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What is Communication Process: Examples, Stages & Types

Table of Contents

Communication enables us to connect, share ideas, and collaborate with one another. But have you ever wondered what exactly goes into the process of effective communication? How do our thoughts and intentions transform into meaningful messages that are understood by others?

In this blog post, we will delve into the details of the communication process. We will explore its fundamental components, examine how messages are transmitted and received, and highlight the key factors that can influence successful communication.

Definition of the communication process?

“The systematic process in which individuals interact with and through symbols to create and interpret meanings in a particular context.” – Joseph A. DeVito “The process by which people use signs, symbols, and behaviors to exchange information and create meaning.” – Kory Floyd

What is the communication process? 

The communication process refers to the steps and elements involved in the successful transmission and understanding of a message between a sender and a receiver. It includes the exchange of information, ideas, opinions, or emotions through various channels or mediums. The communication process is cyclical, meaning it involves continuous feedback and adjustment. 

Effective communication requires clarity, relevance, active listening, and consideration of the needs and perspectives of both the sender and the receiver. By understanding and utilizing the communication process, individuals and organizations can enhance their ability to convey messages, build relationships, and achieve their communication goals.

Process of communication with diagram

Diagram-of-communication-process-working

What is the communication process cycle?

The communication process cycle is a continuous and dynamic sequence of stages involved in the successful exchange of messages between a sender and a receiver. The communication process cycle typically includes the following phases:

  • Sender’s Input
  • Message Transmission
  • Message Reception
  • Receiver’s Response
  • Feedback Transmission
  • Iteration and Adjustment

Diagram-of-communication-process-cycle

The communication process cycle is continuous, as it involves ongoing interactions and exchanges between the sender and the receiver.

Distinctive characteristics of the communication process?

The following characteristics help distinguish the communication process from other forms of human interaction and highlight its unique nature. The key characteristics of the communication process are as follows:

  • Sender-Receiver Relationship : The communication process involves a relationship between the sender and the receiver. It requires both parties to participate actively and engage in the exchange of messages.
  • Noise Effect : The communication process can be influenced by noise, which refers to any barriers or disruptions that affect the accurate transmission or reception of the message. Noise can be physical (e.g., background noise) or psychological (e.g., cultural differences) .
Related Reading : Psychological barriers to effective communication  
  • Dynamic and Ongoing : Communication is a continuous process that involves ongoing interactions and exchanges between the sender and the receiver. It is not a one-time event but evolves.
  • Subjectivity : The communication process is subject to interpretation and perception by both the sender and the receiver. Each individual may interpret and understand the message based on their own experiences, beliefs, and perspectives.

Components of the communication process

The communication process consists of several interconnected components that work together to facilitate effective communication.

1/ Sender: The sender takes the lead in initiating the communication process. They have a message or information to convey to the receiver. The sender’s role involves encoding the message, which means converting thoughts or ideas into a communicable format.

2/ Message: The message represents the ideas or informational content that the sender intends to convey. It can be expressed through different channels, including verbal, written, or non-verbal forms. Verbal elements include spoken or written words, while non-verbal elements encompass body language, facial expressions, and gestures.

3/ Channel: The channel serves as the pathway through which the message is conveyed from the sender to the receiver. Communication channels can include face-to-face conversations, phone calls, emails, text messages, video conferencing, or social media platforms.

4/ Receiver: The receiver is the person or group of people who are the intended target of the message. They play a crucial role in the communication process by decoding and interpreting the message received from the sender.

5/ Feedback: Feedback is the response or reaction given by the receiver in relation to the sender’s message. It serves as a vital component of the communication process, allowing the sender to gauge the effectiveness of their message and make necessary adjustments.

To know more check out our detailed article on: What are the components of the communication process

Types of the communication process

Communication processes can be broadly categorized into four main types:

4-Types-of-communication-process

1/ Verbal Communication Process: Verbal communication involves the usage of spoken or written language to express and convey messages. It allows for immediate feedback and clarification, promoting interactive and real-time exchanges.

Further Reading: What is verbal communication

2/ Nonverbal Communication Process: Nonverbal communication involves the transmission of messages without the use of words.  It incorporates a range of nonverbal cues such as physical movements, hand gestures,  vocal intonation, interpersonal distance, and other forms of nonverbal expression.

Further Reading: What is nonverbal communication

3/ Visual Communication Process: Visual communication relies on visual elements to convey messages. It involves the use of images, graphics, charts, diagrams, videos, presentations, and other visual aids. Visual communication is effective in simplifying complex information, enhancing understanding, and appealing to visual learners.

Further Reading: What are the advantages and disadvantages of visual communication

4/ Written Communication Process: Written communication includes the utilization of written words or text as a means to convey information. It includes letters, memos, reports, articles, emails, text messages, social media posts, and other forms of written communication.

Further Reading: What is written communication with example

How does the communication process work? 

The communication process involves 8 interconnected stages that facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, or messages between a sender and a receiver. Here’s a simplified explanation of how the communication process works:

8 stages of the communication process 

1/ Sender’s Input: The communication process begins with the sender, who initiates the communication by having a message to convey. The sender identifies the purpose of the communication and formulates the message accordingly. This involves determining what information, ideas, or emotions need to be conveyed and what outcome the sender hopes to achieve through the communication.

2/ Encoding the message: After formulating the message, the sender encodes it by selecting appropriate symbols, language, or means of expression. Encoding involves converting thoughts or ideas into a form that can be understood by the receiver. This could include: 

  • Selecting specific words 
  • Using nonverbal cues such as gestures or facial expressions 
  • Utilizing visual or auditory elements to enhance the message’s meaning.

3/ Message Transmission: Once the message is encoded, the sender transmits it through a chosen communication medium or channel. The medium can vary depending on the nature of the communication and the available options, such as: 

  • Face-to-face conversations
  • Written communication
  • Telephone calls or emails, 
  • Social media platforms

The sender selects the most suitable medium to effectively deliver the message to the receiver.

4/ Receptioning the Message: The receiver, who is the intended recipient of the message, receives the transmitted message through the selected medium or channel. The receiver perceives the message using their senses (e.g., hearing or reading) or through technological devices (e.g., listening to an audio recording or reading a text on a screen). The receiver’s attention and focus on the message play a crucial role in this stage.

5/ Decoding the Message: Upon receiving the message, the receiver decodes it by interpreting and extracting meaning from the information received. Decoding involves understanding the encoded symbols, language, or context used by the sender to derive the intended message. The receiver applies their knowledge, experiences, cultural background, and perceptual filters to make sense of the message and derive meaning from it.

6/ Receiver’s Response: After decoding the message, the receiver formulates a response or feedback based on their understanding and interpretation. This response can take various forms, such as verbal or written communication, actions, or nonverbal cues. The response allows the receiver to provide: 

  • Seek clarification, 
  • Ask questions, 
  • Express agreement or disagreement, 
  • Contribute additional information related to the message.

7/ Feedback Transmission: The receiver’s response is transmitted back to the sender through the same or a different communication medium or channel. Feedback serves as an essential component of the communication process, as it provides valuable information to the sender. It helps the sender gauge the effectiveness, understanding, and impact of the message on the receiver. Feedback allows for adjustments, clarification, and improvement of future communications, ensuring the accuracy and clarity of the message.

Related Reading : What is feedback in the communication cycle

8/ Noise: Throughout the communication process, various factors can influence the effectiveness of communication. These factors include noise, which can be

  • External Noise: (e.g., Environmental distractions or technical issues) 
  • Internal Noise: (e.g., Preconceived notions or biases) 

Noise can disrupt message transmission or reception. The communication context, such as the physical environment, cultural norms, relationship dynamics, and power dynamics between the sender and receiver, can also impact the communication process.

Example of the communication process? 

Sarah, a project manager, wants to inform her team about a change in project deadlines, so she sends an email.

1/ Sender: Sarah, the project manager

  • Sarah, as the project manager, is the sender of the message. She initiates communication by composing and sending emails.

2/ Message: Change in project deadlines

  • The message is about the change in project deadlines. Sarah wants to inform her team members about this important update.

3/ Encoding: Composing the email

  • Sarah encodes her message by composing an email. She chooses the appropriate words, tone, and structure to effectively convey the information regarding the change in project deadlines.

4/ Medium: Email

  • The medium used for communication in this scenario is email. Sarah sends the message through the company’s email system.

5/ Channel: Company’s email server

  • The channel refers to the means through which the message is transmitted. In this case, the email is transmitted through the company’s email server to reach the team members’ inboxes.

6/ Receivers: Sarah’s team members

  • Sarah’s team members are the intended receivers of the message. They will receive and interpret the email sent by Sarah.

7/ Decoding: Reading and understanding the email

  • The team members decode the email by reading it and interpreting the content. They understand that there has been a change in project deadlines based on the information provided by Sarah.

8/ Feedback: Team members’ response or clarification

  • After decoding the message, the team members may provide feedback to Sarah by replying to the email. They might seek clarification, acknowledge the change, or ask questions related to the new deadlines.

9/ Noise: Distractions or communication barriers

  • Noise can refer to technical issues with the email server, language barriers, or even conflicting priorities that could negatively affect the effective transmission or reception of the message.

10/ Context: Project management and deadlines

  • The context of the communication is the project management and the change in deadlines. It provides the background and relevance for Sarah’s message to her team members.

The example highlights how the communication process functions within a business, specifically in the scenario of Sarah communicating changes in project deadlines to her team members via email.

Examples of communication models: 

Communication models provide frameworks for understanding the complexities of the communication process. Two well-known models are the Shannon-Weaver model and the Transactional model. The Shannon-Weaver model focuses on the transmission of information from the sender to the receiver through a linear process.

The Transactional model emphasizes the dynamic nature of communication, where both the sender and receiver actively participate in encoding, decoding, and exchanging messages.

Why communication process is important? 

The communication process serves as the foundation for effective and meaningful interactions between individuals, groups, and organizations. Here are some key reasons why the communication process is vital:

  • Enhancing Decision-Making: Effective communication is essential for informed decision-making. Through the communication process, individuals can gather insights, weigh different options, and collectively arrive at well-informed decisions that consider multiple factors and stakeholder interests.
  • Conflict Resolution: Communication plays a vital role in resolving conflicts and addressing differences. By encouraging open dialogue, active listening, and empathy, the communication process allows individuals to express their concerns, and find mutually acceptable solutions.
  • Achieving Organizational Objectives: In the organizational context, the communication process is vital for achieving goals and objectives. It ensures that employees understand the organization’s vision, mission, and strategies.
  • Influencing and Persuasion: Communication is a powerful tool for influencing and persuading others. The communication process allows for the delivery of persuasive messages that can shape opinions, change behaviors, and motivate individuals or groups to take desired actions.
  • Social and Cultural Cohesion: Communication is a fundamental aspect of human interaction and societal cohesion. The communication process helps bridge gaps, promote understanding across diverse cultures, and foster inclusive and harmonious relationships within communities and societies.

Importance of the communication process in real life?

Effective communication serves as a cornerstone for building and nurturing relationships in personal, and social life. By actively engaging in the communication process, individuals establish connections and build trust, which forms the foundation of healthy and meaningful relationships.

Moreover, the communication process provides a platform for individuals to express their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. It serves as a medium for self-expression, enabling individuals to share their perspectives and joys with others. 

Additionally, engaging in the communication process contributes to personal growth and development. It enhances self-awareness and interpersonal skills. Through active participation in communication, individuals can refine their communication abilities, become more adaptable, and strengthen their relationships, both personally and professionally.

What are the common problems in the process of communication?

There are several common problems that can arise in the process of communication. These problems can hinder effective communication and lead to misunderstandings or breakdowns in the exchange of information. Here are some common communication problems:

1/ Misunderstandings : Misunderstandings can arise when the receiver does not accurately grasp the intended meaning of a message, leading to misinterpretations. This can happen due to differences in language or individual interpretations. Misunderstandings can result in misinformation and ineffective communication.

2/ Encoding and Decoding Errors: Encoding involves transforming thoughts or ideas into a communicable format, while decoding refers to the interpretation of the received message. Errors can occur during encoding or decoding, leading to misinterpretation or distortion of the intended message.

3/ Channel Selection : Choosing the appropriate communication channel is crucial for effective message transmission. Using an incorrect or inefficient channel can lead to message loss, distortion, or delayed communication. Selecting the right channel based on the nature of the message and the target audience is essential.

4/ Lack of Adaptability : Communication processes need to be adaptable to different contexts, audiences, and communication styles. Failing to adapt the communication approach can result in resistance or a lack of engagement from the intended recipients.

How does intercultural communication affect the communication process? 

Intercultural communication refers to the exchange of information and ideas between individuals or groups from different cultural backgrounds. It plays a significant role in today’s globalized world where people with diverse cultural identities interact and collaborate. Intercultural communication can have a profound impact on the communication process in several ways:

  • Language Barriers: Different cultures have distinct languages or variations of languages. When individuals from different cultures communicate, language barriers may arise , making it challenging to convey ideas accurately.
  • Nonverbal Communication Differences: Nonverbal communication, such as eye contact and body movements can reflect cultural variations. Various cultures may attribute different interpretations to specific nonverbal cues, resulting in differences in meaning and understanding.
  • Cultural Context: Cultural context significantly influences the communication process. Social norms, customs, and historical backgrounds shape how messages are constructed and interpreted. Without an understanding of the cultural context, messages may be misunderstood. 
Related Reading : Cultural Barriers To Communication: Examples & How to Overcome it

Communication process in the workplace 

In the workplace, the communication process refers to the series of interactions through which information, feedback, and instructions are exchanged between employees or teams to achieve common goals and facilitate effective work dynamics.

It involves both verbal and non-verbal communication , utilizing various channels and methods to ensure clear and meaningful understanding among employees and across different levels of the organization. 

Communication process in advertising 

In advertising, the communication process refers to the strategic and systematic approach of developing and delivering persuasive messages to target audiences with the goal of promoting products, services, or ideas. It involves a series of interconnected stages that aim to capture attention, generate interest, and elicit desired actions from the audience.

Impact of Technology on the communication process 

The impact of technology on the communication process refers to the changes and transformations that technology has brought to the way people exchange information, connect with others, and engage in communication. It has revolutionized various aspects of communication, including speed, accessibility, reach, and modes of interaction. Here are some key impacts of technology on the communication process:

  • Speed and Efficiency: Technology has drastically increased the speed and efficiency of communication. Messages can be sent and received instantly through various digital platforms, reducing the time required for information exchange and decision-making processes.
  • Global Connectivity: The internet and digital communication technologies have facilitated global connectivity, bringing together individuals from diverse regions of the world. Geographic barriers no longer limit communication, allowing individuals to connect, collaborate, and engage with others regardless of their physical location.
  • Expanded Communication Channels: Technology has expanded the range of communication channels available. In addition to face-to-face conversations, people can communicate through emails, instant messaging, video calls, social media platforms, and other digital tools. This variety of channels provides flexibility and choice in how people interact and exchange information.

