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Process of Communication

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Everything you need to know about the process of communication. Communication refers to the process by which the information is transmitted and understood between two or more people.

Transmitting the sender’s intended meaning is the essence of effective communication. Communication involves two people – a sender and a receiver. One person alone cannot communicate.

Communication has been defined as a continuous process in which the exchange of ideas and information takes place among different persons.

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It has been pointed out in the characteristics of communication that it is a circular process which means that there are various steps one after the other.

The process of communication involves:- 1. Sender 2. Message 3. Encoding 4. Transmission 5. Receiver 6. Decoding 7. Noise 8. Feedback.


Communication Process: 8 Step Process of Communication

Process of Communication (Elements in the Communication Process):

Communication refers to the process by which the information is transmitted and understood between two or more people. Transmitting the sender’s intended meaning is the essence of effective communication. Communication involves two people – a sender and a receiver. One person alone cannot communicate.

It may be noted that if a person loudly makes a cry for help, and if it is not heard by anybody, the communication is not complete and the person will not get the expected help. In the similar way, if a manager sends information to the workers at bottom level, he has no reason to believe that he has communicated. Transmission of the message is only a beginning.

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There is no communication until the information is received, read and understood by the employee in the same sense and in the same meaning at the other end. Therefore, communication is what the receiver understands, but not what the sender conveys. The communication process refers to the stages through which the message passes from the sender to the receiver.

In this process, the sender forms a message and encodes it into words or symbols. The encoded message is transmitted to the receiver through a channel or medium. The receiver senses the incoming message and decodes it for understanding the message. Further, in most of the situations, the sender looks for confirmation that the message has reached the receiver.

This happens in the form of feedback or some kind of acknowledgement. It may take the form of a reply given by the receiver. The reply is to be again encoded, transmitted through a channel, received and decoded by the sender of the original message. Feedback repeats the communication process.

The different steps or elements in the communication process are elaborated below:

Process # 1. Sender:

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The sender is the source of the message that initiates the communication. The sender has a message or purpose of communicating to one or more people. A manager in an organization has to communicate information about the tasks to be achieved or a production deadline to be met by his subordinate employees. Without a reason, purpose, or desire, the sender has no information/message to send.

Process # 2. Encoding:

In the next stage, encoding takes place when the sender translates the information or message into some words, signs or symbols. Without encoding the information cannot be transferred from one person to another. In encoding the message, the sender has to choose those words, symbols or gestures that he believes to have the same meaning for the receiver. While doing so, the sender has to keep the level of the receiver in mind and accordingly communicate with him in the way the receiver understands it.

The message may be in any form that can be understood by the receiver. Speech is heard; words are read; gestures are seen or felt and symbols are interpreted. For example, there are several communications we make with a wave of the hand or with a nod of the head, a pat on the back, blinking of eyes.

Process # 3. Channel:

The channel is the medium used for transmission of information or message from sender to receiver. There are various media like telephone, mail through post, internet, radio, TV, press etc. For communication to be effective and efficient, the channel must be appropriate for the message. A phone conversation is not a suitable channel for transmitting a complex engineering diagram.

An express mail may be more appropriate. The needs and requirements of the receiver must also be considered in selecting a channel. If the receiver is illiterate, sending the message through postal mail is not relevant. Similarly, you cannot select the medium of telephone, if the receiver does not have a telephone with him. Therefore, in choosing the appropriate channel, the manager must decide whether feedback is important or not.

Process # 4. Receiver:

The receiver is the person who senses or perceives or receives the sender’s message. There may be just one receiver or a large number of receivers. The message must be prepared with the receiver’s background in mind. An engineer in a software organization should avoid using technical terms in communicating with his family members. It should be recognized that if the message does not reach a receiver, no communication takes place. Even, when the message reaches the receiver, if he cannot understand it, again there is no communication.

