Understanding The Process of Communication

What is the communication process?

The process of communication refers to the sequence of steps that successfully fulfill the act of communicating between two individuals or among a group. It involves several constituents or elements of communication– The sender, the content of the message, the encoding of the message, the intended receiver, and the decoding of the message.

There are also various channels or modes of communication through which messages are sent, usually referred to as the medium of communication. These can include verbal inputs, audio, video, images, an email, a text message, or even non-verbal forms such as a person’s body language, like a nod or a handshake. Of course, the eventual goal of any communication process is to share information with an individual or a group and ensure their receipt and understanding. Therefore, it is crucial to note that the success of communication depends on the appropriateness of the medium used for transferring the message.

Elements of the communication process

  • Sender: This is the person who is forwarding a message to a recipient.
  • Message: This refers to the content or information that the sender is forwarding to the receiver.
  • Channel of communication: Also referred to as the medium, it is the method used to deliver the message.
  • Decoding: This is the interpretation of the message performed by the receiver.
  • Receiver: The person to whom the message has been directed.
  • Feedback: This is the reply or the response that the receiver directs back to the sender.

How does the communication process work?

The sender prepares the content or the message to be sent. The communication process begins with the sender forming an idea, a piece of information, or a question. It essentially contains the subject matter or information the sender wants to transmit.

Encoding of the message. Once an idea has been developed, the sender must translate it into a form that can be forwarded to the intended receiver. It involves transforming the thought or concept into a specific format, such as words, images, video, nonverbal action, or a symbol, perhaps an emoji.

Choosing the channel or mode of communication. The next step involves the sender deciding the most suitable medium to forward the message to the receiver. Some examples of communication mediums include speaking, writing, electronic transmission, or nonverbal communication. At workplaces, it is vital to choose the proper and most professional channel of communication.

Transmitting the message through the chosen channel of communication. After the medium or channel of communication is selected, the sender begins the process of transmission. The exact procedure will depend on the chosen medium. To ensure that the message is forwarded correctly, the sender must select the most appropriate medium.

Receipt of the message by the receiver. Depending on the medium chosen for the communication process, the receipt can be executed by hearing the message, watching it, feeling it, or reading it.

Decoding of the message by the receiver. In this step, the receiver of the message or information begins interpreting it and converting it into thought and contemplation. This leads to the understanding of the message. The communication process is deemed effective and successful, without any communication barrier, if the interpretation of the message by the receiver matches the meaning and intention of the sender.

The receiver provides feedback if required. For example, if the transmission of the message was intended to be one-way communication, then the process of communication is deemed to have been successfully completed. However, if the sender desires a response, the receiver does a role-reversal and begins the communication process by becoming the sender and performing the exact sequence again. This then becomes two-way communication.