Elements of Communication
Communication is one of the most important factors for the existence of our society today. The importance of effective communication is immeasurable in the world of business and in personal life. Denis McQuail is one of the most influential scholars in the field of mass communication studies says “ Communication is the sending of meaningful messages from one person to another”. According to Harold D Lasswell “ Communication is discerning who says what, in which channel to whom and with what effect”. In simple words Communication is giving, receiving or exchanging ideas, information, signals or messages through an appropriate media. It is a dynamic process involving a series of actions and reactions with a view to achieve a goal. The importance of effective communication is immeasurable in the world of business and in personal life. Communication is, therefore, a two way process. Each element plays an important role in making the communication effective and can be classified as follows:
1.Sender: Sender is an individual, group, or organization who initiates the communication. This source is initially responsible for the success of the message. A process by which the sender formulates an idea to communicate is selected first. The first step the sender is faced with involves the encoding process. In order to convey meaning, the sender must begin encoding, which means translating information into a message in the form of symbols signs that represent ideas or concepts, which is then communicated. This process can be influenced by external factors, or it can come about internally by thinking about a particular subject. For Ex:
Ex. A politician giving a speech.
A parent lecturing a child.
Customer of a restaurant writing a complaint letter to the management of the restaurant.
2. Message: A message can be an idea, concept, emotion, feeling that a person wants to share with another person. A message can be verbal or non-verbal form of communication. It is based on the source or idea, but the message is crafted to meet the needs of the receiver. The purpose to send a message is to evoke meaning to the other person. A message can be intentional or non-intentional. Messages can be encoded into a variety of formats oral, written or visual.
Eg: Speech is a channel, signs, gestures,symbols are different ways in which a message can be transmitted.
3. Channel: It’s the medium through which communication is transmitted from one person to the reliever. Most channels are either oral or written. Common channels include the telephone and a variety of written forms such as memos, letters, and reports. The effectiveness of the various channels fluctuates depending on the characteristics of the communication. In case of immediate feedback Oral Communication is convenient. In a situation where the message must be delivered to more than a small group of people, written channels are often more effective. Although in many cases, both oral and written channels should be used because one supplements the other. For Eg: A president delivering a Speech may speak face to face with an audience, via the broadcast media or via print.
For Ex : An audience receives the politician’s speech.
The child who is the recipient of the parents lecture
4. Receiver: Receiver is the individual or individuals to whom the message is directed to. The extent to which a receiver comprehends the message will depend on a number of factors, which include the following: knowledge of the individual regarding the message, their receptivity to the message. All interpretations by the receiver are influenced by their experiences, attitudes, knowledge, skills, perceptions, and culture.
Ex. An audience receives the politician’s speech.
Student receiving a lecture from the teacher in a classroom.
5. Decoding: Decoding is the process where the message is interpreted by the receiver . The receiver begins to interpret the message through words, signs, symbols sent by the sender translating the message to its set of experiences in order to make the message meaningful. Successful communication takes place when the receiver correctly interprets the sender’s message.
Eg: A student searches the definition of a word unknown to her in the dictionary, interprets the meaning and gains information.
6. Feedback: Feedback is an integral part of communication process that allows the speaker to monitor the process and to evaluate the success of the message communicated. This step conveys to the sender that the message is understood by the receiver. After receiving a message, the receiver responds through a channel and signals that response to the sender. For Ex: The signal may take the form of a spoken comment, a written message, a smile, rolling of eyes, a sigh or some other action. No response is also a form of feedback. Without feedback, the sender cannot confirm that the receiver has interpreted the message correctly. For Eg: Employee surveys, company news letters, e-mails.
7. Noise- There are certain barriers present in the communication process. These factors may have an impact on the communication process. Noise is one of the most common barriers, that influence the feedback in this process. Noise essentially is anything that distorts a message by interfering with the communication process. Noise can take many forms it can be external or internal factors. Noise as a barrier may originate from the source or the receiver, from the channel used in sending the message, or outside the source and receiver’s control.
Eg: Internal factor– Involves mental forces within a receiver or sender that might affect his or her ability to either encode or decode a message correctly. Eg: Daydreaming, fatigue, exhaustion.
Eg: External factors: Anything around the person that disturbs the communication process. Eg: Sights, sounds, smell.
Successful and effective communication for an individual, group or an organisation starts with the right implementation of the communication process. Effective communication leads to understanding. Through this process that the sharing of a common meaning between the sender and the receiver takes place. Communication is important for us. For effective communication we need to understand how various elements work.