In addition, the impact of technology on the communication process also comes with challenges. Misinterpretation, miscommunication, and information overload are limitations of digital communication . Balancing virtual interactions with maintaining personal connections and non-verbal cues can also be a challenge. It is important to be mindful of these challenges and adapt communication strategies accordingly.

What makes the communication process effective and ineffective? 

Key factors that make the communication process effective:.

1/ Clarity: Clearly articulating ideas and messages using concise and understandable language helps ensure that the intended meaning is easily comprehended by the audience.

2/ Active Listening: Actively engaging in the communication process by attentively listening to the speaker, seeking clarification when needed, and demonstrating genuine interest in their message.

3/ Empathy and Understanding: Showing empathy towards others’ perspectives, being open-minded, and seeking to understand their viewpoints fosters a positive and inclusive communication environment.

4/ Feedback and Confirmation: Providing feedback to the speaker to confirm understanding, asking questions, and actively seeking clarification when necessary to ensure accurate comprehension.

5/ Contextual Awareness: Being mindful of the context and situation in which the communication takes place, including cultural norms, social dynamics, and any relevant background information.

6/ Timeliness: Communicating information in a timely manner, providing updates and responses promptly, and avoiding unnecessary delays to maintain the relevance and effectiveness of the communication .

By incorporating these factors into the communication process, individuals can enhance their ability to convey messages clearly and promote meaningful and effective interactions.

Key factors that can make the communication process ineffective:

1/ Non-Verbal Inconsistency: Sending conflicting non-verbal cues, such as mismatched facial expressions or body language, can create confusion and mistrust.

2/ Information Overload: Overwhelming the audience with excessive or irrelevant information can lead to disengagement and hinder understanding.

3/ Assumptions and Stereotyping: Making assumptions about others’ knowledge, beliefs, or experiences based on stereotypes can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings.

4/ Emotional Barriers: Allowing strong emotions, such as anger, frustration, or fear, to dominate the communication process can prevent effective dialogue and problem-solving.

Awareness of these factors can help individuals identify and address potential barriers to effective communication and fostering productive interactions

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1) what are the 7 steps of the communication process .

Ans: The communication process involves seven key steps: sender, message, channel, encoding, decoding, receiver, and feedback. The sender initiates the process by encoding a message, which is transmitted through a chosen channel. The receiver decodes the message and provides feedback, completing the communication loop. Following these steps enhances communication effectiveness.

Q2) What are the 5 stages of communication? 

Ans: The communication process involves five stages: sender, message, channel, receiver, and feedback. The sender encodes and delivers the message through a chosen channel, which is then received, decoded, and responded to by the receiver. 

Q3) What is most important in the communication process?

Ans: The most important aspects of effective communication are clarity and active listening. Clarity involves using clear and concise language, while active listening refers to actively engaging with the speaker during a conversation or communication exchange.  Other important elements include feedback, non-verbal communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, and adaptability.

Q4) What are the basics of the communication process? 

Ans: The basics of the communication process include a sender who encodes a clear message, a chosen channel for transmission, an engaged receiver who decodes the message, and feedback for effective communication. Minimizing noise and considering the context is important.

Q5) What is a two-way communication process?

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Communication Process: Definition, Steps, and Importance

At first glance, the communication process seems simple enough, right?

You say a few words to the interlocutor, they understand what you mean and give you a prompt response. 

But, that’s not always the way things go. Say that a joke you make falls flat, and you have to think of ways to redirect the conversation. Or, you use the word “ bike ” to talk of your love of cycling, but the interlocutor thought of motorbikes. 

These issues occur because the communication process is ever-changing and depends on 8 interconnected factors .

In the following sections, we’ll devote more attention to the importance of the communication process and each of its factors. 

We’ll also hear from experts who’ll share some of their tried-and-true tips on improving the communication process and eliminating miscommunication . 

Without further delay, let’s jump in. 

Communication process - cover

Table of Contents

What is the communication process?

The communication process encompasses a sequence of acts necessary for effective communication . These acts ensure the successful transmission of meaning between at least 2 participants, helping them to understand each other without issues. 

However, while the communication process is a comprehensive and reliable tool that can help achieve successful communication between two or more people, it sometimes isn’t as straightforward as it first appears. 

In reality, effective communication requires careful attention to the 8 interconnected factors that make up the process . When properly followed, the communication process can ensure the intended message is conveyed and understood without misinterpretation or confusion. 

But, this requires a deep understanding of the process and active participation. 

What are the parts of the communication process?

In the book The Process of Communication: An Introduction to Theory and Practice , American communication theorist David K. Berlo writes: 

“ With the concept of process established in our minds, we can profit from an analysis of the ingredients of communication, the elements that seem necessary (if not sufficient) for communication to occur. ”  – David K. Berlo

When Berlo mentions the “ concept of process ,” he references the fact that communication, like other processes, is dynamic and ever-evolving . 

Take the conversations you have with your coworkers as an example. The topic changes depending on whom you’re speaking to, as does your tone of voice and body language . 

But, some ingredients remain the same with each interaction — the 8 elements of the communication process. These are:

  • Environment,
  • Context, and
  • Interference.

We’ll now examine these factors in greater detail. 

Element #1: Source (Sender)

In the process of communication, the source or sender is the person who speaks in order to create and impart a specific message to their audience . 

The source may convey their message using verbal language but also through their:

  • Body language, 
  • Clothing, and
  • Tone of voice. 

According to Berlo, communication is virtually impossible without a source :

“ We can say that all human communication has some source , some person or group of persons with a purpose, a reason for engaging in communication. ” – David K. Berlo

Before speaking or writing, the source has to decide what they want to convey and how they wish to format their message. 

Then, the source encodes this information using words and putting them in specific order to achieve the desired meaning. Only after taking these steps can a source deliver the message to the audience. 

Element #2: Message

The message is the source’s purpose of communication , and during the communication process, the source converts this purpose into speech or text. 

In The Basics of Speech Communication , Scott McLean describes the message as “ the stimulus or meaning produced by the source for the receiver or audience .” 

McLean also emphasizes that the message is more than words strung together by order and grammatical rules . How we format and transmit our message depends on the type of communication we intend to engage in.

For instance, in written communication, you can change and reshape a message through:

  • The use of emojis ,
  • The addition of subheadings,
  • Adjustments in writing style, and 
  • Formatting the message . 

And, as we’ve mentioned, your appearance and body language during in-person meetings or video conferencing calls can also affect how you communicate your message. 

But, there’s more to it. 

Our environment and the context we provide can imbue the message with additional meaning. On the other hand, noise can obscure our intended meaning during the interaction and become a communication barrier .  

Element #3: Channel

The channel is the manner by which the message travels from the source to the receiver . 

In his examination of communication models , Berlo touches on channels, stating that:

“ A channel is a medium, a carrier of messages. It is correct to say that messages can exist only in some channels; however, the choice of channels often is an important factor in the effectiveness of communication. ” – David K. Berlo

If you think of the streaming services you’re subscribed to as separate channels, they all combine visual and auditory information to communicate a specific message. When you look away from the screen, you can still hear the program and gather enough clues to understand what’s going on. 

The same goes if you lower the volume. Thanks to subtitles and visual cues, you’ll still be able to follow the plot without much trouble.

A similar scenario happens in real-time communication . Depending on our purpose and needs, we can choose from several different channels, which could include:

  • Voice and video calls,
  • Direct messaging in a business communication app ,
  • Voice messages , and
  • Emails. 

🎓 Pumble Pro Tip

For a deeper look into communication channels and information about which channels are suitable for different kinds of communication, see this guide:

  • Channels of communication

Element #4: Receiver

As the name suggests, the receiver is the person whose task is to receive the source’s message . 

The receiver is just as important as the source in the communication process because their actions can make or break the interaction.

No matter how carefully you choose your words, the communication situation may go awry, as you have no control over how the interlocutor:

  • Interprets the message , 
  • Behaves after hearing the message , or
  • Uses their cultural experience and knowledge to participate in communication. 

The above points determine whether the receiver will choose to provide feedback to the source and actively participate in the communication action . No further communication can occur if the receiver decides not to respond and withholds feedback. 

Keep in mind that a receiver may not always respond using verbal messages. 

For example, if you are speaking at a business summit attended by more than 200 people, you’ll feel the audience sizing you up. Although the attendees won’t voice their opinion on what you’re saying, you can modify your performance and add more information to your message by watching the reaction of audience members. 

Element #5: Feedback

Feedback is the response the receiver returns to the source. 

  • Unintentional or intentional and
  • Nonverbal or verbal . 

Feedback is vital in letting the source know how the receiver has interpreted the message . 

Another important function of feedback in communication is to give the receiver the chance to:

  • Request additional information or clarification,
  • Support or object to the source’s claims, and
  • Inform the source how to modify their approach. 

The role feedback plays in the communication process cannot be overstated. 

In the research article Some effects of feedback on communication , Mueller and Leavitt detailed the result of an experiment that dealt with how different levels of feedback affected communication. Their conclusion was that: 

“ Increasing feedback resulted in increasing [communication] accuracy . ” – Mueller and Leavitt

Feedback is instrumental in professional communication, and so is feedforward. To learn more about how the two concepts are related and how to use them to your advantage, read this blog post:

  • Feedback vs. feedforward: Moving from feedback to feedforward

Element #6: Environment

The environment refers to the mental and physical contexts in which we communicate , both as the sender and the receiver of messages. It encompasses the setting, atmosphere, and conditions that may influence the interpretation and reception of information .

For example, if you’re in a conference room, your environment might include:

  • Windows, and
  • A whiteboard. 

Psychological aspects of the environment may include whether the topic is discussed in a transparent manner and whether the communication is formal or informal. 

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Element #7: Context

While some confuse context for the environment when talking about the communication process, context refers to the:

  • Setting, and
  • Expectations of the conversation participants. 

For example, when you head into the office, you expect those present to be smartly dressed and speak and act in a specific way. Thus, anyone wearing a T-shirt and shorts would stick out like a sore thumb. 

That’s because context dictates how formal or informal the environment should be. 

During work meetings, someone’s position and expertise affect when and how they will speak, as well as what they will speak about. During short breaks, everyone is free to quickly catch up or talk about informal topics. But, when the meeting resumes, all off-topic conversations cease. 

As a crucial element of the communication cycle, context is also vital in cross-cultural communication. Namely, the cultural context we inherit and learn through experience affects how we convey messages. For more information on cross-cultural communication and cultural context, check out this detailed blog post:

  • How to perfect cross-cultural communication at the workplace

Element #8: Interference (Noise)

The final component of the communication process, interference , is also sometimes called noise . 

Interference or noise can be anything that distorts or modifies the intended meaning of a message . 

If your desk is by the window, you likely see billboards and commuters and hear traffic sounds. This noise can halt your stream of thought or interrupt a conversation with coworkers. 

However, in the communication cycle, the noise could also be psychological .

Although you work in a quiet environment, your own thoughts could block you from fully listening to what someone is saying. For instance, if your superior hasn’t finished talking to you, but you are already coming up with what to say in return, chances are you’ve missed a few points. 

Similarly, if you forgot to drink water before joining a meeting, you may pay more attention to the water cooler than the presentations. 

Unfortunately, the modern workforce is rife with distractions that act as communication hurdles. The occasional pinging from your team messaging app may prevent you from giving your all to the task at hand. If you’ve struggled with this in the past, take a look at this helpful post:

  • How to ensure business chat is not distracting your team

How does the communication process work?

The communication process consists of 5 essential steps . They are:

  • Idea formation,
  • Message encoding,
  • Message transmission,
  • Message decoding , and 

Breaking down these communication cycle phases will help you better understand your role in conversation and improve your communication skills.  

The Communication Process

Step #1: The source or sender has an idea (Idea formation)

Communication begins with the source, the person who thinks of and sends the message. 

Several things can influence the message a source wants to convey, including their:

  • Background , and
  • Context of the communication situation . 

For example, how you greet a coworker depends on: 

  • Your mood, 
  • Their position within the company, 
  • Your own culture, and 
  • Your knowledge of your coworker’s culture. 

Consequently, before saying or writing anything, you have to consider the above factors to prevent misinterpretation and confusion. 

Moreover, a source should always think about how the receiver or audience will respond to the message. One of the most invaluable skills an effective communicator can hone is the ability to adapt their message so that it elicits a positive response from the interlocutor. 

Step #2: The source encodes the idea in a message (Encoding)

Encoding is the second step in the process of communication. This phase consists of transforming an idea into gestures and words that will successfully carry its meaning to the receiver . 

However, encoding can be a challenging task as different people associate different meanings with the same words. 

According to Guffey and Loewy in Business Communication: Process & Product , miscommunication that stems from mismatched meanings is called bypassing , and it is one of the most common pitfalls of professional communication. 

To avoid these complications, skilled communicators should strive to use familiar words because the goal is to have the source and receiver agree on their meanings . 

As one HBR article on language and culture states, just because you and your coworkers share a language doesn’t mean you share the same business culture , too. 

Let’s see how language and culture can clash in the example below. 

assignment on communication process

Jodie has sent a message to Anna, the new administration officer who has moved to the US from the UK. Jodie starts with casual chit chat before diving into the point of her message. 

While that is considered polite behavior in the US, it can grate on people from countries where it is customary to get to the point without veering off-topic. Furthermore, Jodie uses the terms “ trainer ” and “ cell phone .” While these don’t throw Anna off, in the UK, it’s common to hear “ coach ” or “ instructor ” and “ mobile phone. ” 

Finally, Anna’s response is brief and doesn’t venture into non-work-related territory. 

Step #3: The message is transmitted via a communication channel (Transmission)

During the communication cycle, it is necessary to find the best way to physically transmit the message to the receiver. The transmission medium is the channel , and we can share messages via:

  • Business communication apps ,
  • Announcements,
  • Phone calls,
  • Pictures, and
  • Memorandums. 

Deciding on the most effective channel is imperative because it can affect how a receiver interprets both verbal and nonverbal messages . 

For instance, in the example below, Jodie is sharing the annual performance report with her colleagues. How they receive the message will depend on:

  • The tone present throughout the report,
  • The document’s layout, and
  • The inclusion of graphics and charts. 

assignment on communication process

Of course, before picking the most effective channel, the source must consider the noise and how it could interfere with the communication process. 

As we’ve discussed, anything that obstructs the communication cycle is considered noise. 

Technical difficulties can also act as noise, as shown in this exchange in Pumble, a business communication app

These interferences may take many forms, from misspellings in business emails to poor connection during a virtual call . However, choosing an unsuitable time to send an email or scheduling a team meeting for a simple update can also be an interference. 

Step #4: The receiver decodes the message (Decoding)

An essential phase of the communication cycle — decoding — occurs when the receiver analyzes the message and converts its symbols to uncover the intended meaning . 

Successful communication can only happen when the receiver cracks this code — that is, when they comprehend what the source intended to say . 

