inseparable from the message. The channel is the link that connects the sender and the receiver. Air, sight and sound are the important communication channels.
The receiver must be considered while selecting a channel. Some people respond better to formal letters or communications, others to the informally spoken words. The channels of communication which are officially recognised by the organisation are known as formal channels.
Process # 5. Receiver:
The person who receives the message is called receiver. The communication process is incomplete without the existence of receiver of the message. It is the receiver who receives and tries to understand the message. If the message does not reach the receiver, communication cannot be said to have taken place.
Process # 6. Decoding:
Decoding is the process by which the receiver draws meaning from the symbols encoded by the sender. It is affected by the receiver’s part experience, education, perception, expectation, and mutuality of meaning with the sender.
Process # 7. Feedback:
After receiving the message, the receiver will take necessary action and send feedback information to the communicator. Feedback is a reversal of the communication process in which a reaction to the sender’s message is expressed. The receiver becomes the sender and feedback goes through the same steps as the original communication.
It may be noted that feedback is optional and may exist in any degree (from minimal to complete) in a given situation. Generally, greater the feedback, the more effective the communication process is likely to be. For instance, early feedback will enable the manager (sender) to know if his instructions have been properly understood and carried out.
Process of Communication – 8 Elements: Sender, Message, Encoding, Media, Decoding, Receiver, Feedback and Noise (With Examples of Noise)
Communication has been defined as a process. This process involves elements like source, encoding, noise and feedback.
The elements involved in the communication process are explained below:
i. Sender – Sender means person who conveys his thoughts or ideas to the receiver, the sender represents source of communication.
ii. Message – It is the content of ideas, feelings, suggestions, order etc., intended to be communicated.
iii. Encoding – it is the process of converting the message into communication symbols such as – words, pictures, gestures etc.
iv. Media – It is the path through which encoded message is transmitted to receiver. The channel may be in written form, face to face phone call, internet etc.
v. Decoding – It is the process of converting encoded symbols of the sender.
vi. Receiver – The person who receives communication of the sender.
vii. Feedback – It includes all those actions of receiver indicating that he has received and understood message of sender.
viii. Noise – Noise means some obstructions or hindrance to communication. This hindrance may be caused to sender, message or receiver.
Some examples of noise are:
a. Ambiguous symbols that lead to faulty encoding.
b. A poor telephone connection.
c. An inattentive receiver.
d. Faulty decoding (attracting wrong meaning to message).
e. Prejudices obstructing the poor understanding of message.
f. Gestures and postures that may distort the message.
Process of Communication – 7 Important Elements of Communication Process
Communication has been defined as a process. The process is a concept of changing rather than static existence. The relationship events are seen as dynamic, continuous and flexible and are structured only in a relative sense. Communication process, as such, has to be viewed, as a whole, a continuous and dynamic interaction of variables both affecting and being affected by different variables.
The Elements of Communication Process:
A communication process involves the following elements:
(a) Sender – The person, who intends to make contact with objective of passing information and ideas to other persons, is known as sender.
(b) Ideas – This is the subject matter of communication. This might be an opinion, attitude, feelings, views, order or suggestions, etc.
(c) Encoding – Since the subject matter of communication is intangible and its transmission requires the use of certain symbols such as – words, actions or pictures, conversion of the subject matter into these symbols is the process of encoding.
(d) Channel – The symbols are transmitted to the other end called receiver through certain channels such as TV, radio, newspapers, etc.
(e) Receiver – It is the part for whom the message is meant. Receiver receives the message transmitted by sender.
(f) Decoding – After receiving the message in symbols, receiver converts the symbols into meaning or plain language which is easy to understand.
(g) Feedback – Feedback is the process of ensuring that die receiver has received the message and has understood also, it is the conformation of the message understood.
Process of Communication – 7 Major Components of the Communication Process: Sender, Encoding, Message, Medium, Receiver, Feedback and Noise
There are seven components of the communication process:
1. The sender
2. The encoding/decoding process
3. The message
4. The medium and the channel
5. The receiver
6. The feedback
7. The noise.
The sender is the “initiator” of the communication process. The sender’s goal is to transmit/convey the message to the receiver. For this, the sender encodes the message and then transmits it to the receiver. The burden of communication, therefore, rests on the sender.
The sender’s choice of verbal and nonverbal elements influences the receptiveness of the receiver. If the sender encodes the message in accordance with the expectations of the receiver, the receiver tends to be more attentive to the message. The encoding of the message to be sent depends on the sender’s communication skills, experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions. In the restaurant example, “you” were the sender.
The sender may be an individual, a group, or an organization. For instance, when a company publishes its balance sheet, the company is the sender.
The process of converting the message into a format that can be understood by the receiver is referred to as encoding. The message is encoded using both verbal and nonverbal symbols. The choice (of these symbols) plays an important role in the effectiveness of the overall communication process. The message received by the receiver has to be interpreted in order for it to make sense.
This process of interpretation is referred to as decoding. The communication process is ideal when the sent message and the received message are identical. For this, the sender must visualize the message from the receiver’s point of view and encode it accordingly. Furthermore, a message can be encoded in three different formats, namely, oral, written, and visual.
For a message to be accurately decoded, the sender and the receiver must assign the same meaning to the words contained within the message. The government and the military often use the encoding process based on the same principle in order to safeguard data. This coding intends to hide the actual meaning of the message. Young children, for instance, build their own codes for encoding messages so that parents/elders would not understand their secret messages.