Process # 5. Decoding:

Decoding is the process through which the receiver interprets the message and translates it into meaningful information. It may be remembered that decoding is affected by the receiver’s past experience, personal assessments of the symbols and gestures, expectations, and mutuality of meaning with the sender.


Process of Communication (8 Stages of Communication Process):

Communication connects sender with receiver of the message. A process is “a systematic series of actions, operations or series of changes directed to some end.” However, in real life situations, communication process is more complex than it sounds. It consists of a series of elements which result in sharing of meaning by sender and receiver.

These elements are discussed below:

Stage # 1. Sender:

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Sender is the person who initiates, generates and sends the message. He represents the source of message. The communication process begins when the sender develops an idea or message that he wants to transmit. He arranges the ideas in a manner that can be understood by the receiver. A teacher delivering a lecture in the classroom is the sender of the message.

Stage # 2. Message:

Message is the idea or information that the sender wants to convey. He may convey it verbally (by writing or speaking) or non-verbally (through gestures or body language). Whatever the form, the message should be clearly formed so that the objective is accomplished.

Stage # 3. Encoding:

Once the sender is clear of what message he wants to transmit, he decides the code through which message shall be transmitted. Encoding means giving meaning to the message or converting ideas into codes which can be understood by the receiver. Encoding means translating the message into words (written or spoken), symbols or gestures. It may even be a combination of the three.

Stage # 4. Transmission:

Transmission involves selecting the medium or channel of communication. Once decided that the message has to be sent in writing, the sender may select the electronic channel and the medium of e-mail or fax. Short messages can be transmitted through telephone but lengthy messages can be sent through letters or circulars.

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Choice of channel depends upon the message to be conveyed, personal biases of the sender and nature of information. Where drawings, charts and illustrations form part of the message, it has to be sent in writing. Personal biases include sender’s preference for a particular channel. Some senders prefer to communicate in writing, howsoever short the message may be and, therefore, prefer the written channel of transmission. Nature of information refers to immediacy and confidentiality of information. Confidential information where immediate feedback is required is generally transmitted orally.

Stage # 5. Receiver:

Receiver is the person or a group of persons to whom the message is conveyed. In case of telephonic conversation, the sender can send message to one receiver but in case of group discussions, seminars and conferences, receivers can be more than one. The message must be designed, encoded and transmitted in a manner that receiver can understand easily. Use of technical words, jargons and complicated symbols should be avoided. Depending on the channel selected, receiver may be a listener, viewer or a reader.

Stage # 6. Decoding:

Decoding means giving meaningful interpretation to the message. On receiving the message, the receiver translates the symbols into meaningful information to the best of his ability. Communication is effective if receiver understands the message in the same way as intended by the sender. The receiver must, therefore, be familiar with the codes and symbols used by the sender in his message.

Stage # 7. Noise:

It represents the disturbing factor in the process of communication. It interferes with effective communication and reduces clarity of the message. The message may be interpreted differently than intended by the sender. Conversing near a machine making sounds, disturbance in telephone line, physical ailment or mental distress of sender or receiver are the common causes of noise that obstruct the quality of message transmitted from sender to the receiver.

Stage # 8. Feedback:

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Feedback is receiver’s response to the sender’s message. The receiver communicates reaction to the sender through words, symbols or gestures. It is the reversal of communication process where receiver becomes the sender and sender becomes the receiver. Unless the receiver responds to the message, communication process is incomplete. Feedback helps the sender transform his message, if needed. It also allows the receiver to clear doubts on the message, ask questions to build his confidence and enables the sender to know efficiency of the message. Feedback of information makes the communication process complete.

In face-to-face communication, sender can immediately receive the feedback. Written communication, on the other hand, takes longer for the sender to receive feedback on the message.

Feedback plays important role in two-way communication. In one-way communication, sender communicates with the receiver without getting any feedback but in two-way communication, the receiver provides feedback to the sender. Though one-way communication takes less time and is more orderly (it avoids noise and chaos), feedback in two-way communication makes it more accurate and precise.