But, achieving effective communication is easier said than done because no two people share the same experiences and knowledge. Moreover, numerous communication barriers can get in the way of decoding and halt the entire process. 

Some factors that undermine decoding messages can be internal , and these include:

  • A lack of attention when someone is speaking and
  • Pre-existing cognitive biases and prejudice towards the source. 

External factors can also impede the communication process. For example, it might be hard to decipher someone’s words in a loud environment, and misunderstandings are bound to happen. 

However, semantic hurdles can cause severe communication issues in a professional setting. For example, let’s analyze the announcement below. 

assignment on communication process

Joseph has posted what he thinks is an exciting announcement about an upcoming company event. While his intentions may have come from the right place, his words have definitely missed the mark. 

His choice to refer to new hires as “ newbies ,” the female employees as “ girls ,” and seasoned employees as “ oldtimers ” has the potential to offend part of the workforce. 

Thus, these word choices could lead to strong reactions that prevent the employees from focusing on the overall message. 

Step #5: Feedback reaches the source

Feedback is the backbone of communication and covers the interlocutor’s nonverbal and verbal responses. These signals let the source know how someone has received and understood the message .

For example, when a coworker asks, “ How’s your day going? ” you can respond with, “ Good, thanks. And yours? ”. 

Or, if you’ve had a particularly draining day, you might smile and shrug your shoulders. 

The same goes for using team communication apps . You can:

  • Send a message, 
  • Post a comment, or 
  • Use an emoji to show how you feel. 

Of course, different people share varying degrees of feedback, which is why it’s a good idea to encourage feedback with questions like:

  • “ Is everything I’ve said clear? ” 
  • “ Do you need clarification on anything I’ve mentioned? ” 

Remember that overwhelming the receiver with too much information may confuse them and thus lead to a lack of feedback. 

Think of your delivery, time it appropriately, and give the interlocutor enough time to organize their thoughts. 

Additionally, it’s essential to differentiate between 2 types of feedback:

  • Evaluative feedback and
  • Descriptive feedback . 

Evaluative feedback doesn’t reflect whether the receiver has understood the source. Instead, it is often judgemental and can push the source into defensiveness .

On the other hand, descriptive feedback results from the receiver understanding the intended meaning of the source’s message. 

For example, saying, “ I see how the numbers suggest we should focus more on inbound marketing in the next quarter, ” is better than stating, “ These numbers don’t look too good. ” 

The first response invites others to become active in the conversation, while the second acts as more of a deterrent. 

Do you want to become better at giving and requesting constructive feedback? If that’s the case, head to the blog posts below:

  • How to give constructive feedback when working remotely
  • How to ask your manager for feedback

Tips for improving the communication process

Now that we’re familiar with the elements and phases of the communication process, we can focus on learning how to ensure the best possible outcomes. 

Tip #1: Beware of bypassing

Business communication is complex, and unless you’re careful, bypassing could become a common occurrence. 

Bypassing is a phenomenon that happens when the source and receiver attach 2 wholly different meanings to a single word . 

For example, if you’ve just landed your first job after graduating from university, seeing “ meeting cadence ” mentioned in a message from your manager might confuse you. 

You may immediately think of the more well-known definition of the word “ cadence, ” which is the inflection of someone’s voice. But, your manager is referring to the frequency of team meetings, and it could take a while to straighten things out.

The good news is that business communication doesn’t have to be convoluted. You can prevent bypassing if you:

  • Avoid using business jargon in the workplace ,
  • Use simple and clear language , and
  • Proofread your messages and emails to eliminate spelling errors and vague wording .

Tip #2: Strive to be a more attentive listener

Even when the source goes to great lengths to neatly package their message, their efforts will go to waste if the interlocutor is a poor listener. 

Fortunately, active listening is a skill, and you can learn how to leverage it to your advantage in business communication. 

In Communication in Business: Strategies and Skills , Judith Dwyer cites Gamble and Gamble (1996), who have identified 6 common behaviors most poor listeners exhibit . 

These disruptive behaviors are:

  • Dart thrower : Questioning the speaker and the validity of their story as soon as they make a mistake, no matter how minor it is. 
  • Ear hog : Dominating the communication situation by pushing your story and preventing others from telling their side. 
  • Bee : Only listening to parts of the conversation that interest you the most and ignoring everything else. 
  • Earmuff : Sidetracking the conversation to avoid confronting specific information. 
  • Gap filler : Coming up with additional information to prove you’ve heard the whole story, although you only zeroed in on parts of it. 
  • Nodder : Feigning listening by pretending to pay attention to the speaker. In reality, you are thinking about a different topic entirely.

Sometimes, we inadvertently engage in the above behaviors, so it’s essential to join every communication act without preconceived notions. 

According to Joanna Staniszewska , a seasoned marketing, communication and HR professional, communication is a two-way street, and active listening is one of the most effective strategies:

Joanna Staniszewska

“ Actively listening to others fosters trust and understanding. Encourage individuals to pay attention, ask questions, and confirm their comprehension during conversations. ”

🎓 Pumble Pro Tip 

Do you want to learn more tips on becoming a present and attentive listener? If so, we have just the post for you:

  • How to engage in deep listening in the workplace

Tip #3: Create an environment that encourages feedback

Establishing stable feedback loops positively impacts employee engagement , creating a safe space for people to self-advocate at work . 

A system that compels team members to speak up without reservations in manager-employee relationships is invaluable. It can act both as a channel for employee recognition and resolving conflicts before they snowball into large-scale issues. 

Staniszewska mentioned that a stable communication process should rely on sustainable feedback loops:

“ Emphasize the need for feedback mechanisms that allow individuals to assess their communication effectiveness continually. This can be formal, like surveys, or informal, like regular team check-ins .”

So, how do you create a positive feedback loop that reinforces the communication process?

You can start by:

  • Leading with empathy: Emphasize to others you’re ready to hear them out without prejudice or judgment.
  • Giving feedback in person: Face-to-face meetings or video calls often feel more authentic than messages and emails.
  • Managing your emotions: Tap into your emotional intelligence and approach each situation with a clear mind.

Here’s how that may look.

assignment on communication process

When eliciting feedback, remember not to rush the interaction, states Dawid Wiacek , a communication and executive career coach:

Dawid Wiącek

“ In today’s business landscape, speed is often a competitive advantage, but when it comes to success in communication, one of the keys is actually slowing down. To ensure the other person has digested your message accurately, it’s helpful to ask them to summarize it in their own words. 

You can ask what resonated about the message and what didn’t; what they felt was the core element, and what was secondary; what was validating and perhaps surprising. The point here is you want to engage the recipient and make sure that the original message was translated appropriately and not lost in translation. ”

Tip #4: Think about where you (and others) come from 

Although it can be nerve-wracking, giving feedback to colleagues is part of virtually all jobs. 

Ideally, we deliver critiques in a constructive and empowering manner, but that’s not always how things pan out. That’s not to say we purposely try to offend our coworkers. The situation may simply be a result of cultural differences. 

Let’s take the below exchange as an example. 

assignment on communication process

Carol, who is from the US, sends her well wishes to Jamie, who has been working from Japan for the past 6 years. A minor misunderstanding arises because Carol assumed Jamie and she would interpret the meaning of an emoji in the same way. 

This type of blunder can be funny — Carol and Jamie were able to clear the air quickly and move on. 

But, what would happen in a more serious situation, such as a performance review?

For instance, moving a manager from Germany to take over a department in South Korea can become a disaster if no forethought goes into it. In Korean society and business, respect is determined through a mix of age, experience, and hierarchical position. 

Thus, if the German manager is older than part of his Korean staff, they will be less likely to push back against unwarranted criticism. Moreover, after receiving information from the manager, they could even return disingenuous feedback in an effort to save face. 

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that all cross-cultural collaboration is doomed. 

When we spoke to Joanna Staniszewska, she highlighted the importance of cultural intelligence and sensitivity:

“ Communication takes place in diverse environments. Stress the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity. Encourage individuals to adapt their communication styles to resonate with the audience’s cultural norms and expectations. ”

Tip #5: Read up on communication styles

Understanding your preferred communication style and tweaking it to align with your coworkers can make a difference in team collaboration and communication . 

When a colleague abruptly shuts down during the communication process, it might not be because of something you’ve intentionally said or done. Perhaps your personal communication style got in the way, and the person on the other end felt you were disregarding their ideas and opinions. Although you thought you were assertively standing up for your idea, your coworker may have felt like you were subtly attacking theirs.  

Changing how you communicate can point you toward professional success, and a good starting point is bolstering your emotional intelligence . Through a combination of social awareness and self-awareness, you’ll gradually gain more control over how you speak and act in the workplace. 

In the case that you need more guidance, another strategy would be enrolling in a professional development course that could help you become a more transparent and flexible communicator. 

When a communication break occurs, it isn’t always possible to salvage the communication process. However, with the proper education and a dash of commitment, you can learn how to facilitate productive and open conversations. 

For more extensive information on different communication styles, as well as becoming more flexible during business communication, check out this guide:

  • Communication styles

Tip #6: Take into account the changing demographics of the workforce

Another unique issue in workplace communication is learning how to connect and collaborate with colleagues from different generations .

We all have specific habits and preferences, and the generational gap can sometimes put our behavior at odds with that of our older or younger coworkers. 

Navigating these differences and refraining from resorting to stereotypes is the way to go when creating a well-connected and inclusive environment. 

So, be honest about your preferred ways of communication and respect the boundaries of your team members. As soon as they notice these efforts, they’ll feel more at ease when asking for help or reaching out about a work task. 

Are you interested in learning more about enhancing communication across generations within your team or company? Then check out this exhaustive blog post:

  • How to improve communication across generations at work

Why is the communication process important?

Through the way we communicate, we learn not only how to get ahead in life but also how to form stable relationships. 

If you think of life skills as a tower of cards, communication is near the bottom, laying a solid foundation. Should this card wobble slightly, it will jeopardize the stability of the entire tower. 

Moreover, by mastering the communication process, you :

  • Readjust your self-perception and how you view the world around you ,
  • Become a better learner , and
  • Learn how to represent both your employer and yourself in the best light . 

In the following sections, we will devote more attention to exploring the above three points. 

Reason #1: The communication process affects how we view others and ourselves

The phrase “ at a loss for words ” aptly describes how it feels to come out of a communication situation unsuccessful.

Not only do you feel like you’re missing the right words, but it is as if you’re also missing a vital part of yourself. This unpleasant emotion sprouts because we share a part of our worldview with our interlocutor when communicating . We often inadvertently reveal the reasoning behind our train of thought and how we believe everything fits into this neatly organized snapshot of the world. 

And, you go through the same scenario when listening to friends or coworkers. You take in their appearance, facial expressions, and words to form an assumption about what their values and priorities may be. 

It’s not always feasible to pick the right words or rein in your facial expressions, but learning how the communication process works does help. 

For example, you’ll realize that what you say could reveal just as much about yourself as the topic you are discussing. Thus, rather than simply waiting for your turn to speak, you might make a conscious effort to actively listen and understand the other person’s perspective.

Reason #2: The communication process affects the way we learn

In Business Communication for Success , McLean reminds anyone willing to work on their communication skills that this endeavor will require:

  • Persistence, and
  • Self-correction.

McLean likens becoming a better communicator to sharpening other valuable life skills. There was a time when you didn’t drive a car or have a clue about digital literacy , yet, over time (and much trial and error), you’ve become a much more capable person. 

So, while results won’t come overnight, and you might get tangled up in a few difficult conversations at work , the effort is worth it. The key is to keep talking and listening. Soon enough, you may catch yourself broaching new subjects more assertively . 

Reason #3: The communication process helps us put our best foot forward

When you work in a team, how you communicate can paint a positive image of both you and your coworkers . When your communication style oozes professionalism and respectfulness, reaching agreements and negotiating deals becomes much less of a hassle. 

Not to mention that, paired with an excellent work ethic, strong communication is a huge plus when it comes to advancing to a leadership position. And, should you decide to change companies, sharp oral and written communication skills will significantly improve your employment prospects. 

If you make a misstep while joining a new team, good communication can help you iron out any lingering issues. But, to avoid these awkward situations altogether and learn how to make a good first impression, check out the below blog post:

  • How to professionally introduce yourself

Be mindful of the communication process for long-term success

Whether you want to speak more candidly with family members or reach the next level in your career, knowing what the communication process is and why it matters can give you a head start. 

So, before you craft your next report or begin to lose patience with a coworker, try to:

  • Remember the 8 elements of the communication process ,
  • Identify your role in the communication situation , and
  • Pinpoint your personal drawbacks and work on being a more thoughtful and involved conversation participant . 

Not only will you see better outcomes following your exchanges with colleagues and collaborators, but you’ll find that your interactions have become more engaging and enjoyable. 

References:

  • Berlo, D. K. (1963). The process of communication: An introduction to theory and practice. Holt Rinehart and Winston. Retrieved September 2023 from https://archive.org/details/processofcommuni0000berl/mode/2up
  • Christian, A. (2022, September 26). Why ‘digital literacy’ is now a workplace non-negotiable. BBC Worklife. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220923-why-digital-literacy-is-now-a-workplace-non-negotiable-
  • Dwyer, J. (2008). Communication in business: Strategies and skills (4th ed.). Pearson Education Australia. Retrieved September 2023 from https://archive.org/details/communicationinb0000dwye
  • Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2011). Business communication: Process & product (7th ed.). South-Western.
  • Leavitt, H. J., & Mueller, R. A. H. (1951). Some effects of feedback on communication. Human Relations, 4, 401–410. https://doi.org/10.1177/001872675100400406
  • McLean, S. (2010). Business communication for success. Flat World Knowledge.
  • McLean, S. A. (2003). The basics of speech communication. Allyn and Bacon. Retrieved September 2023 from https://archive.org/details/basicsofspeechco00mcle/mode/2up
  • Molinsky, A. (2014, August 7). Common Language Doesn’t Equal Common Culture. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2013/04/common-language-doesnt-equal-c
  • Panel, E. (2021, May 27). How To Encourage Candid Employee Feedback: 14 Tips For CEOs. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2021/05/27/how-to-encourage-candid-employee-feedback-14-tips-for-ceos/?sh=2805bfec2407

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1.2: Basic Process Models of Communication

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  • Page ID 90671

  • Daniel Usera & contributing authors
  • Austin Community College

LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Identify and define the basic components of different communication models.
  • Discuss how various communication models can be applied to real-world situations.

BASIC PROCESS MODELS OF COMMUNICATION

Imagine you are learning how to build your own computer. You are familiar with how to use computer technology and on a functional level you understand how computers work. Have you ever taken the time to examine and learn the process of computing to understand the series of actions necessary to make them work?

Learning about the communication process is like learning about any other process. We are familiar with different ways we communicate through channels like the spoken word or text messaging. What are some of the processes that shape communication? How can we understand these processes to become more competent communicators?

Understanding interpersonal communication is enhanced by internalizing processes of interaction. To continue this process, we turn to interaction models that elucidate the unique phenomena involved in human communication. The basic process models covered in this module do not include every model but focus on important models pertinent to grasping communication.

