Process of Communication
The process of communication with the persons involved is shown in the figure. It presents the components and their relationship.
The sender is the source or originator of the idea and message. The sender can be an individual or group or an individual representing a group. The sender conceives the idea, prepares the message, decides about the receiver and then selects the channel.
A message refers to the stimulus that a source transmits to the receiver. It is what communication is about. Messages are composed of symbols having a certain meaning to the receiver. Translating the idea into a message for transmission is known as encoding.
It is the means through which communication flows from sender to receiver. The channel can be mass media (not meant for one individual) such as newspapers, radio, television etc., or interpersonal media (meant for an individual) like telephone, correspondence etc. The sender carefully selects the channel depending on the message to be conveyed. The factors influencing channel selection include availability, cost and effectiveness of the channels under consideration.
The receiver is the one for whom the message is intended. He receives the message and translates the symbols into ideas. This process is called decoding.
Response constitutes two things understanding and change in behaviour. The receiver examines the message and tries to understand it. The understanding of the message will then trigger changes in opinions, values, attitude and behaviours.
Communication is incomplete without feedback. Feedback is the return communication from the receiver to the sender. It completes the communication loop. Feedback is essential for the following reasons.
- The sender needs to know that the message is received at the right time and in the right form.
- The sender seeks to know whether the message is understood in the way it is required to be understood.
- Receivers have some doubts and need clarifications.
Example of the communication process
Below is an example of a communication process.
Let us take a specific situation to illustrate this. Suppose you want to place an order for a Business Communication book. This is IDEATION. You CONCEIVE THE MESSAGE and write a letter. This is called ENCODING THE MESSAGE. You put the letter in an envelope, attach stamps and post it in a post box. This is the SELECTION OF APPROPRIATE CHANNEL where your channel is the use of the postal system. The channel transmits the message. This is TRANSMISSION. Now the bookseller, say, a publishing company receives your letter. He opens the envelope and sees your letter. He reads. This is called DECODING OF THE MESSAGE. He understands your requirement for a book. He calls his secretary and gives instructions to send a copy of the book. This is the RESPONSE to the message. They despatch the book to you and intimate the same to you. This response is GIVING FEEDBACK.
The concept of communication has evolved from symbolic interaction theory to modern transactional theory. Communication has moved from the narrow intrapersonal framework to a much broader social context and has become a more complex phenomenon than before.
Table 1.1 provides a bird’s eye view of the theories of communication.
Table 1.1 Brief Outline of Communication Theories
Symbolic interactionism. theory
People interact with objects and events and form their meanings of them.
Based on mathematical principles it explains the use of codes in transmitting messages and the role of redundancy in reducing uncertainty.
It explains one-way communication. For effective communication,
oratory skills are essential. It explains two-way communication. It explains the concept and
importance of feedback in effective communication.
It envisages communication as a dynamic, spiralling process. It progresses as people continuously send and check messages for understanding.
We will now discuss the merits and demerits of one-way and two-way communication processes.
The one-way communication is explained by the Action model/bull’s-eye theory. It applies to those contexts in which the sender is active and the receiver is passive. The contexts include – public meetings, legislative assemblies and courtrooms where speakers try to impress the audience through a one-way process.
The merits of one-way communication are:
(i) It allows the speaker to express his or her views or feelings without any hindrance.
(ii) It enhances the prestige of the speaker.
The demerits include:
(i) The Receiver feels helpless and frustrated when not interested in the subject or speaker.
(ii) There is no opportunity to interact and get clarifications from the speaker
Two-way communication is explained by the Interaction model/Ping-Pong theory.
Communication is like a ping-pong game that involves action and reaction. Communication involves stimulus and response. Feedback is added to the linear one-way communication.
The merits include the: Feedback permits the sender to exert more control over the communication. It allows him to know whether the message has been received and understood Receiver will have interest and try to understand by asking questions or seeking clarifications.
The demerits include: It is time-consuming. It puts pressure on the sender to impress the receiver and spend time providing clarifications.