Feedback offers the following benefits:

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i. It allows sender to improve communication with the receiver.

ii. It allows receiver to clarify doubts on the message and, therefore, perform better.

iii. Allowing receivers to ask questions builds confidence and they are more confident of their work performance.

iv. It enables the sender to know efficiency of his message; whether or not the receiver has understood the message in its right meaning. Feedback makes the communication process complete.


Process of Communication (Concept of Communication Process):

The process of communication consists of the following steps or stages:

(i) Message:

This is the background step to the process of communication, which by forming the subject matter of communication necessitates the start of a communication process. The message might be a fact or an idea, or a request or a suggestion, or an order or a grievance.

(ii) Sender:

The actual process of communication is initiated at the hands of the sender; who takes steps to send the message to the recipient.

(iii) Encoding:

Encoding means giving a form and meaning to the message through expressing in into-words, symbols, gestures, graph, drawings etc.

(iv) Medium:

It refers to the method or channel, through which the message is to be conveyed to the recipient. For example, an oral communication might be made through a peon or over the telephone etc.; while a written communication might be routed through a letter or a notice displayed on the notice-board etc.

(v) Recipient (or the Receiver):

Technically, a communication is complete, only when it comes to the knowledge of the intended person i.e. the recipient or the receiver.

(vi) Decoding:

Decoding means the interpretation of the message by the recipient; with a view to getting the meaning of the message, as per the intentions of the sender. It is at this stage in the communication process, that communication is philosophically defined as, ‘the transmission of understanding’.

(vii) Feedback:

To complete the communication process, sending feedback to communication, by the recipient to the sender is imperative. ‘Feedback’ implies the reaction or response of the recipient to the message, comprised in the communication.


Process of Communication (Elements of Communication Process):

Consider some objects like – this book, which you are reading, a videotape of Prime Minister’s speech, and an invitation card of your friend’s marriage. In each case the thing – the actual book, the actual videotape and the actual invitation – is not the communication. The communication is the process that connects the watchers of the tape to the message of the Prime Minister. The communication is the process that connects you and your friend via the announcement of her wedding.

Note, for example- that each of the previous set of examples contained sender and a receiver and a message. The book was written by its author to be read by its audience. The videotape was produced by one group of people to be watched by another. And the invitation is a message sent from your friend to you.

The simplest model of communication process is as follows:

Sender……………. Message…………….. Receiver

This model indicates three essential elements of communication; obviously, if one of the elements is missing, no communication can take place. For example- we can send a message, but if it is not heard or received by someone, no communication has occurred.

Unfortunately, this simple model does not suggest the complexity of the communication process. Following figure depicts a more sophisticated model of communication.

The communication process is a loop that connects the sender and the receiver and operates in both directions. Communication is not complete until the original sender knows that the receiver understands the message.

Note that the communication process involves eight basic elements- source (sender), encoding, message, transmission channel, receiver, decoding, noise, and feedback. Managers can improve communication skills by becoming aware of these elements and how they contribute to successful communication. Communication can break down at any one of these elements.

1. Source (Sender):

The communication process begins with sender. Sender wishes to send a message to the receiver. For example- a sales person making a presentation to the client, or a mother conveying her compassion to the kid, or a teacher teaching students in a class – all are senders in the process of communication.

2. Message:

The message is ‘what the sender wants to convey’ to the receiver. It may be an idea, or feeling, or some information. You, as the sender, have to express your purpose in the form of a message.

Every message has a purpose or objective. The sender intends – whether consciously or unconsciously – to accomplish something by communicating. In organizational con­texts, messages typically have a definite objective- to motivate, to inform, to teach, to persuade, to entertain, or to inspire. This definite purpose is, in fact, one of the principal differences between casual conversation and managerial communication.