Transmission models

Transmission models of communication focuses on the transportation of message(s) from one communicator to another to disseminate knowledge over space (Sapienza, et. al., 2016). Transmission models are focuse on communication as a linear process where the sender is projecting a message to a target without much consideration to ongoing process or feedback loops as described in other models.

In 1949 mathematician Claude Shannon and engineer Warren Weaver developed a basic transmission model of communication that serves as a foundational tool to understanding the communication process (Shannon & Weaver, 1949). The Shannon and Weaver model breaks communication down into five parts- Sender, Encoder, Channel, Decoder, Receiver (Figure 1).

assignment on communication process

Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Shannon-Weaver’s Model of Communication

Note . Notice how the sender and receiver both undergo the transaction simultaneously.

The sender is the original information source of the message. Encoder refers to the transmitter that converts the message into signals. Channel is the means by which the message is conveyed. Decoder is the location of the signal that converts the message. Receiver is the intended target of the message. As a message passes from sender to receiver, it can be impeded by noise , which can alter or distort the message meant for the receiver.

For example, let’s say that Blake is a chemistry professor who is explaining the periodic table in class. Blake would represent the sender or information source.

Blake’s means of encoding or transmitting would be his brain converting the ideas into a message. The channel professor Blake is using is their voice accompanied by writing a diagram on the board.

The decoders would be the ears and eyes of the students in the class. The receivers or destinations are the brains of the students. In this chemistry class there is an abundance of noise that is inhibiting the transmission of the message that Professor Blake is sending. Jamie and Dakota are mischievous class clown types who are intent on derailing the learning experience by making various animal noises at their lab station.

Alex is more interested in watching YouTube videos on a phone with one earbud in and one out, feigning attention to Professor Blake’s message. Meanwhile, Jordan who is desperately attempting to learn chemistry is internally enraged at the inattentive classmates and periodically sneers and makes gestures imploring others to be silent.

In mass mediated communication, messages are encoded into various channels. In a State of the Union address, the President of the United States has a target audience- the American public. The President and his team craft the speech over a period to be delivered to Congress and broadcast live to a television audience. This speech will be simultaneously broadcast through radio and internet channels.

The process described above differs from the immediate interpersonal context of transaction because it is not as dependent on immediate feedback. Yes, people will respond in real time through discussions and social media posts. However, this has no impact on the original message created as it was designed as a one-way communication event. How the President’s message is interpreted will differ significantly due to subjective interpretations based on identity.

Even in a process that is more one-way than immediately interactive, human beings are still communicating meaning to each other. Understanding the differences in structure, code and channel help us gain insight in how these processes influence our interactions on a macro and micro level. In a State of the Union address the President is speaking to the entire country with specific ideas and declarations to embolden ardent supporters.

All of these examples show how noise can impede the quality of a message. Now that we have briefly discussed the Shannon and Weaver model, we will turn to Berlo’s adaptation of the Shannon and Weaver model.

Berlo’s SMCR Model

In 1960, David Berlo expanded the Shannon and Weaver model to more accurately reflect the communication process (Turaga, 2016). Berlo’s model is divided into four basic components: source, message, and channel and receiver. In each pillar of Berlo’s model are subcategories that describe the interaction process in greater detail (Figure 2).

assignment on communication process

Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): Berlo’s SMCR Model of Communication

Adapted from Berlo's SMCR Model of Communication, by Communication Theory ( https://www.communicationtheory.org/...communication/ )

The source is the origin of the message. Source can also be analogous to sender as the messenger provides the initial context of the interaction. The source must have basic communication skills such as reading, speaking and listening to be an effective communicator. In addition, the attitude of the sender is important in developing a relationship with the audience. The sender must also be knowledgeable regarding the subject matter she/he is discussing.

Inherent in every message are the social systems (values, beliefs, religion) the sender is immersed in, which impacts the rhetorical choices the sender makes. Culture also influences the sender’s message as messages can be interpreted differently depending on an individual’s cultural background.

The first element to consider in a message is content. What is included in the message from beginning to end? Elements are additional aspects such as gestures and signs, that accompany the transmission of the message. Treatment is the way the message is sent, similar to gift wrapping of a present where the message itself is wrapped inside the treatment.

Structure refers to the framework of the message or how the message is constructed. Code refers to form, i.e. text or language that the message is conveyed in.

Similar to the Shannon and Weaver model, channel refers to the medium in which the message is delivered. In order for the message to be received it must be perceived by one or more of the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch or taste. Most often, messages are conveyed through sight and sound but non-verbal elements such as touch, taste or smell can also convey meaning, as any chef or dancer will tell you.

Receiver is the person, destination or decoder of the message. As we discussed with the sender, attitude, knowledge, social systems and culture must be considered in understanding how this process works.

Berlo’s model is a simplistic description of the communication process. All messages begin with a person of origin and destination. Let’s return to our scenario involving Professor Blake’s chemistry class. Professor Blake needs to relay and important message to students involving next week’s test. Blake wants to inform them about changes to the study guide but has noticed a few of the students were absent in the last class meeting.

Professor Blake is the source and the message describes the important changes. To ensure continuity, Blake decides to send the message through the channel of email. The message is marked “URGENT” in capital letters to increase the chances the students will open it.

The tag “URGENT” is an example of an element to punctuate the message. Despite the fact Blake has been frustrated lately with some of the students in class, Blake makes sure to use an upbeat tone to not display frustration. Good teachers need to be balanced and exhibit patience.

Always remember attitude is important in developing and maintaining a relationship with the audience. If Professor Blake does not get the desired feedback then changes may need to be made to the communication channel or code.

Transactional model

The transactional model of communication is a more simplified model for understanding the communication process. Developed by Dean Barnlund (2008), the transactional model can be understood as a circular model of communication, more focused on the simultaneous interaction of participants than a linear process (Figure 3).

Both sender and receiver are continually affected by the messages being sent and received back and forth. The transactional model reflects an exchange of ideas, meaning and feelings. Similar to a relationship between a business owner and a client, communication depends on the giving and receiving of information or content.

assignment on communication process

Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): Transactional Model of Communication

Note . Observe that the Transactional Model recognizes feedback in communication, suggesting the joint activity and meaning-making that occurs between interlocutors.

In the transactional model, communication is simultaneous and interdependent. Riley is a physical therapist who helps clients recover from injuries. Much of Riley’s job is to understand the pain and discomfort of the clients in order to effectively help them recuperate. In this situation, both Riley and the clients must exchange information in order to accomplish mutual goals. Riley wants to help the clients recover and the clients want to feel better.

Riley’s newest client, Cameron is a challenge to help. Cameron has suffered from several injuries from playing soccer, including a few concussions. The problem is Cameron does not like to verbally disclose the injuries because of the desire to continue playing. This unwillingness to disclose injuries makes it difficult for Riley to properly treat Cameron.

In this situation, both Riley and Cameron are dependent on each other to reach the desired outcome. They both have different goals. While Riley wants to do the job properly and ensure Cameron’s health and safety, Cameron is reluctant to disclose information in order to stay on the field. Each person in this situation must mitigate the other’s feelings, ideas and goals in real time to come to a shared meaning or mutually beneficial outcome.

The transactional model of communication emphasizes the role of feedback and the ongoing negotiation of participants in an interpersonal context. How is communication different in situations that are less personal and immediate? To help answer this question, we turn to the transmission model of communication.

Now that we have discussed the idea of communication as transmission we turn to a discussion of rituals. Often, our communication practices depend on a repetitive dynamic of sharing meaning through symbolic interaction and the reinforcement of cultural values.

Ritual model

The ritual model of communication focuses on the sharing of information and preserving that information over time (Figure 5). Ritual communication relies on shared belief systems (Carey, 2009).

assignment on communication process

Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\): Ritual model

Note . The ritual model emphasizes how communicators draw from outside sources to establish the meaning of everyday messages.

Developed by James Carey, the ritual model considers symbolism, shared practices and codes which produce a cultural identity. An audience is more participant than receiver in an ongoing dance of familiar steps. Communication is not a simple process of sending a message to a receiver. Communication is shaped by the process itself, rather than the content of the message.

Take the evening news for example. Often these broadcasts begin with morbid subjects like the coverage of a murder or kidnapping. Then the broadcast will cover the weather, sports and a human-interest story. Viewers have an expectation of how this format will proceed because of the familiarity of the format.

Content does not change much from broadcast to broadcast as the same types of stories are plugged into the recognizable format. Evening news broadcasts may be viewed while the family eats dinner and discusses the day’s proceedings. Engagement with the evening news serves as cultural currency for the consumer and the messages therein become conversation points to expand on in everyday conversations. Thus, communication content is shaped directly by the evening news ritual.

In closing, we have covered three types of models of communication to understand how interactions work and are affected by feedback and context. Our everyday interactions are shaped by a variety of factors that can alter the meaning or understanding of content. Often, the same message can be understood more effectively by changing the code or channel in which it is presented. By learning process models, we can more effectively encode and decode messaging to become more competent communicators.

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Activity 1: Personal Model of Interpersonal Communication

In small groups of 3-5 students, have them develop their own model of interpersonal communication. Include all of the components that are necessary to describe how communication between people works. The model could be a drawing or an object (such as a toaster or slinky toy) that symbolizes the communication process. Prepare to share the model with the class, explaining in detail about the model.

Activity 2: Barriers to Communication

In small groups of 3-5 students, assign each group a different communication context (i.e., verbal, written and/or online). Have them discuss within their group potential communication barriers for their context and ways to reduce those barriers. They should be prepared to discuss their answers with the class. During this discuss, the instructor should highlight common barriers that overlap the varied contexts for further discussion about the communication process (in general).

Examples of different communication contexts that may be used in this activity include:

· Verbal : interpersonal conversations with friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and others; presentations in public settings; and communication business situations.

· Written : writing a personal letter; text messaging with family, friends or others; and business writing such as a proposal, memo or presentation.

· Online : emailing family or friends; using social media to connect with friends or others; communicating with others via instant messaging or video conferencing software.

Barnlund, D. C. (2008). A transactional model of communication. In. C. D. Mortensen (Ed.), Communication Theory (2 nd ed., pp. 47-57). Routledge.

Carey, J.W. (2009). A cultural approach to communication. In Communication as Culture (pp. 11-28). Routledge.

Sapienza, Z.S., et. al. (2016). The transmission model of communication: Toward a multidisciplinary explication. A Review of General Semantics, 73 (4).

Shannon, C.E., & Weaver, W. (1949). The mathematical theory of communication . University of Illinois Press.

Turaga, R. (2016). Organizational Models of Communication. IUP Journal of Soft Skills , 10 (2), 56-65.

  • Sender: The original information source of the message.
  • Encoding: The translation of an idea into a message that can be understood by the receiver.
  • Decoding: The translation of the message into meaning by the receiver.
  • Channel: The means by which the message is conveyed.
  • Receiver: The intended target audience of the message.
  • Noise: Interference that impedes the transmission of a message.
  • Source: The origin of the message.
  • Element: An additional aspect that accompanies the transmission of the message (i.e., a gesture or sign).
  • Treatment: The manner in which the message is sent.
  • Structure: The framework of the message and how the message is constructed.
  • Code: The text or language the message is conveyed in.

Multimedia 1: Barnlund’s Transactional Model of Communication

Watch this animated video about Barnlunds Transactional Model. How does it compare and contrast with the other models of communication?

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrFXNRzfJKU

Multimedia 2: Communication as Culture, a conversation with James Carey

Watch this conversation with renowned scholar, James Carey, as he discuss the ritual model of communciation. What are some concepts that he mentions that add to what was mentioned in this chapter?

You can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mozx7z6ues

Module 8: Communication in the Workplace

The process of communication, learning outcomes.

  • Describe the communication process

What does communication look like? When you think about communication in its simplest form, the process is really quite linear. There’s a sender of a message—let’s say you—talking. You, the sender, have a thought. You put that thought into words, which is encoding the message.

And then there’s a recipient of a message—in this case your coworker Nikola. The message comes out of your mouth, and then it is decoded, or processed, by the recipient, Nikola, who then decides on the meaning of your words as a result of that decoding process. She hears your words and considers their meaning—put simply, she’s listening. It looks something like this:

Flowchart of the communication process model: the sender encodes a message which is decoded by the receiver.

But what the sender says isn’t always what the reciever hears. Encoding and decoding don’t always happen seamlessly. In this instance, Nikola might “tune out” and miss some of what you said, or she may hear your words correctly, but misunderstand their meaning. It may even be a concept that is doomed to be misunderstood before your words are even formed, due to existing difference between you and your coworker. When this happens, it’s called noise.

A flowchart of the communication process model, this time with "noise" being introduced to the sender, message, and receiver.

If Nikola is not clear on your message, she may stop you and say, “Wait. You’re saying this. Do I understand you correctly?” This is called feedback.

A flowchart of the communication process model, this time with "feedback" flowing from the "receiver" to the "sender".

Your recipient has let you know that you’ve been misunderstood by giving you feedback. At this point you can

  • Repeat the message a second time
  • Ask some clarifying questions to determine why your recipient didn’t understand what you said, and then address those issues on your next attempt to communicate your idea.

Feedback can come in a variety of forms, too. In this case, Nikola is repeating your statement and asking for confirmation that she heard it correctly. In another case, you may have told Nikola that to find the restroom she needs to head down a hall and turn right. When she heads down the hall and turns left, that, too, is feedback letting you know you’ve been misunderstood.

Often that’s the kind of feedback an organization has to navigate. Organizations issue a communication, perhaps in the form of a memo, and send it out to all their employees. Employees read it. If the message is understood and appropriate actions are taken, all is well. There may have been noise, but it did not get in the way of the message. If employees start firing emails back to the originator of the message, asking questions or clarifying points, they are engaging in feedback. If they take action that is not appropriate, that’s also feedback. The message needs to be reiterated, framed differently, to clarify portions that were not communicated the first time.

This whole process, the steps between a source and receiver that result in the transference and understanding of meaning, is called the communication feedback loop. In an organizational communication feedback loop, we can also consider the channel of communication in the message. The channel is the medium by which the message travels. Newsletters, one-on-one meetings, town halls, video conferencing—all of these are channels of communication.

A completed flowchart of the communication process model. A sender encodes a message, using a specific channel, and the receiver decodes the message. Noise can be introduced by the sender, message, channel, or receiver. The receiver sends feedback to the sender.

Practice Question

There are formal channels of communication in an organization. These are channels of communication established by an organization to transmit messages that impact the work-related activities of its employees. They can follow the authority chain in an organization, and would include things like messages from leadership, information from the human resources department about benefits, or even articles recognizing an employee for great work.

The informal channels of communication in an organization are personal and social. Your mind may automatically go to “water cooler gossip” and, while that is definitely an informal channel of communication, there are plenty of ways informal communication channels do an organization good. For instance, a new process may be in the testing phase with a group of employees. Those employees can iron out the wrinkles of the process and become enthused about it, acting as ambassadors for the new method with other employees before it’s even rolled out. The informal channel, in this example, is communication that will assist with change management.