For example, if you intercepted the message “The Little Boy and the Fat Man are Dogs,” what would you make of it? Nothing of consequence really!
However, that would not be the case if you had the decoding key; in fact, the message would seem profound. “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” were code names for the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. “Dog” was the code word for “Bomb is armed.” Now, see if you can decode what the message actually meant.
Today, even terrorists use hidden codes to pass on messages to one another without arousing the suspicion of the authorities. Some government agencies suspect Osama Bin Laden’s prerecorded videos used to be laden with such hidden messages. Another popular example comes from the book The Da Vinci Code. According to author Dan Brown and other conspiracy theorists, Da Vinci hid messages pertaining to Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail in his famous 15th Century fresco, The Last Supper.
The encoding and decoding processes, hence, are very fascinating and have given rise to new branches of study, such as cryptography, steganography, semiotics, and so on.
The message is an encoded idea transmitted by the sender to the receiver. There are two aspects to the message being transmitted – the content and the treatment.
The content is the idea within the message. In other words, the content refers to the subject matter, which has to be transmitted to the receiver. For instance, suppose your organization wishes to send a message to the government, appealing for support for “Save the Tiger” project. The content of the message, for instance, will include the survey results by the World Wildlife Fund, the proposed plans for safeguarding tiger habitats, plans for captive breeding programs, the costs involved, and the appeal for financial support.
The treatment of the message refers to the ordering of the content by the sender. The ordering or arrangement of the content is very important as it helps in getting the receiver’s attention. For instance, the content can be arranged in many ways. However, the advisable way would be to state the problem, followed by the evidence (survey results), the proposed plan of action, which will then be followed by the costs involved and the appeal for financial support.
The selection of the content and the treatment of the message depend not only on the communication skills, knowledge, attitudes, and culture of the sender but also on the receiver’s knowledge and communication skills. The sender will have to alter the content and the treatment of the message when addressing different audiences.
The important elements of communication are the medium and the channel. The medium can be verbal (both oral and written) or nonverbal. Similarly, there are several channels – face-to-face, speech, telephone, billboards, e-mails, newspapers, letters, memos, newsletters, videoconferencing, and so on.
Before encoding the message, the sender must select the appropriate channel and medium. The medium and the channel follow their own sets of rules and guidelines. While one has to adhere to all rules of communication in written communication, one can afford to take some liberties with oral communication.
The wrong selection of either the channel or the medium (or both) can prove disastrous for the communication process. For instance, when making a financial presentation, which deals with a lot of numbers, if you fail to use visual aids (in the form of numerical and graphical figures), it will leave the receivers confused.
Before deciding the channel and the medium, you must ask yourself some obvious questions, such as “What type of information is to be conveyed (good news, bad news, information, instruction, etc.)?” “What communication skills (oral and written) do the receivers possess?” “Is the message urgent and requires prompt feedback?” “Is documentation required?” “Is the content confidential or complicated?” “What amount can be spent on the medium?” and so on. The answers to these questions will help you judiciously decide what medium and channel to select.
The receiver is the person to whom the message is directed. However, contrary to the Aristotelian model, which viewed the receiver simply as a passive recipient, both the sender and the receiver are viewed as active participants in the communication process.
If you are the receiver, it is your job to properly decode the sender’s message (both verbal and nonverbal) with as little distortion as possible. To accomplish this, you must actively listen, paraphrase, ask questions, and read the sender’s intonation and body language.
This interpretation is usually shaped by the receiver’s knowledge, experience, attitudes, skills, perceptions, and culture. Furthermore, the extent to which the receiver will be able to correctly decode the sender’s message will also depend on a number of other factors, namely, the receiver’s familiarity with the topic, his/her interest in the topic, and the nature of relationship that exists between the receiver and the sender.
Post the decoding, the message is accepted on at least three levels – the cognitive, wherein you accept the message to be true; the affective, wherein you believe that the message is both true and good; and the behavior, wherein you believe the message to be true and good and thereby incorporate the message into your behavior.
Once the decoding process is over, the receiver encodes and sends a message back to the sender. This message becomes the feedback in the communication process. Feedback forms an important part of the process as it helps the sender determine whether the message reached the receiver correctly.
The feedback may be verbal or nonverbal. For instance, the questions you raise in the class after a teacher has explained a concept is verbal feedback. The clarification offered by the teacher in response is also feedback. Or when you deliver a presentation and the team applauds, applause, in this case, is nonverbal feedback. In another instance, when you ask someone out on a date and they shoot you down, that too is feedback.
Noise refers to any obstruction that hampers the transmission of the message or the feedback.
It can be divided into three categories:
a. External noise
b. Internal noise
c. Semantic noise
External noise refers to the environmental interference that distracts the sender or the receiver. It, therefore, hampers the transmission of the message/feedback, thereby distorting the message, so that the message received differs from the message sent. Examples of external noise are others talking, traffic noise, background music, cold room, and hot weather.
Internal noise refers to the attitudes, thoughts, prejudices, and moods of the sender or the receiver that interfere with the transmission process. Even the amount of attention the receiver pays to the sender can interfere with the accurate transmission of the message. Let us take the example of your annual appraisal. If you do not like your boss, you are likely to regard every feedback (even constructive) as criticism. In extreme cases, even praise or a compliment from the boss can be construed as sarcasm.
Semantic noise refers to the interferences that occur because of the meaning of words. Different words may mean different things to the sender and the receiver, and this, in turn, leads to problems in the overall communication process; for example, unfamiliar words, technical language, and slurs or slangs.