3. Encoding:

To encode is to put a message into words or images. The sender organizes his message into a series of symbols – either written words or spoken words or gestures or any other symbolic act or a combination of these modes. This is termed as encoding of the message. There are three encoding skills- speaking, writing, and body language.

Encoding the matter is a very important element of communication. Using appropriate words and symbols can make the message clear and effective.

4. Transmission Channel:

The channel is the medium of transmission from one person to another (such as air for spoken words and paper for letters); it is often inseparable from the message. For communication to be effective and efficient, the channel must be appropriate for the message. A phone conversation would be an unsuitable channel for transmitting a complex engineering diagram; overnight express mail might be more appropriate.

The needs and requirements of the receiver must also be considered in selecting a channel. An extremely complicated message, for example- should be trans­mitted in a channel that permits the receiver to refer to it repeatedly.

However, one does not always have an option to choose the mode of communication. But when one has, the right decision can make the message clearer and more effective. Such choices may be guided by habit or personal preference.

One person may use the telephone because he dislikes writing; another may continue to use handwritten memos when electronic mail would be much more efficient. Both modes are appropriate in certain circumstances, so the manager must make individual decisions for each situation.

How to choose the best channel? Written and graphic communications, such as memos, letters, reports, and blueprints, are clear and precise and provide a permanent record. The telephone and face-to-face oral communication offer the advantage of immediate feedback. In choosing the appropriate channel, then, managers must decide whether clarity or feedback is more important.

Furthermore, each medium has technological features, which make it easier to use for some purposes than for others, like written communication may be made by letter, e- mail, fax, etc. The medium can affect both the form and the content of a message. The medium is therefore not simply ‘neutral’ in the process of communication.

5. Receiver:

The receiver is the person or group for whom the communication effort is intended. The message must be crafted with the receiver’s background in mind. An engineer in a microchip manufacturing company, for example- might have to avoid using technical terms in a communication with someone in the company’s advertising department; by the same token, the person in advertising might find engineers unreceptive to communications about demographics.

If the message does not reach a receiver, communication has not taken place. The situation is not much improved if the message reaches a receiver but the receiver doesn’t understand it.

6. Decoding:

Decoding is the process by which the receiver interprets the message and translates it into meaningful information. Decoding involves two things: one is techni­cally receiving the message as it has been sent, and the other is interpreting the message the way sender wants receiver to understand.

Technically receiving the message means, if it is spoken, the voice has been heard clearly and if it is written, it is readable clearly. However, it may happen that you have received the message clearly in its form and content, but could not understand it.

For example you receive the following message-

You can see it. You probably guess that it’s a language maybe even that it’s written in ‘Wingdings’ font type. You probably don’t understand it, though. In fact, it does mean something. But you don’t understand the language. You could not decode the message.

At times it happens that even if you understand the language of the message, you are not able to interpret its meaning. Decoding is affected by the receiver’s past experience, personal assessments of the symbols and gestures used, expectations (people tend to hear what they want to hear), and mutuality of meaning with the sender. In general, the more the receiver’s decoding matches the sender’s intended message, the more effective the communication has been.

One decoding problem occurred when a manager asked a subordinate if she would like to work overtime on a weekend. There were a number of other employees available to do the work, but the manager thought the one he singled out would appreciate an opportunity to earn extra income.

The subordinate had made special plans for Saturday, but she interpreted the manager’s offer as a demand, cancelled her plans, and spent the weekend working. As a result of poor communication, she interpreted the manager’s message differently than he intended.

There are three decoding skills- reading, listening, and reasoning.

7. Feedback:

Feedback is reaction, without it, the sender of the message cannot know whether the recipient has received the entire message or grasped its intent.

The need for feedback should be clearly understood. Feedback is the return of a portion of the message to the sender with new information. It regulates both the transmission and reception. The whole process is straightforward- the sender transmits the message via the most suitable communication media; the receiver gets the message, decodes it, and provides feedback. Feedback enables the sender to adjust his performance to the needs and responses of the receiver(s).