By understanding the goals of communication and how communication operates, an organization can ensure their employees have the right information to do their jobs, and ultimately open the door to increased engagement and productivity.

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Unit 2: The Communication Process

Learning objectives.

target icon

  • illustrate the 5 step communication process
  • explain the end goal of communication
  • explain barriers to clear communication

Knowledge Check: Pre-Learning Quiz

Pre-Learning Quiz

assignment on communication process

Dr. Guffey’s Listening Quiz

How good are you at listening? This interactive quiz enables you to quickly compare your own listening behaviours with behaviours normally thought to be associated with exceptionally good listening skills

Introduction

Good communication skills are essential to effective business communications.  At its core, the aim of communication is to transmit information from one person to another so that the sender and receiver understand the message in the same way. The responsibility for clear communication usually falls on the sender. But the receiver is also responsible to confirm a clear understanding of the message. Communication is a dynamic and cyclical process.

Breaking down the communication cycle into its parts is helpful to understand the responsibilities of both the sender and receiver of communication, as well as to identify communication barriers.

The 5 Step Communication Process

Two silhouetted heads talking with identical brain patterns and labelling showing how a message is encoded by one, sent to and decoded and interpreted by the other, who then encodes a feedback message that is decoded and interpreted by the first speaker.

Step 1: Idea Formation  –  The communication process begins when the sender has an idea to be communicated.  The idea will be influenced by complex factors surrounding the sender.  The sender must begin by clarifying the idea and purpose.  What exactly does the sender want to achieve?  How is the message likely to be perceived?  Knowing this information provides a higher chance of successful communication

Step 2: Message Encoding –  The idea must be encoded into words, symbols, and gestures that will convey meaning.  Because no two people interpret information in the exact same way, the sender must be careful to choose words, symbols and gestures that are commonly understood to reduce the chances of misunderstanding.  Therefore, a sender must be aware of the receiver’s communication skills, attitudes, skills, experiences, and culture to ensure clear communication.

Step 3: Message Transmission: Choosing the medium to transmit the message is the next step in the communication process.  Messages can be transmitted in a verbal, written, or visual manner (see Table 1).  For clear communication to occur, the medium and message must match

Table 2.1: Message Transmission Mediums

Step 4: Decoding – When the message reaches the receiver, the message must be decoded into its intended meaning.  Therefore, the receiver must translate the words, symbols, and gestures as the sender intended. Because no two people interpret information in the exact same way, incorrectly decoding a message can lead to misunderstanding.  Successful decoding is more likely when the receiver creates a receptive environment and ignores distractions.  Alert receivers strive to understand both verbal and nonverbal cues, avoid prejudging the message, and expect to learn from the communication.

Step 5: Feedback – A vital part of the communication process is feedback.  Feedback occurs the sender and receiver check to ensure the message was understood as intended.  Feedback is a shared responsibility between the sender and the receiver and can be verbal or non-verbal.  For example, the sender can elicit feedback by asking, “Do you have any questions?” The sender can also improve the feedback process by only providing as much information as the receiver can handle.  Receivers can encourage clear communication by providing clear, timely, descriptive, and non-judgmental feedback.  For example, the receiver can shake his/her head up and down to confirm “yes” I have a question.

The video below, Model of Communication (2016), illustrates the communication process.

As you can see, this whole process is easier done than said because you encode incredible masses of data to transmit to others all day long in multiple channels, often at once, and are likewise bombarded with a constant multi-channel stream of information in each of the five senses that you decode without being even consciously aware of this complex process. You just do it. Even when you merely talk to someone in person, you’re communicating not just the words you’re voicing, but also through your tone of voice, volume, speed, facial expressions, eye contact, posture, hand movements, style of dress, etc. All such channels convey information besides the words themselves, which, if they were extracted into a transcript of words on a page or screen, communicate relatively little.

In professional situations, especially in important ones such as job interviews or meetings with clients where your success depends entirely on how well you communicate across the verb

and the nonverbal channels, it’s extremely important that you be in complete control of the communication process in order to present yourself as a detail-oriented pro —one that can be trusted to get the job done perfectly.

Knowledge Check

Key Takeaway

key icon

  • As a cyclical exchange of messages, the goal of communication is to ensure that you’ve moved an idea in your head into someone else’s head so that they understand your idea as you understood it.
  • The communication process has five steps: idea formation, encoding, channel selection, decoding and feedback.
  • Anything that interferes with clear communication is called noise.
  • Noise can interfere with each step of the communication process.

Exercises 2.1

pen and paper icon

Guffey, M., Loewry, D., & Griffin, E. (2019). Business communication: Process and product (6th ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education. Retrieved from http://www.cengage.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20b&product_isbn_issn=9780176531393&template=NELSON

FlatGrin. (2016). Model of communication [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HXa320iTPY

Kisspng. (2018, March 17). Clip art – Two people talking. Retrieved from https://www.kisspng.com/png-clip-art-two-people-talking-569998/

Schramm, W. L. (1954). The Process and Effects of Mass Communication . Champaign, IL: U of Illinois P.

Young Entrepreneurs Forum. (2016). 1 0 barriers to effective communication [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slq1nAhZuqE&list=RDCMUCydShVfAub9TSmL1N4BTlGQ&start_radio=1&t=1.

Web Editor 4. (2017, Januray 12). A pattern of brain activity may link stress to heart attacks. Daily Messenger. Retrieved from https://dailymessenger.com.pk/2017/01/12/a-pattern-of-brain-activity-may-link-stress-to-heart-attacks/

Communication@Work Copyright © 2019 by Jordan Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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1.2 The Communication Process

Learning objectives.

target icon

  • illustrate the 5 step communication process
  • explain the end goal of communication
  • explain barriers to clear communication

Pre-Learning Quiz

assignment on communication process

Dr. Guffey’s Listening Quiz [1]

How good are you at listening? This interactive quiz enables you to quickly compare your own listening behaviours with behaviours normally thought to be associated with exceptionally good listening skills

Introduction

Good communication skills are essential to effective business communications.  At its core, the aim of communication is to transmit information from one person to another so that the sender and receiver understand the message in the same way. The responsibility for clear communication usually falls on the sender. But the receiver is also responsible to confirm a clear understanding of the message. Communication is a dynamic and cyclical process.

Breaking down the communication cycle into its parts is helpful to understand the responsibilities of both the sender and receiver of communication, as well as to identify communication barriers.

The 5 Step Communication Process

Two silhouetted heads talking with identical brain patterns and labelling showing how a message is encoded by one, sent to and decoded and interpreted by the other, who then encodes a feedback message that is decoded and interpreted by the first speaker.

Step 1: Idea Formation  –  The communication process begins when the sender has an idea to be communicated.  The idea will be influenced by complex factors surrounding the sender.  The sender must begin by clarifying the idea and purpose.  What exactly does the sender want to achieve?  How is the message likely to be perceived?  Knowing this information provides a higher chance of successful communication

Step 2: Message Encoding –  The idea must be encoded into words, symbols, and gestures that will convey meaning.  Because no two people interpret information in the exact same way, the sender must be careful to choose words, symbols and gestures that are commonly understood to reduce the chances of misunderstanding.  Therefore, a sender must be aware of the receiver’s communication skills, attitudes, skills, experiences, and culture to ensure clear communication.

Step 3: Message Transmission: Choosing the medium to transmit the message is the next step in the communication process.  Messages can be transmitted in a verbal, written, or visual manner (see Table 1).  For clear communication to occur, the medium and message must match

Table 1.2.1: Message Transmission Mediums

Step 4: Decoding – When the message reaches the receiver, the message must be decoded into its intended meaning.  Therefore, the receiver must translate the words, symbols, and gestures as the sender intended. Because no two people interpret information in the exact same way, incorrectly decoding a message can lead to misunderstanding.  Successful decoding is more likely when the receiver creates a receptive environment and ignores distractions.  Alert receivers strive to understand both verbal and nonverbal cues, avoid prejudging the message, and expect to learn from the communication.

Step 5: Feedback – A vital part of the communication process is feedback.  Feedback occurs the sender and receiver check to ensure the message was understood as intended.  Feedback is a shared responsibility between the sender and the receiver and can be verbal or non-verbal.  For example, the sender can elicit feedback by asking, “Do you have any questions?” The sender can also improve the feedback process by only providing as much information as the receiver can handle.  Receivers can encourage clear communication by providing clear, timely, descriptive, and non-judgmental feedback.  For example, the receiver can shake his/her head up and down to confirm “yes” I have a question.

As you can see, this whole process is easier done than said because you encode incredible masses of data to transmit to others all day long in multiple channels, often at once, and are likewise bombarded with a constant multi-channel stream of information in each of the five senses that you decode without being even consciously aware of this complex process. You just do it. Even when you merely talk to someone in person, you’re communicating not just the words you’re voicing, but also through your tone of voice, volume, speed, facial expressions, eye contact, posture, hand movements, style of dress, etc. All such channels convey information besides the words themselves, which, if they were extracted into a transcript of words on a page or screen, communicate relatively little.

In professional situations, especially in important ones such as job interviews or meetings with clients where your success depends entirely on how well you communicate across the verb

and the nonverbal channels, it’s extremely important that you be in complete control of the communication process in order to present yourself as a detail-oriented pro —one that can be trusted to get the job done perfectly.

Key Takeaway

key icon

  • As a cyclical exchange of messages, the goal of communication is to ensure that you’ve moved an idea in your head into someone else’s head so that they understand your idea as you understood it.
  • The communication process has five steps: idea formation, encoding, channel selection, decoding and feedback.
  • Anything that interferes with clear communication is called noise.
  • Noise can interfere with each step of the communication process.

Exercises 2.1

pen and paper icon

  • Guffey, M., Loewry, D., & Griffin, E. (2019). Business communication: Process and product (6th ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education. Retrieved from http://www.cengage.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20b&product_isbn_issn=9780176531393&template=NELSON ↵

Communication: Fundamentals for the Workplace Copyright © 2021 by Jordan Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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2 Introduction to Communication

What is communication, learning objectives.

Upon completing this chapter | module, you should be able to:

  • describe the communication process and the eight elements of communication listed.
  • categorize given premises as one of the eight elements of communication.

Think about communication in your daily life. When you make a phone call, send a text message, or like a post on Facebook, what is the purpose of that activity? Have you ever felt confused by what someone is telling you or argued over a misunderstood email? The underlying issue may very well be a communication deficiency.

There are many current models and theories that explain, plan, and predict communication processes and their successes or failures. In the workplace, we might be more concerned about practical knowledge and skills than theory. However, good practice is built on a solid foundation of understanding and skill. For this reason this module will help you develop foundational skills in key areas of communication, with a focus on applying theory and providing opportunities for practice.

Defining Communication

The word communication is derived from a Latin word meaning “to share.” Communication can be defined as “purposefully and actively exchanging information between two or more people to convey or receive the intended meanings through a shared system of signs and (symbols)” (“Communication,” 2015, para. 1).

Let us break this definition down by way of example. Imagine you are in a coffee shop with a friend, and they are telling you a story about the first goal they scored in hockey as a child. What images come to mind as you hear their story? Is your friend using words you understand to describe the situation? Are they speaking in long, complicated sentences or short, descriptive sentences? Are they leaning back in their chair and speaking calmly, or can you tell they are excited? Are they using words to describe the events leading up to their big goal, or did they draw a diagram of the rink and positions of the players on a napkin? Did your friend pause and wait for you to to comment throughout their story or just blast right through? Did you have trouble hearing your friend at any point in the story because other people were talking or because the milk steamer in the coffee shop was whistling?

All of these questions directly relate to the considerations for communication in this module:

  • Analyzing the Audience
  • Choosing a Communications Channel
  • Using Plain Language
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Evaluating Communication via Feedback

Before we examine each of these considerations in more detail, we should consider the elements of the communication process.

assignment on communication process

The communication process includes the steps we take in order to ensure we have succeeded in communicating. The communication process comprises essential and interconnected elements detailed in the figure above. We will continue to reflect on the story of your friend in the coffee shop to explore each element in detail.

Source: The source comes up with an idea and sends a message in order to share information with others. The source could be one other person or a group of people. In our example above, your friend is trying to share the events leading up to their first hockey goal and, likely, the feelings they had at the time as well.

Message: The message is the information or subject matter the source is intending to share. The information may be an opinion, feelings, instructions, requests, or suggestions. In our example above, your friend identified information worth sharing, maybe the size of one of the defence players on the other team, in order to help you visualize the situation.

Channels: The source may encode information in the form of words, images, sounds, body language, etc. There are many definitions and categories of communication channels to describe their role in the communication process. This module identifies  the following channels: verbal, non-verbal, written, and digital. In our example above, your friends might make sounds or use body language in addition to their words to emphasize specific bits of information. For example, when describing a large defence player on the other team, they may extend their arms to explain the height or girth of the other team’s defence player.

Receiver: The receiver is the person for whom the message is intended. This person is charged with decoding the message in an attempt to understand the intentions of the source. In our example above, you as the receiver may understand the overall concept of your friend scoring a goal in hockey and can envision the techniques your friend used. However, there may also be some information you do not understand—such as a certain term—or perhaps your friend describes some events in a confusing order. One thing the receiver might try is to provide some kind of feedback to communicate back to the source that the communication did not achieve full understanding and that the source should try again.

Environment: The environment is the physical and psychological space in which the communication is happening (Mclean, 2005). It might also describe if the space is formal or informal. In our example above, it is the coffee shop you and your friend are visiting in.

Context: The context is the setting, scene, and psychological and psychosocial expectations of the source and the receiver(s) (McLean, 2005). This is strongly linked to expectations of those who are sending the message and those who are receiving the message. In our example above, you might expect natural pauses in your friend’s storytelling that will allow you to confirm your understanding or ask a question.

Interference: There are many kinds of interference (also called “noise”) that inhibit effective communication. Interference may include poor audio quality or too much sound, poor image quality, too much or too little light, attention, etc. In our working example, the coffee shop might be quite busy and thus very loud. You would have trouble hearing your friend clearly, which in turn might cause you to miss a critical word or phrase important to the story.

Those involved in the communication process move fluidly between each of these eight elements until the process ends.

Key Takeaways and Check Ins

Now that we have defined communication and described a communication process, let’s consider communication skills that are foundational to communicating effectively.

Learning highlights

  • The goal of the communication process is to share meaning between a source and a receiver.
  • There are eight essential elements in the communication process: source, message, channel, receiver, feedback, environment, context, and interference.

Check Your Understanding

McLean, S. (2005). The basics of interpersonal communication . Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Communicatio n. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication .

Professional Communications Copyright © by Olds College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Article • 17 min read

The Communication Cycle

Six steps to better communication.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

Whether you're writing an email to a co-worker, delivering on-the-job training to a new team member, or giving an important presentation to the board of directors, you must communicate in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

But do you ever get lost while planning out your message, or struggle to identify what your audience truly needs to know?

