For the communication process to materialize, it is essential that the basic components or elements of communication be identified. These components are:
The person who initiates the communication process is normally referred to as the sender. He is the person who transmits, spreads, or communicates a message and is the one who conceives and initiates the message with the purpose of informing/persuading/influencing/changing the attitude, opinion, or behavior of the receiver (audience/listener).
From his personal data bank, he selects ideas, encodes, and finally transmits them to the receiver. The entire burden of communication then rests upon the sender or encoder. In this process a number of factors come into play, the primary among them being an understanding of the recipient and his needs. If the message can be formulated in accordance with the expectations of the receiver, the level of acceptance is going to be higher.
The receiver is the targeted audience of the message. The receiver gets the message, understands, interprets, and tries to perceive the total meaning of the message as transmitted by the sender. He receives an encoded message which attempts to decode. This process is carried on in relation to the work environment and the value perceived in terms of the work situation. If the goal of a sender is envisioned as similar to his own, the listener becomes more receptive. The decoding of the message is done in almost entirely the same terms as intended by the sender.
- It is information, written or spoken, which is to be sent from one person to another. (a) The most important characteristic of a message as an element of communication is that it is organized, structured, shaped, and select a product of the pre-writing or pre-speaking stage. It exists in the mind of the sender (communicator).
- The message is the encoded idea transmitted by the sender. The formulation of the message is very important, for an incorrect patterning can turn the receiver hostile make him lose interest. At this stage, the sender has to be extremely cautious. What is the order in which he would like to present his ideas?
How then the message should be formulated and transmitted the ordering, as stated earlier, should be based on the requirements of the listener so that its significance is immediately grasped. The minute the receiver finds his goals codified in the message, he sits up, listens and responds. The message thus has a massage impact.
Another important element of communication is the medium or channel. This is the vehicle or medium that facilities the sender to convey the message to the receiver. It could be oral, written or non-verbal. Prior to the composition of the message, the medium/channel should be decided. Each medium follows its own set of rules and regulations.
For example, in oral communication one can afford to be a little informal, but when using the written mode, all rules of communication need to be observed. It must be remembered that anything in writing is a document that would be filled for records or circulated to all concerned.
This is the top loop that connects the receiver in the communication process with the sender, who, in turn, acts as a feedback receiver and, thus, gets to know that communication has been accomplished. It also ensures that the receiver has received the message and understood it is as intended by the sender. This is the most important component of communication. Effective communication takes place only when there is feedback. The errors and flaws that abound in business situations are a result of a lack of feedback.
Let us take a look at the typical responses of people involved in miscommunication: “This is not what I meant” “This is not what I said”, or “This was not my intention”. If feedback is solicited on all occasions, this error can be minimized or even completely done away with. Fallacious statements or erroneous conclusions are made because of a lack of confirmation through feedback and discrepancy between the message transmitted and understood.
The process of feedback assures the initiator of the action about its correctness and possible impact. The various elements of communication are briefly described to help you understand the process of communication. Besides these two elements, there are two more terms to be understood in the process of communication:
- Encoding: Encoding is changing the message (from its mental form) into symbols, that is patterns of words/gestures/pictorial forms or signs (physical or of sounds) of a specific visual/aural language.
- Decoding: This is the act of translating symbols in communication into their ordinary meanings. However, the total meanings would consist of the meanings of the words (symbols) together with the tone and the attitude of the sender as reflected by the structure of the message and the choice of words used by him (the sender).
Process of Communication
A process, by definition or simple explanation, is “a systematic series of actions, operation of series of changes directed to some end.” Communication is a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of ideas toward a mutually accepted direction or goal. It means, therefore, that in the process of communication two or more persons must participate through a medium that carries the information or message for a particular purpose mutually understood by both the sender and the receiver.
Only when these conditions are fulfilled, a significant communicative situation will take shape and what transpires between the two parties, viz., the sender and the receiver, whether spoken or written, will be the communicative event. Any letter or report, interview or conference, memo, or, complaint is a communicative event. The importance of these communicative events cannot be over-emphasized. They are the very lifeline of any organization.
One Way Process
- The sender, according to his ideas, behavior pattern, and intention selects a message.
- He then encodes the message.
- After encoding the message, he transmits it to the receiver through a medium – be it oral verbal or non-verbal.
- As soon as the message reaches the receiver he decodes it and gives an internal response to the perceived message. It is not worthy that the response is not in relation to the actual content but rather to the “perceived content” of the original message.
This completes the first face of the communication process. The manner in which the sender and receiver perceive the same word could give rise to differences in encoding and decoding.
Two Way Process
The One Way Communication process is incomplete, as the sender does not come to know whether his message has been understood by the receiver or not. The process will be complete only after the sender receives feedback from the receiver. In the second phase, the receiver formulates his massage, encodes it, and transmits it to the original sender-now-turned-receiver.
This stage is reoffered to as providing feedback and is most crucial. If the feedback is in tune with the original intent of the sender communication will proceed without a hitch. However, there could be moments when the receiver does not agree with the message of the sender. This does not mean that there is a breakdown of communication. We can in such instances, state that effective communication is caught up for the time being. It could resume after subsequent discussions.
For the process of communication to be effective, there should be a well-defined goal in the mind of the sender. Harmony between the goals of the two communicators makes for a good and easy progression of ideas and concepts. Whatever the initial situation, the sender necessarily needs to adhere to the following stages:
- Create awareness in the receiver on the topic.
- Propose his point of view with clarity and preciseness so as to eliminate possibilities of confusion in the mind of the receiver.
- Enable a smooth flow of discussion by observing communication strategies.
- Reinforce or correct ideas in the mind of the receiver concerning the goal of communication.
- Achieve the goal of communication.
Which Component of Communication is more important?
- Some argue that the sender of information in the process of communication is more important or the source is more important, or the credibility of the source is important.
- Some say that it is the message or content that is more important. The message must be well-tailored, well-drafted, and understandable.
- Some argue that channels of communication are more important. The channel may be newspapers, TV, radio, etc. in terms and opinion leaders such as Sarpanch/Headmasters, etc., in villages. There should not be any noise in the channel.
- In fact, it is the receiver who is the most important person in the process of communication because it is the receiver who lends meaning to the message.