Organizational feedback may be in a variety of forms, ranging from direct feedback, such as a simple spoken acknowledgement that the message has been received, to indirect feedback, expressed through actions or documentation. For example- a straight­forward request for a faster rate of production may be met directly with an assenting nod of the head or indirectly with record-breaking output or a union strike.

In most organizational communications, the greater the feedback, the more effective the communication process is likely to be. For example- early feedback will enable managers to know if their instructions have been understood and accepted. Without such feedback, a manager might not know (until too late) whether the instructions were accurately received and carried out.

8. Noise:

Noise is any disturbance that obscures, reduces, or confuses the clarity or quality of the message being transmitted. In other words, it is any interference that takes place between the sender and the receiver. This is why we generally identify any communication problem that can’t be fully explained as “noise.”

To overcome the noise barrier to effective communication, one must discover its source.

It may be:

i. Physical Noise

ii. Physiological Noise or

iii. Psychological Noise

i. Physical Noise:

External factors that distract communication fall under this category. Everyday examples of physical noise are – a loud motorbike roaring down the road while you’re trying to hold a conversation, your little brother standing in front of the TV set, mist on the inside of the car windscreen, smudges on a printed page, etc.

Generally speaking, in this kind of everyday communication, we’re fairly good at avoiding physical noise- we shout when the motorbike goes past; you clout your little brother; cars have demisters.

ii. Physiological Noise:

Hearing disorders fall into this category, as do illness and disabilities that make it difficult to send and receive messages. For example- it is hard to pay attention when one is recovering from a late night study session or has the flu.

iii. Psychological Noise:

It consists of forces within sender or receiver that interfere with the understanding. Egotism, defensiveness, hostility, preoccupation, fear, different percep­tions – all these and more constitute psychological noise. We will be discussing these in detail under the heading – ‘Barriers of communication’.

Once the source, or sources, of the noise has been identified, steps can be taken to overcome it. The noise barrier can’t always be overcome but, fortunately, just the awareness of its existence by either the sender or the receiver of a message can help to improve the communication flow.


Process of Communication (8 Steps):

The process of communication involves the following steps:

Step # i. Sender:

The sender is anyone who wishes- (i) to convey an idea or con­cept to others, (ii) to seek information or (iii) to express a thought or emotion.

Step # ii. Encoding:

The sender encodes the idea by selecting symbols with which he can compose a message. Encoding is the use of suitable verbal or non-verbal symbols for sending the message. Managers usually rely on words, gestures and other symbols for encoding.

Step # iii. Message:

The message is what is conveyed by the sender. It is the heart of communication. It may come in the form of words, ideas, facts, opi­nions, etc.

Step # iv. Channel:

The message is sent through a channel, which is the commu­nication carrier. It may be face-to-face talk, telephone, a formal report, computer, radio, etc.

Step # v. Receiver:

The receiver is the person who is supposed to receive the message. He may be a reader, a listener or an observer.

Step # vi. Decoding:

Decoding is the process by which the receiver translates the message into the terms that are meaningful to him. The chances of successful decoding are greatly enhanced if the receiver knows the language and terminology used in the message.

Step # vii. Feedback:

It is a response by the receiver to the sender’s message. Feedback takes place when the receiver responds to the sender’s com­munication with a return message. It helps the sender determine whether the receiver correctly interpreted the message.

Step # viii. Noise:

Noise is any interference with a message that hampers the sharing of meaning between the sender and the receiver. Thus, negative atti­tudes, misperception, a loud radio, a person’s accent, illegible print or pictures, jargon, poor eye sight all qualify as noise. Understanding tends to diminish as noise increases. Noise can be minimized by foreseeing and neutralizing sources of interference.


Process of Communication (Process or Machinery of Effective Communication):

For every communication, at least two persons are required i.e., – a sender and a receiver-are required irrespective of the mode of communication. The sender may be called a source which conceives the idea, puts it in such terms that can be conveyed, decides the mode of communication, conveys it; the receiver receives it, tries to understand and finally takes an action according to the information or direction received from the source.