There are so many factors to consider during preparation and presentation that it's easy to forget an important point. The Communication Cycle is a six-step process that can help you to tailor and refine your messages. Originally developed by Charles Berner, the model was updated into its modern form by Oxford professor Michael Argyle in his 1972 book, The Social Psychology of Work. [1]

The Communication Cycle helps you to ensure that you don't forget anything essential the first time you present it, and can maximize its impact. By putting the process into the form of a cycle, this approach encourages you to use the feedback you receive to improve your communications in the future.

See the transcript for this video here .

In this article, we'll examine the Communication Cycle, and look at how you can use it to improve your daily communications. We'll also look at an example which shows how you can use it to deliver important communications.

Understanding the Communication Cycle

The Communication Cycle (shown below in Figure 1) provides a handy checklist that can help you to communicate effectively with your audience.

assignment on communication process

You can apply the Communication Cycle to any situation where communication is involved, but you'll likely find it most useful for preparing and delivering important or complex communications, such as team or organizational emails, marketing materials, and presentations.

The Communication Cycle doesn't include a "test" step. However, you can still apply steps three, four, five, and six to testing your communication. (For example, by asking colleagues to proofread and comment on text, or by practicing a presentation in front of a small group.) You then use any feedback to change and improve your message when you restart the cycle.

How to Use the Communication Cycle

Follow these steps to use the cycle:

Step One: Clarify Your Aim

Organize your thoughts about the message that you want to communicate by answering these questions:

  • To whom am I communicating?
  • What message am I trying to send? What am I trying to achieve?
  • Why do I want to send this message? Do I need to send it at all?
  • What do I want my audience to feel?
  • What does my audience need or desire from this message?
  • What do I want my audience to do with this information?

Our article on The 7 Cs of Communication may be helpful during Step One. Our Communication Skills article also gives some useful tips on removing barriers to communication.

Step Two: Compose/Encode

Now that you've organized your thoughts with the questions in Step 1, start crafting your message. Ask yourself:

  • What's the best way to communicate this message?
  • What level/type of language should I use?
  • Does the audience have any background information on the topic?
  • Will my audience need any additional resources to understand my message?
  • Am I expressing emotions in my message? If so, which emotions?
  • Will the audience assume anything about me or my motives that will damage the credibility of the communication?

Our articles on The Rhetorical Triangle and Monroe's Motivated Sequence can show you how to structure your communications effectively, so that you can inspire your audience to act.

Step Three: Transmit/Deliver

The way that you communicate your message is vital to ensuring that your audience receives it effectively. Ask yourself:

  • Is this the right time to send this message?
  • What is my audience's state of mind likely to be, and what workload will they be experiencing when they receive this message? How should I present my message to take account of this?
  • Will there be any distractions that may damage the impact of the communication? (This is especially important to consider when giving a speech or presentation.)
  • Should I include anyone else in the audience?

Step Four: Receive Feedback

This is a key step in the Communication Cycle. Without feedback from your audience, you'll never know how you can improve the way that you communicate your message.

Make sure that you include some type of feedback process as part of your communication. For instance:

  • Do you know how to read body language , and could you use it to steer your presentation?
  • If you're giving a speech or presentation, will you allow time for a question-and-answer session at the end?
  • Will you have a process for getting feedback from your audience?
  • When you receive feedback, is it generally what you want and expect?

Remember to use indirect feedback here, too. Did you get the response that you wanted from your communication? Is there anything more that you can interpret from the response that you received?

Step Five: Analyze/Decode/Learn

Use the feedback that you received in Step Four to learn and grow. Depending on your situation, you might need to rewrite your message and try again. (One of the benefits of testing your message on a small scale is that you can do this before the big day.) Questions to ask yourself might include:

  • Why did you receive this feedback? What does this tell you about your message?
  • What could you have done differently to get the response that you wanted?
  • Did the audience feel the way you expected them to feel? If not, why not?
  • How should you act or behave differently to move forward?

Step Six: Change/Improve

This step completes the cycle. All of the feedback in the world won't help you unless you commit to learning and changing. Do this by:

  • Honoring and respecting the feedback that you've received. If you believe it's valid, change your message or behavior.
  • Identifying resources that can help you to improve. For instance, ask colleagues for help and advice; do more testing; or use surveys, classes, books, seminars, and so on.

A Communication Cycle Example

Using the Communication Cycle is fairly straightforward. Think of it as a checklist for creating your messages.

Here's an example of how you can use it:

You're responsible for IT in your organization, and you need to create a presentation for your CEO and executive board. The content should explain exactly what the IT department does and how much work you're all responsible for. The presentation's goal is to show how vital IT is to the organization so that you can hire additional staff to manage the workload, instead of facing budget cuts next quarter.

Here's how you could use the Communication Cycle to organize your presentation effectively.

Step One: Aim

  • The CEO and executive board.
  • I must show that IT is an essential part of the organization, and that we deserve additional funding to hire more staff.
  • Without the board's understanding, they might cut our budget next year.
  • I want them to feel excited about the valuable service that IT performs, and concerned about the threats the company might face if our staff is cut.
  • My audience needs to understand thoroughly what IT does and, specifically, that we protect the organization from daily threats. The board will need strong data about the money that we've saved the company over the past two years.
  • They must understand that giving IT additional funding is in their best interest.
  • Group presentation.
  • I should avoid using IT jargon and terms. My language should be professional, but easy to understand.
  • Some members of the executive board have only a vague understanding of what the IT department does. Others have a much sharper idea.
  • The executive board has figures to show that the IT budget is higher than that of other departments.
  • Graphs and statistics, on paper or in a PowerPoint presentation, will be helpful visuals.
  • I must express how excited I am by my job and my department, as well as the urgency we all feel when faced with additional budget cuts, especially when we provide such an important service to the organization.
  • They might assume that, since I'm in IT, I'll naturally be a poor communicator. I must prove right away that this isn't true.
  • Yes, because the board will soon approve the budget for the next year.
  • They're likely to be overloaded with information already. I must be concise, yet convincing.
  • The presentation will likely be in Conference Room A. There's a noisy air vent in that room, so I'll have to speak loudly.
  • The presentation is near the end of a long day for the executive team, so they might be tired or lose interest easily.
  • I'll allow 10 minutes at the end of the presentation for a question-and-answer session with the board.
  • I'll meet with the CEO immediately after the presentation to get his input.
  • I'm going to do some research on body language , which will help me see cues from board members on how I'm doing throughout the presentation.

Steps Five and Six: Analyze, and Improve

A few days after the presentation, your boss tells you that the board liked your message and approved additional funding, thanks to your convincing statistics and message. However, they thought that the presentation was a little too long.

With this knowledge, you commit to shortening your speeches and presentations in the future, and you'll do a better job cutting unnecessary information while you're creating your message.

The Communication Cycle is a six-step process for organizing and presenting a message effectively. You can apply it in all situations that involve communication, but it's most useful for important or complex communications.

The process follows a cycle that includes these six steps:

  • Clarify your aim.
  • Compose/Encode.
  • Transmit/Deliver.
  • Receive feedback.
  • Analyze/Decode/Learn.
  • Change/Improve.

By looping through the cycle twice or more, you can continue to improve your communications by analyzing audience response and learning from the feedback that you receive.

[1] Argyle M. (1972). 'The Social Psychology of Work,' London: (Allen Lane).

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assignment on communication process

Learn The Process Of Communication – A Journey To Professional Success

What is a communication cycle exactly? It basically involves the conveying and receiving of messages between two individuals or entities…

Learn The Process Of Communication – A Journey To Professional Success

What is a communication cycle exactly? It basically involves the conveying and receiving of messages between two individuals or entities in an easy-to-understand format. Talking and even listening are all methods of communication.

Our ability to assign values to sounds, signs, and symbols makes us different from all other animals on earth. Author and professor Yuval Noah Harari in his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind , laid emphasis on the importance of language in making humans “the smartest animals” on this planet. Thanks to communication, we are now able to do many things that were unimaginable to our cave-dwelling ancestors.

Language was developed as a means of surviving and thriving and that is true even in present times. You may be an acclaimed artist, programmer, engineer, or business person and excel in your field, but if you can’t communicate effectively, you won’t be able to thrive.

Here, we will be explaining the communication cycle and its components.

What is a communication process?

The communication process starts with the formation of ideas by the sender, who then transmits the message through a channel or medium to the receiver. The receiver gives the feedback in the form of a message or appropriate signal in the given time frame to continue the communication cycle.

Recall any conversation you have had in your life—be it enquiring about a brand new computer your friend just bought or your relatives asking you about your examinations—and you will find that it follows this process.

Elements of the communication process

There are seven important elements of the communication process. Here are the details:

The process of communication starts with the sender. This is the entity that will use the means of communication to share her thoughts. The sender starts the communication cycle by deciding to convey her thoughts and chooses the format to use.

The sender manages her thoughts, seeks clarity and decides what exactly she wants to put forth. The sender needs to gather the required information and relevant ideas in order to communicate. For example, a writer begins with an idea and transforms it into a book.

Encoding is the step in the process of communication where the sender decides how she wants to convey her thoughts. Selecting the right words, associated symbols in verbal communication or gestures, tones and sounds in nonverbal communication are ways of encoding a thought.

To make encoding easier, it is imperative to know who is the receiver. For example, Ruskin Bond writes clean and short sentences that invoke visuals to instill wonder among his readers, children.

A message is formed after the sender decides what she wants to put forth and how she wants to convey it. It’s also known as encoding. The nature of the message can change depending on the medium you use and the audience for which it is meant. Always remember that for communication to be successful, it is important that the listener or reader understands the message.

Channel or medium

In order to better explain the process of communication, one has to pay close attention to one crucial wheel of this cycle, which is the medium. This screen that you’re reading this article on, the newspaper that slides in every morning through your door, the television you watch your favorite movies on are all mediums. It’s imperative to consider the medium used for information transmission while encoding the message or it fails to reach the audience effectively.

The process of communication is incomplete without a receiver to ‘lend an ear’. Whenever a sender writes, or says or sings or expresses anything, it’s meant to be read, or experienced. The receiver is a crucial part of this process.

The receiver gathers the information presented or broadcasted by the sender and begins to understand it. We take turns between being a sender and being a receiver. You are a receiver when you watch a movie, and a sender when you tell your friends how the movie was.

No matter how well the message is crafted (or encoded), it will fail to make an impact if the receiver does not possess the tools to decode the message. For instance, a nine-year-old may not understand the point of Harari’s book.

While growing up, we also build the ability to decode various messages. Even if the word ‘beautiful’ has one meaning in all the dictionaries, globally, it would undoubtedly mean something different to different people. We decode any message by our own mechanisms, thoughts, memories and create our own meaning.

The process of communication is a long one. Communication does not stop after a thought or idea is expressed or a sentence or a word is uttered. It creates ripples through time, like a stone slung in a peaceful lake. Feedback is one of the last stages of communication.

After a message is encoded, sent over a medium received, and decoded, there is a need for the communication to keep moving. Through feedback, the receiver becomes the sender, broadcasting the views about the information received.

Another important aspect that is present in this cycle is noise. This refers to the obstructions people face while following the entire communication process. This can mean actual physical noise, preoccupying thoughts of the sender or the receiver, and barriers such as language, comfort, and cognitive precision.

In order to eliminate noise, one has to clear their minds, and senders have to make sure that the message they broadcast is easy to understand for the intended receiver.

Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively , Listening Actively , and Writing Proficiently courses describe the process of communication and its applications. They will give you all the necessary tools as well as the confidence needed to succeed in today’s corporate world.

You can sharpen your communication skills using Harappa Education’s GRT Framework. GRT refers to Goal, Recipient, and Tone. By harnessing the power of these three crucial elements, you can embark on the road to success. Let us look at them in detail:

You must be clear about your goal. Before starting any kind of communication, gather your thoughts, set a fixed goal, and make sure that you don’t deviate from it. Having a goal in mind will help you stick to the point, will give the audience clarity about the message and the purpose to take an interest.

2. Recipient 

Understanding who your audience allows you to modify your means of communication to make it more effective. You should know their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and level of understanding to win their hearts. After all, no matter how cool your boss is, you can’t talk to him like you talk to your childhood friends.

As Jody Shields explains in her book, The Winter Station , “People can be reassured by a tone of voice . By a touch. A gesture. Even if the voice and gestures are false, the innocent person meets the liar halfway to complete the lie. It’s a partnership.” The tone of the message decides how the recipient will react to it. A love song sung in an angry tone will cease to be a love song. Being formal with communication in informal settings and informal in personal life is necessary for the recipients and senders.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Communicate habit such as Report Writing and the Importance of Communication .

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What is effective communication?

Effective communication skill 1: become an engaged listener, skill 2: pay attention to nonverbal signals, skill 3: keep stress in check, skill 4: assert yourself, effective communication.

Want to communicate better? These tips will help you avoid misunderstandings, grasp the real meaning of what’s being communicated, and greatly improve your work and personal relationships.

assignment on communication process

Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information. As well as being able to clearly convey a message, you need to also listen in a way that gains the full meaning of what’s being said and makes the other person feel heard and understood.

Effective communication sounds like it should be instinctive. But all too often, when we try to communicate with others something goes astray. We say one thing, the other person hears something else, and misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts ensue. This can cause problems in your home, school, and work relationships.

For many of us, communicating more clearly and effectively requires learning some important skills. Whether you’re trying to improve communication with your spouse, kids, boss, or coworkers, learning these skills can deepen your connections to others, build greater trust and respect, and improve teamwork, problem solving, and your overall social and emotional health.

What’s stopping you from communicating effectively?

Common barriers to effective communication include:

Stress and out-of-control emotion.  When you’re stressed or emotionally overwhelmed, you’re more likely to misread other people, send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, and lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior. To avoid conflict and misunderstandings, you can learn how to quickly calm down before continuing a conversation.

Lack of focus.  You can’t communicate effectively when you’re multitasking. If you’re checking your phone , planning what you’re going to say next, or daydreaming, you’re almost certain to miss nonverbal cues in the conversation. To communicate effectively, you need to avoid distractions and stay focused.

Inconsistent body language.  Nonverbal communication should reinforce what is being said, not contradict it. If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will likely feel that you’re being dishonest. For example, you can’t say “yes” while shaking your head no.

[Read: Nonverbal Communication and Body Language]

Negative body language.  If you disagree with or dislike what’s being said, you might use negative body language to rebuff the other person’s message, such as crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact, or tapping your feet. You don’t have to agree with, or even like what’s being said, but to communicate effectively and not put the other person on the defensive, it’s important to avoid sending negative signals.

When communicating with others, we often focus on what we should say. However, effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. Listening well means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding the emotions the speaker is trying to convey.

There’s a big difference between engaged listening and simply hearing. When you really listen—when you’re engaged with what’s being said—you’ll hear the subtle intonations in someone’s voice that tell you how that person is feeling and the emotions they’re trying to communicate. When you’re an engaged listener, not only will you better understand the other person, you’ll also make that person feel heard and understood, which can help build a stronger, deeper connection between you.