This whole process or machinery of effective communication may be discussed as follows:

The six steps i.e. –

(1) Ideation,

(2) Encoding,

(3) Transmission,

(4) Receiving,

(5) Decoding

(6) Action

are important sequence of communication.

These steps have been discussed as under:

(1) Ideation:

Ideation is just a preliminary step in communication where sender creates an idea to communicate. In other words, he thinks what message should be sent. This is the content of communication and a basis of message. He must have something to say before he can say. This step is very crucial because other steps are action less without any message.

(2) Encoding:

Under this step, sender organises their ideas into a series of symbols that he feels, they will communicate the message to the intended receiver. It includes selection of methods of communication as well as receiver. The workings may be different in different messages to be sent through different methods. A telegram may be differently worded from a letter or face to face conversation, green signal and whistle from the guard are sufficient signals to the driver for starting the train.

(3) Transmission:

Transmission confirms the method selected in the preceding step. The sender also chooses certain channel or path for communication through which a message travel to the receiver. Channel may be mass media or interpersonal channel. In selecting a channel, its effectiveness must be considered.

A lengthy message need not be sent through a telegram. A sender should always try to use the channel which is free from any barrier or disturbing influence so that the message can be received by the receiver properly and may hold the attention of the receiver.

(4) Receiving the Message:

The fourth step is receiving the message by the receiver who pays the necessary attention in receiving the message. Any neglect on the part of receiver may make the communication ineffective or it means the message is lost. In case of oral message, a receiver has to be good listener. But listening alone is not sufficient; he should be willing to understand also.

(5) Decoding:

Decoding means translation of symbols encoded by the sender into idea for understanding. Understanding the message by the receiver is the key to the decoding process. If the receiver does not understand the message or misunderstands it or pretends to misunderstand it, whereas he has understood it correctly, the communication is ineffective. This happens because perceptions of two people are quite different.

Understanding is with the receiver. A communication can only make sure that he has communicated the message and it reaches the receiver and understanding the message is only a choice of receiver whether to understanding it or not. Decoding in this way is translation of words or symbols received into idea.

(6) Action:

It is response by the receiver of the communication receiver from the sender. He may like to ignore the message or to store the information received or to perform the task assigned by the sender or something else.


Process of Communication (Components of Communication Process):

The process of communication can be easily understood by looking at the following diagram:

The diagram clearly illustrates how some message or information is exchanged between two parties that interact with each other. This process leads to some desired results like the fulfilling of an order or production of a report.

Let us not forget that this is a shared activity that is not complete without the feedback or response. A very common example is a telephone conver­sation in which there are greetings and instant questions and answers.

Components or Essential Ingredients of the Process of Communi­cation:

(a) The Parties Involved- The Sender and the Recipient:

Communication in its simplest form, is a two-way process. As we see in the diagram there are involved two parties in the process – the sender and the recipient or the receiver. ‘Recipient’ is a slightly better word because the word ‘receiver’ is more often used for a device that receives and processes signals like ‘telephone receiver’, ‘radio receiver’ etc.

The sender has a message or information that he wants to send to the recipient. There is a definite purpose or intention behind it. It can also be without a purpose, but that it is not important at this stage. What is more important is that both the sender and the recipient want to share or exchange some information.

In business every piece of information is important. The sender is the initiator of the process of communication and the recipient must be prepared to receive and act upon the message. So, both the sender and the recipient must be in the right frame of mind to share the information. They are the most important entities in the process of communication.

(b) Encoding and Decoding:

Before we understand the words ‘encoding’ and ‘decoding’ we must know the meaning of the word ‘code’. A code is any set or system of symbols understood by both the sender and the recipient. It can be both verbal and non-verbal. If the sender and the recipient use a common language their code is verbal.

In other words we can say that their language is their code. Here it is important to note that man is the only species in the world that has the gift of language. No other animal has this unique gift. It is only human beings who make meaningful sounds, combine those sounds in connected speech or write out symbols representing their speech.

There are many languages in the world. The sender and the recipient can use any of them as their code.

‘Code’ does not only mean a language like English or Hindi. It also means any other system of communication like signs, gestures or a certain type of arrangement of numbers. A very good example of code is the Morse’ Code that is a system of dots and dashes used in telegraphy.

Very often, while playing cards, some people blink their eyes or make some signs to their partners to convey their meaning. Those signs or gestures are their code.

Before sending across his message the sender ‘encodes’ it. It means that he carefully chooses his symbols or suitable words so that the recipient understands it properly. In other words we can say that the sender translates his idea into a language that he feels will be understood by the recipient.

It is above all a question of clarity of thought and good command of language. The recipient, on receiving the message, ‘decodes’ or deciphers it. It means that he ‘breaks or cracks the code’ or understands the language.

For this purpose he should have as good command of the language or code as the sender. Only then he will be able to share the message or information with the sender.

(c) Transmission through a Medium:

The third essential ingredient of the process of communication is the transmission of the message or information through a medium or channel. This is very important, because without it the message will not travel from the sender to the recipient. For successful transmission the medium or channel must be trouble-free.

In face-to-face conversation our pronunciation and voice quality are the medium. In telephone conversation the telephone line is the medium. In sending letters the postal system is the medium. In broadcasting systems the sound waves and electrical signals are the medium or channel.

Any disturbance in these mediums or channels creates noise that is very irritating and leads to waste of time and energy. That is why it is very important to have a clear voice, proper pronunciation, well-maintained telephone lines and properly checked public address systems.

(d) Understanding or Interpretation:

Much depends upon the understanding or interpretation of the message on the part of the recipient. The recipient may easily decode or decipher the message. But his understanding or interpretation of it may be very different from the expectations of the sender.

His command of the language may not be of the same level as that of the sender. Or his attitude to the sender may not be very positive. There may be a history of complaints or suppressed anger. Emotions play a very important role in life. Hence they may interfere with the understanding of the message.

Misinterpretation of the message may ruin the relations of the sender and the recipient. It may lead to a chain of letters or messages of apologies or clarifications. Such a scenario naturally brings us to the next essential component of the process of communication that is the feedback or response.

(e) Feedback or Response:

The process of communication is a cyclical phenomenon. The cycle of communication is not complete without the recipient’s response or feedback to the sender. The diagrammatic representation of the process of communication makes it very clear.

In certain types of communication like a public announcement, newsletters or memos issued to the employees feedback is not expected. They are examples of one-way communication. But most commu­nication remains incomplete without a reply or response.

All letters of enquiry, complaints, placing orders or requests for loans invariably get a polite response. They are a proof of the interest of the recipient in the sender and carry the business forward. In the absence of the feedback misunderstandings may arise and the business may suffer. That is why feedback/ response is an important component of the process of communication.


Process of Communication (Components):

We have said that communication is the exchange of in­formation and the transmission of meaning and understand­ing from one person to another. The process of communica­tion explains how information, meaning and understanding can be transmitted from person to person.

The components are:

i. Source and Encoder:

The information source is the origin of the message. Sender of the message is the source of some thought, need, idea or information to be transmitted to the receiver. The sender is also an encoder. The message is put into a code before it can be transmitted.

The code indicates the meaning one wishes to transmit. Language is the most popular code used to express our ideas and thoughts. The source, i.e., the sender, is often an encoder of the message we may have a separate encoder to prepare a message.

ii. Message:

A message may be spoken words, printed words, a graphic drawing, a facial expression, a gesture of the arm and so on. The message may carry advice, suggestion, order, instruction, warning, information, persuasion, etc., we may have even symbolic message, e.g., in music and in dancing programmes. Thus symbols may be verbal or non­verbal.