By communicating in this way, you’ll also experience a process that  lowers stress and supports physical and emotional well-being. If the person you’re talking to is calm, for example, listening in an engaged way will help to calm you, too. Similarly, if the person is agitated, you can help calm them by listening in an attentive way and making the person feel understood.

If your goal is to fully understand and connect with the other person, listening in an engaged way will often come naturally. If it doesn’t, try the following tips. The more you practice them, the more satisfying and rewarding your interactions with others will become.

Tips for becoming an engaged listener

Focus fully on the speaker.  You can’t listen in an engaged way if you’re  constantly checking your phone or thinking about something else. You need to stay focused on the moment-to-moment experience in order to pick up the subtle nuances and important nonverbal cues in a conversation. If you find it hard to concentrate on some speakers, try repeating their words over in your head—it’ll reinforce their message and help you stay focused.

Favor your right ear.  As strange as it sounds, the left side of the brain contains the primary processing centers for both speech comprehension and emotions. Since the left side of the brain is connected to the right side of the body, favoring your right ear can help you better detect the emotional nuances of what someone is saying.

Avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to your concerns.  By saying something like, “If you think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me.” Listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to talk. You can’t concentrate on what someone’s saying if you’re forming what you’re going to say next. Often, the speaker can read your facial expressions and know that your mind’s elsewhere.

Show your interest in what’s being said.  Nod occasionally, smile at the person, and make sure your posture is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like “yes” or “uh huh.”

Try to set aside judgment.  In order to communicate effectively with someone, you don’t have to like them or agree with their ideas, values, or opinions. However, you do need to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to fully understand them. The most difficult communication, when successfully executed, can often lead to an unlikely connection with someone.

[Read: Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ)]

Provide feedback. If there seems to be a disconnect, reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is,” or “Sounds like you are saying,” are great ways to reflect back. Don’t simply repeat what the speaker has said verbatim, though—you’ll sound insincere or unintelligent. Instead, express what the speaker’s words mean to you. Ask questions to clarify certain points: “What do you mean when you say…” or “Is this what you mean?”

Hear the emotion behind the words . It’s the higher frequencies of human speech that impart emotion. You can become more attuned to these frequencies—and thus better able to understand what others are really saying—by exercising the tiny muscles of your middle ear (the smallest in the body). You can do this by singing, playing a wind instrument, or listening to certain types of high-frequency music (a Mozart symphony or violin concerto, for example, rather than low-frequency rock, pop, or hip-hop).

The way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tells them more about how you’re feeling than words alone ever can. Nonverbal communication, or body language, includes facial expressions, body movement and gestures, eye contact, posture, the tone of your voice, and even your muscle tension and breathing.

Developing the ability to understand and use nonverbal communication can help you connect with others, express what you really mean, navigate challenging situations, and build better relationships at home and work.

  • You can enhance effective communication by using open body language—arms uncrossed, standing with an open stance or sitting on the edge of your seat, and maintaining eye contact with the person you’re talking to.
  • You can also use body language to emphasize or enhance your verbal message—patting a friend on the back while complimenting him on his success, for example, or pounding your fists to underline your message.

Improve how you  read nonverbal communication

Be aware of individual differences. People from different countries and cultures tend to use different nonverbal communication gestures, so it’s important to take age, culture, religion, gender, and emotional state into account when reading body language signals. An American teen, a grieving widow, and an Asian businessman, for example, are likely to use nonverbal signals differently.

Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group. Don’t read too much into a single gesture or nonverbal cue. Consider all of the nonverbal signals you receive, from eye contact to tone of voice to body language. Anyone can slip up occasionally and let eye contact go, for example, or briefly cross their arms without meaning to. Consider the signals as a whole to get a better “read” on a person.

Improve how you  deliver nonverbal communication

Use nonverbal signals that match up with your words rather than contradict them. If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will feel confused or suspect that you’re being dishonest. For example, sitting with your arms crossed and shaking your head doesn’t match words telling the other person that you agree with what they’re saying.

Adjust your nonverbal signals according to the context. The tone of your voice, for example, should be different when you’re addressing a child than when you’re addressing a group of adults. Similarly, take into account the emotional state and cultural background of the person you’re interacting with.

Avoid negative body language. Instead, use body language to convey positive feelings, even when you’re not actually experiencing them. If you’re nervous about a situation—a job interview, important presentation, or first date, for example—you can use positive body language to signal confidence, even though you’re not feeling it. Instead of tentatively entering a room with your head down, eyes averted, and sliding into a chair, try standing tall with your shoulders back, smiling and maintaining eye contact, and delivering a firm handshake. It will make you feel more self-confident and help to put the other person at ease.

How many times have you felt stressed during a disagreement with your spouse, kids, boss, friends, or coworkers and then said or done something you later regretted? If you can quickly relieve stress and return to a calm state, you’ll not only avoid such regrets, but in many cases you’ll also help to calm the other person as well. It’s only when you’re in a calm, relaxed state that you’ll be able to know whether the situation requires a response, or whether the other person’s signals indicate it would be better to remain silent.

In situations such as a job interview, business presentation, high-pressure meeting, or introduction to a loved one’s family, for example, it’s important to manage your emotions, think on your feet, and effectively communicate under pressure.

Communicate effectively by staying calm under pressure

Use stalling tactics to give yourself time to think. Ask for a question to be repeated or for clarification of a statement before you respond.

Pause to collect your thoughts. Silence isn’t necessarily a bad thing—pausing can make you seem more in control than rushing your response.

Make one point and provide an example or supporting piece of information. If your response is too long or you waffle about a number of points, you risk losing the listener’s interest. Follow one point with an example and then gauge the listener’s reaction to tell if you should make a second point.

Deliver your words clearly. In many cases, how you say something can be as important as what you say. Speak clearly, maintain an even tone, and make eye contact. Keep your body language relaxed and open.

Wrap up with a summary and then stop. Summarize your response and then stop talking, even if it leaves a silence in the room. You don’t have to fill the silence by continuing to talk.

Quick stress relief for effective communication

When a conversation starts to get heated, you need something quick and immediate to bring down the emotional intensity. By learning to quickly reduce stress in the moment, you can safely take stock of any strong emotions you’re experiencing, regulate your feelings, and behave appropriately.

Recognize when you’re becoming stressed. Your body will let you know if you’re stressed as you communicate. Are your muscles or stomach tight? Are your hands clenched? Is your breath shallow? Are you “forgetting” to breathe?

Take a moment to calm down before deciding to continue a conversation or postpone it.

Bring your senses to the rescue. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through the senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, smell—or movement. For example, you could pop a peppermint in your mouth, squeeze a stress ball in your pocket, take a few deep breaths, clench and relax your muscles, or simply recall a soothing, sensory-rich image. Each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find a coping mechanism that is soothing to you.

[Read: Quick Stress Relief]

Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress when communicating . When you or those around you start taking things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or an amusing story.

Be willing to compromise. Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned. If you realize that the other person cares much more about an issue than you do, compromise may be easier for you and a good investment for the future of the relationship.

Agree to disagree, if necessary, and take time away from the situation so everyone can calm down. Go for a stroll outside if possible, or spend a few minutes meditating. Physical movement or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly reduce stress.

Find your space for healing and growth

Regain is an online couples counseling service. Whether you’re facing problems with communication, intimacy, or trust, Regain’s licensed, accredited therapists can help you improve your relationship.

Direct, assertive expression makes for clear communication and can help boost your self-esteem and decision-making skills. Being assertive means expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in an open and honest way, while standing up for yourself and respecting others. It does NOT mean being hostile, aggressive, or demanding. Effective communication is always about understanding the other person, not about winning an argument or forcing your opinions on others.

To improve your assertiveness

Value yourself and your options. They are as important as anyone else’s.

Know your needs and wants. Learn to express them without infringing on the rights of others.

Express negative thoughts in a positive way. It’s  okay to be angry , but you must remain respectful as well.

Receive feedback positively. Accept compliments graciously, learn from your mistakes, ask for help when needed.

Learn to say “no.” Know your limits and don’t let others take advantage of you. Look for alternatives so everyone feels good about the outcome.

Developing assertive communication techniques

Empathetic assertion conveys sensitivity to the other person. First, recognize the other person’s situation or feelings, then state your needs or opinion. “I know you’ve been very busy at work, but I want you to make time for us as well.”

Escalating assertion can be employed when your first attempts are not successful. You become increasingly firm as time progresses, which may include outlining consequences if your needs are not met. For example, “If you don’t abide by the contract, I’ll be forced to pursue legal action.”

Practice assertiveness in lower risk situations to help build up your confidence. Or ask friends or family if you can practice assertiveness techniques on them first.

More Information

  • Effective Communication: Improving Your Social Skills - Communicate more effectively, improve your conversation skills, and become more assertive. (AnxietyCanada)
  • Core Listening Skills - How to be a better listener. (SucceedSocially.com)
  • Effective Communication - How to communicate in groups using nonverbal communication and active listening techniques. (University of Maine)
  • Some Common Communication Mistakes - And how to avoid them. (SucceedSocially.com)
  • 3aPPa3 – When cognitive demand increases, does the right ear have an advantage? – Danielle Sacchinell | Acoustics.org . (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2022, from Link
  • How to Behave More Assertively . (n.d.). 10. Weger, H., Castle Bell, G., Minei, E. M., & Robinson, M. C. (2014). The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions.  International Journal of Listening , 28(1), 13–31. Link

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  • Communication

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What is Communication?

The English word ‘communication’ is derived from the Latin communis, which means common sense. The word communication means sharing the same ideas. In other words, the transmission and interaction of facts, ideas, opinions, feelings or attitudes. Communication is the essence of management. The basic function of management (planning, planning, staffing, supervision and management) cannot be done effectively without effective communication.

Communication is a two-way process which involves transferring of information or messages from one person or group to another. This process goes on and includes a minimum of one sender and receiver to pass on the messages. These messages can either be any ideas, imagination, emotions, or thoughts.

Communication is a Latin word which means “to share”. There are different modes of communication available today. These include emails, chats, WhatsApp, skype (conference calls), etc. Effective communication makes people’s work easier and smooth. 

Communication Process

Communication is an ongoing process that mainly involves three components namely. sender, message, and recipient. The components involved in the communication process are described below in detail:

The sender or contact generates the message and transmits it to the recipient. He is the source and the first contact

It is an idea, knowledge, opinion, truth, feeling, etc. produced by the sender and intended for reference.

The message produced by the sender is encrypted in a symbolic way such as words, pictures, touches, etc. before transfer.

This is how the coded message is conveyed. The message can be conveyed orally or in writing. 

It is a process of modifying the signals sent by the sender. After recording the message is received by the recipient.

You are the last person in the chain and the message you sent was sent. If the recipient receives the message and understands it correctly and acts on the message, only then the purpose of the communication is achieved.

Once the recipient confirms to the sender that you received the message and understood it, the communication process is complete.

Refers to any restrictions caused by the sender, message or recipient during the communication process. For example, incorrect telephone connection, incorrect coding, incorrect recording, careless recipient, incorrect understanding of message due to discrimination or inappropriate touch, etc.

Types of Communication

Verbal Communication and Non-Communication

Verbal communication: 

Communication occurs through verbal, verbal or written communication that conveys or conveys a message to others is called oral communication. Verbal communication is the use of language to convey information verbally or in sign language.Verbal communication is important because it works well. It can be helpful to support verbal Non-verbal communication Any non-verbal communication, spoken words, conversation and written language ​​is called.

Non-verbal communication: 

It occurs with signs, symbols, colors, touches, body or facial features. Insignificant communication is using body language, body language and facial expressions to convey information to others. It can be used both intentionally and deliberately. For example, you may have a smile on your face when you hear an idea or a piece of interesting or exciting information. Open communication is helpful when you are trying to understand the thoughts and feelings of others.

Mode Of Communication

Formal Communication:

Formal Communication refers to communication that takes place through legal channels in an organization. That kind of communication takes place between managers or employees of the same class or between high and low and vice versa. It may be oral or written but a complete record of that communication is kept in the organization.

Informal Communication:

Informal communication is defined as any communication that occurs outside of the official channels of communication. Informal communication is often referred to as the ‘vine’ as it spreads throughout the organization and on all sides regardless of the level of authority.

Few Communication Barriers

One sometimes wants to connect with one thing, but he is actually saying something else that he did not intend. This type of event in communication behaviour is known as the “Arc of Distortion”. The distortion may be the result of some error in any of the communication channels. These barriers to communication are also known as “barriers”.

Some of the barriers to communication:

 Lack of proper style, feedback.

Content is not related to customer requirements.

Failure to maintain dual communication.

Bad weather.

Lack of horizontal flow of ideas.

Availability of technical coordinators.

Semantic Problems.

Lack of leadership.

Lack of enthusiasm.

Lack of support from heads of institutions.

Importance of Communication

Communication Foundation:

The manager explains to the employees the goals of the organization, the methods of their success and the interpersonal relationships between them. This provides communication between the various staff and departments. Therefore, communication serves as the basis for collaboration in the organization.

Functional:

The manager coordinates the individual and physical aspects of the organization in order to run it efficiently and effectively. This integration is not possible without proper communication.

The Basis for Making Decisions:

Good communication provides information to the manager that helps them make decisions. No decisions could have been made without knowledge. Thus, communication is the basis for making the right decisions.

Improves Management Ability:

The manager transfers targets and issues instructions and assigns tasks to subordinates. All of these factors are involved.

Communication plays a vital part in building up a strong relationship across the world, either in organisational structure or outside of it. It is an essential pillar for people in sharing the ideas, delegating responsibilities, management of a team, building up a healthy relationship, etc. Effective communication is necessary for managers in the organisation for planning, organising, leading and controlling. Managers of the organisation are dedicated enough in communicating throughout the day in various tasks performances. They spent the whole time communicating face-to-face or over the phone to their colleagues, subordinates and the clients. Managers also use written communication in the form of Emails, memos, daily reports and so on. Effective communication is a successful building block of the organisational structure.

Here The Importance of Communication Can Be Briefed As Follows

Good communication encourages motivational skills. 

It is a mode of information in the decision-making process.

Communication emphasises socialising within or outside the organisational structure. 

It helps in controlling the process. Employees have to follow the organisation rule, code of conduct and other company policies.

There are four types of communication . It is categorised into verbal, non-verbal, written and visual.

Verbal communication is one of the modes where people communicate or transfer information through words. It is one of the common and usual types and frequently used during one on one presentations, video calls or conferences, meetings, phone calls etc. 

There Are Certain Measures Which Enhance This More Effectively

Firm and Confident Voice:  

Firm and confident communication reflects the personality of the person. It gives more certainty of completing any task. So always be confident so that your ideas are more precise and specific.

Active listening:  

A good listener always tends to listen to everyone’s perspective or viewpoints. Active listening helps in identifying each one’s problem or thoughts in a more clear way.

Ignore Filler Words:  

While giving a presentation, avoid using filler words such as yeah, like, so, etc. It might be distracting to your audiences. Try not to use them in official conferences or meetings. 

Non-verbal communication is the use of body language. It includes body gestures, facial expression, and shaking hands, etc.. For example: How you sit during an interview automatically reflects your body language. If they are indicating closed body language like closed arms, bent shoulders, shaking legs, etc., they might be nervous, low in confidence, surrounded with anxiety, etc. Non-verbal communication is the most powerful communication to understand others’ thoughts and emotions. 

Here are Certain Categories Where Non-Verbal Communication are Briefed Up

Positive Body Language: Always carry a positive body language where you can carry your confidence for performing any task. This type of communication gives support to your verbal talks and makes you more open to any kind of jobs. 

Imitate non-verbal communication you find useful: Some facial expression or body language can be found helpful in an interview. If an interviewer has positively nodded his head, it gives a clear positive sign in a closed way, i.e. non-verbal communication.

It is the form of communication that involves writing, typing and printing symbols, letters, etc. It is used in Emails, chats, etc. which are the common techniques of using it in the workplace. Whereas it also furnishes a record of all docs in one place and keeps a systematic account of it.

Here Are Certain Categories Where Written Communication is Briefed Up

Aim for Simplicity:  

Any type of written communications should be in a simple format and clear. It helps audiences to understand and provides more transparency on information which you're providing. 

Reviewing:  

Whenever you're writing, always review your emails, letters or memos before sending it. Reviewing helps to find the mistakes or opportunities to present something distinct. 

Be Careful of Written Tone:  

Since this is not a mode of verbal or non-verbal communication, always be cautious and have a polite tone while writing.  

Keep the Written Files if You Find it Useful:  

If you received the memo or email which you’re finding helpful or interesting, you could save that template for further references to use it in future writing for improving your written communication.

Visualizing is a form of communication where one can use photographs, drawing charts and graphs to convey information through it. It helps in furnishing the right information through graphics and visuals during office presentation (along with verbal and written). 

Here are Certain Steps Which Help in Visual Communication Skills

Taking Advice Before Going with Visuals:  

Visual communication includes presentation or emails. Always ask for other’s advice if any mistake can be rectified. 

Targeting Audience:  

Always put those visuals in presentation or emails that can be understood by everyone quickly. If you are giving a presentation on any data or chart which is not familiar to the audience, you need to explain it clearly. There shouldn’t be any usage of offensive visuals.

Barriers in Communication

There are certain barriers which create hindrance in building up communication over the time period.

Personal Barriers:

Communication takes place between receiver and sender. It’s a two-way process which should be clear. In case message formation went wrong, it gives a wrong and unclear message to the recipient. The receiver might get the wrong perspective while receiving a message. Therefore the message should be written effortlessly.  

Systematic Barrier:

 If any machine or electronic errors occur by any means or in any unforeseen situation, it may affect the importance of communication.

Flow of Communication

An organisation follows the five flow of communications: 

Downward Flow: 

In this, communication flows from the higher level to lower level, i.e. communication carried out by the head of the organisation to the subordinates like providing feedback, giving job instructions etc. 

Upward Flow: 

Communication which flows to the higher level of the organisation is upward communication. Subordinates use upward flow to transfer their grievances and performances to their seniors. 

Lateral/Horizontal Communication:  

It takes place where communication happens between the same level of the hierarchy that is communication between colleagues, managers or between any horizontally equivalent members of the organisation. It benefits employees to perform coordination among the tasks, time-saving, solving problems of employees of other departments or conflicts within the department. 

Diagonal Communication:  

Communication which takes place between the manager and employee of other work departments is known as diagonal communication. 

External Communication: 

Communication which takes place between the manager and external group likes vendors, suppliers, banks, financial institutions and many more. For example, the Managing Director would be meeting with the bank manager to get the bank loan or some other financial work.

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FAQs on Communication

1. What Are The Communication Styles?

Communication styles include:

Passive-aggressive

2. Define The Process of Communication?

Process of the communication comprises five systems, i.e. a sender, the encoding of the message, selecting of a channel of communication, receipt of the message by the receiver and decoding of the message. 

3. What is The Most Important Part of Communication?

Feedback is a vital part of communication. It can only be successful when feedback is given properly. This fulfils the space of communication. 

4. What is Assertive Communication?

Assertive communication is known to execute positive and negative emotions in a direct form of expression. 

5. Name the Three C’s of Assertive Communication.

Given below are the C’s of assertive communication:

CONFIDENCE: Having confidence in terms of solving any problems.

CLEAR: Sending the clear message which is clear to understand to the audiences. 

CONTROLLED: Delivering information or message in a controlled or peaceful manner.

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The Business Communication

Empowering Connections for Success

What is Communication Process? Steps of Communication Process

Posted By The Business Communication 58 Comments

Communication process consists of some interrelated steps or parts through which messages are sent from sender to receiver. The process of communication begins when the sender wants to transmit a fact, idea, opinion or other information to the receiver and ends with receiver’s feedback to the sender. The main components of communication process are sender, message, channel of communication, receiver and feedback. In the following paragraphs, some definitions of the communication process are quoted:

Robert Kreitner defined, “Communication process is a chain made up of identifiable links. The chain includes sender, encoding, message, receiver, decoding, and feedback.” In the opinion of S. K. Kapur , “The communication process is the method by which the sender transfers information and understanding to the receiver.” According to Bovee, Thill and Schatzman , “The communication process consists of six phases linking sender and receiver.” C. B. Mamoria has pointed out the parts of communication process by saying, “That communication process model is making up of seven steps or parts: a. the communication b. Encoding c. The message and the medium or channel, d. reception by the feceiver e. decoding f. Action and g. feedback.”

communication process

Thus, it is clear that communication process is the set of some sequential steps involved in transferring messages as well as feedback to messages conveyed by the recipient. The process requires a sender who transmits message through a channel to the receiver. Then the receiver decodes the message and sends back some type of signal or feedback which could be positive feedback or otherwise. However, the model of communication differ and plays a crucial role in communication whilst promoting message transmission.

Steps of Communication Process

The communication process refers to the steps through which communication takes place between the sender and the receiver. This process starts with conceptualizing an idea or message by the sender and ends with the feedback to messages conveyed from the receiver. In details, communication process consists of the following eight steps of communication:

  • Developing idea by the sender: In the first step, the communicator develops or conceptualizes an idea to be sent. It is also known as the planning stage since in this stage the communicator plans the subject matter of communication. It is the most essential components of the key components of a communication channel. It is a deliberate process that envisions what to commute and the overall goal of communication.
  • Encoding: Encoding means converting or translation the idea into a perceivable form that can be communicated to others. This is sequential with the choice of communication method and communication objectives intended to use for sending the message.
  • Developing the message: After encoding, the sender gets a message that can be transmitted to the receiver. The message can be an oral or verbal message, written message, symbolic or nonverbal message. For example, when people talk, speech is the message; when people write a letter, the words and sentences are the message; when people cries, the crying is the message. Whether it is a non-verbal message or verbal message or body language; the components of speech, action, and texts are the components of a clear message and effective communication . In this stage, communication skills are regarded essential for current and future communication as it determines the quality of message sent to prevent misunderstood messages.
  • Selecting the medium: communication mediums are channel of communication or means of transmitting the message to the receiver. Once the sender has encoded his thoughts or ideas into a message, the next step is to select a suitable medium for transmitting it to the receiver. The medium of communication can be speaking, writing, signaling, body gestures, facial expressions,  etc.
  • Transmission of message: In this step, the sender actually transmits the message through chosen medium. In the communication cycle, the tasks of the sender end with the transmission of the message. This can involve the use of communication technology and other form of communication such as telephone conversation, radio message, human communication to send nonverbal messages and actionable messages to a receiver for decoding.
  • Receiving the message by receiver: This stage simply involves the reception of sender’s message by the receiver. The message can be received in the form of hearing, seeing, feeling and so on. This is dependent on the choice of communication model and transmission model used by the sender.
  • Decoding: Decoding is the receiver’s interpretation of the sender’s message. Here the receiver converts the message into thoughts and tries to analyze and understand it through a decoding process. Effective communication can occur only when both the sender and the receiver assign the same or similar meanings to the message. The ability to decode messages makes communication an ongoing process between communication partners.
  • Feedback: The final step of communication process is feedback. Feedback means receiver’s response to sender’s message. It increases the effectiveness of communication. It ensures that the receiver has correctly understood the message. Feedback is the essence of two-way communication and can simply be regarded as the elimination of poor communication which results from a one-way communication without response.

The steps of communication mentioned above promotes interpersonal communication using unique methods of communication. This concept or model of communication describes effective business communication and private conversations across all fields of study.

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Reader Interactions

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  1. What is Communication Process: Examples, Stages & Types

    The communication process cycle is a continuous and dynamic sequence of stages involved in the successful exchange of messages between a sender and a receiver. The communication process cycle typically includes the following phases: Sender's Input. Message Transmission. Message Reception. Receiver's Response.

  2. 1.2: The Communication Process

    The internal cognitive process that allows participants to send, receive, and understand messages is the encoding and decoding process. Encoding is the process of turning thoughts into communication. As we will learn later, the level of conscious thought that goes into encoding messages varies.

  3. Communication Process: Definition, Steps, & Elements

    Step #2: The source encodes the idea in a message (Encoding) Step #3: The message is transmitted via a communication channel (Transmission) Step #4: The receiver decodes the message (Decoding) Step #5: Feedback reaches the source. Tips for improving the communication process. Tip #1: Beware of bypassing.

  4. 1.2: Basic Process Models of Communication

    In 1960, David Berlo expanded the Shannon and Weaver model to more accurately reflect the communication process (Turaga, 2016). Berlo's model is divided into four basic components: source, message, and channel and receiver. In each pillar of Berlo's model are subcategories that describe the interaction process in greater detail (Figure 2).

  5. The Process of Communication

    Often that's the kind of feedback an organization has to navigate. Organizations issue a communication, perhaps in the form of a memo, and send it out to all their employees. Employees read it. If the message is understood and appropriate actions are taken, all is well. There may have been noise, but it did not get in the way of the message.

  6. Unit 2: The Communication Process

    The communication process has five steps: idea formation, encoding, channel selection, decoding and feedback. Anything that interferes with clear communication is called noise. Noise can interfere with each step of the communication process. Exercises 2.1 1. Table 1 above compiles only a partial list of channels for verbal, written, and visual ...

  7. Communication Process

    The five steps—also known as components or elements—of the communication process are: Idea formation. Encoding. Channel selection. Decoding. Feedback. The first three steps of the ...

  8. 1.2 The Communication Process

    The communication process has five steps: idea formation, encoding, channel selection, decoding and feedback. Anything that interferes with clear communication is called noise. Noise can interfere with each step of the communication process. Exercises 2.1 1. Table 1 above compiles only a partial list of channels for verbal, written, and visual ...

  9. Unit 2: The Communication Process

    The communication process has five steps: idea formation, encoding, channel selection, decoding and feedback. Anything that interferes with clear communication is called noise. Noise can interfere each step of the communication process. Exercises 2.1 1. Table 1 above compiles only a partial list of channels for verbal, written, and visual channels.

  10. The Communication Process

    The Communication Process. The communication process is relatively simple and is divided into three basic components: a sender, a channel, and a receiver. The sender will initiate the ...

  11. Introduction to Communication

    Defining Communication. The word communication is derived from a Latin word meaning "to share.". Communication can be defined as "purposefully and actively exchanging information between two or more people to convey or receive the intended meanings through a shared system of signs and (symbols)" ("Communication," 2015, para. 1).

  12. The Communication Cycle

    The Communication Cycle is a six-step process for organizing and presenting a message effectively. You can apply it in all situations that involve communication, but it's most useful for important or complex communications. The process follows a cycle that includes these six steps: Clarify your aim. Compose/Encode.

  13. What Is Effective Communication? Skills for Work, School, and Life

    Effective communication is the process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, opinions, knowledge, and data so that the message is received and understood with clarity and purpose. When we communicate effectively, both the sender and receiver feel satisfied. Communication occurs in many forms, including verbal and non-verbal, written, visual, and ...

  14. (PDF) The Process of Communication

    When individuals are conducting research on the process of communication, they need to understand that it leads to transmitting of information and the individuals, who are communicating with each ...

  15. Steps and Components of the Communication Process

    The communication process refers to a series of actions or steps taken in order to successfully communicate. It involves several components such as the sender of the communication, the actual message being sent, the encoding of the message, the receiver and the decoding of the message. There are also various channels of communication to ...

  16. Process of Communication

    The process of communication starts with the sender. This is the entity that will use the means of communication to share her thoughts. The sender starts the communication cycle by deciding to convey her thoughts and chooses the format to use. The sender manages her thoughts, seeks clarity and decides what exactly she wants to put forth.

  17. Assignment On Communication Process

    Assignment on Communication Process - Free download as Word Doc (.doc / .docx), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. This document discusses the communication process. It defines communication and notes that it involves the exchange of information between two or more people. The key components of the communication process are identified as the idea, sender, message ...

  18. Effective Communication

    Effective communication skill 1: Become an engaged listener. When communicating with others, we often focus on what we should say. However, effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. Listening well means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding the emotions the ...

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    Communication Process. Communication is an ongoing process that mainly involves three components namely. sender, message, and recipient. The components involved in the communication process are described below in detail: Sender: The sender or contact generates the message and transmits it to the recipient. He is the source and the first contact ...

  20. How the Communication Process Works (Example Included)

    Communication process example Priya is a sales manager who wants to request a larger department-wide budget for the next fiscal year. To get her budget approved, she needs to go through the proper communication process. She takes the following steps: Step 1: Priya needs to develop her budget idea before she can send it out. Priya identifies the key stakeholders that need to approve her budget.

  21. What is Communication Process? Steps of Communication Process

    The chain includes sender, encoding, message, receiver, decoding, and feedback.". In the opinion of S. K. Kapur, "The communication process is the method by which the sender transfers information and understanding to the receiver.". According to Bovee, Thill and Schatzman, "The communication process consists of six phases linking sender ...

  22. Understanding the Communication Process in the Workplace

    Assignment - Understanding the communication process in the workplace. Version 1.0 (March 2017)1. ... The task requires you to show an understanding of the process of communication and the main methods of communication and how to use them. You also need to complete a reflective self-assessment of your own communication skills and identify ...

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    Communication Process. In criminal justice, effective communication can make a difference in solving a crime, creating a community program, or being promoted. In this assignment you share your knowledge on the components that make up the communication process and barriers you may encounter regarding effective communication.

  24. Conflict Resolution Strategies in Nursing

    Foster open communication. Create a supportive environment that encourages active listening and honest conversation. Make sure you fully understand the situation. Mediate and negotiate. Approach the problem objectively and, if necessary, seek additional perspectives from your human resources department or another nurse leader.