Your non-verbal language would communicate your feelings and reaction. Your face talks through smile and frowns. Your arms and hands punctuate. Your shoulders shrug. Your handshake can be hearty or limp. People in organisations send out virtually countless non-verbal messages. The message represents the meaning the sender wants to con­vey to the receiver. It must be understandable to both the parties.

iii. Channel:

The channel is the medium used to transfer the message. It is a connecting link that connects the source (sender) and the receiver. Most dominant channels are sight
and sound. The air is also a channel in vocal communica­tion, when it carries sound waves. A telephone is a channel linking two persons talking. We have visual, oral and written media of communication.

Newspapers, magazines, posters, bul­letins, reports, letters, meetings, seminars, television, etc., are the popular channels of communication. Face-to-face com­munication is, however, the best channel for effective com­munication.

iv. Decoder-Receiver:

The receiver is the individual or the organisation for whom the message is encoded and transmit­ted by the source of sender. The receiver decodes the message and attaches meaning to it. In complex communications, we may have a separate decoder. The receiver is expected to attach the intended meaning to the message.

v. Meaning:

In constructing a message, the source (sender) must be concerned about meaning because communication it­self is the conveyance of meaning. Please note that meanings are in people. Meanings result from (a) factors in the indi­vidual, as related to, (b) factors in the physical world around the receiver. People can have similar meanings only when they have similar experiences. Then again meanings are never fixed. As experience changes, meanings also change.

The source (sender) and the receiver both should understand the symbols used for the message. They must attach similar meaning to the symbols. The sender must communicate in the language which the receiver can easily understand. For instance, a good teacher puts his ideas in terms meaningful to his students in the class. He may use highly technical and sophisticated language in discussions of the same topics in a professional society, seminar or conference. An author should writer book in the language understandable by average students of the subject.

vi. Feedback:

The receiver decodes and attempts to under­stand the message. He now becomes a source and gives res­ponse to the received message. One way communication has zero feedback. Feedback naturally involves two-way commu­nication. As used in electronics, feedback means error correcting information returned to the control centre of a Servomechanism in order to correct deviations. The receiver’s response is called feedback. It indicates a return flow of in­formation.

In a sense, feedback is a signal pointing out to what extent the receiver has really received and understood the sender’s message correctly. A sender can know the effect of his communication only through the feedback i.e., response, reaction or interpretation of the message given by the receiver to the sender.

The receiver encodes the feedback message and sends it back to the sender through some channel. The feedback is a vital element in effective communication.

In face-to-face conversation feedback is instantaneous. The feedback or the return message is necessary for effective control. The sender cannot directly observe whether the re­ceiver has really received and understood the message. How­ever, the receiver’s behaviour provides the basis for judging the success of the sender’s attempt to communicate.

The teacher, for example, attempts to use feedback in the classroom by observing his students. If he observes many faces or frowning looks, it means that he has failed to commu­nicate and he will have to modify or adjust his message or flow of ideas. If the students look drowsy and are staring out the windows, it is clear that communication is imperfect and the teacher will have to enliven his ideas to create interest and remove the boredom.

Feedback need not be verbal. It can occur in the form of facial expressions, exclamations or lack of response. Under feedback the sender becomes a receiv­er. Hence, the skill of listening is equally important as the skill of communicating or transmitting the message. The ma­nager encourages his subordinates to ask questions after giv­ing necessary directions and instructions.

Research in communication has proved that the two-way communication (free feedback) is much more accurate in developing understanding than one-way communication, i.e., zero feedback. When the superior is a good listener, we have a good feedback.


Process of Communication:

To express the process of communication in the simplest manner.

The communication, in fact, is a more complex process that involves the following components:

(i) Sender:

Sender is a person who has something to communicate, he is the source where the idea originates, he is the one who invites or begins the process of communication.

(ii) Encoding:

Encoding involves the translation of information into series of symbols or gestures which will carry the same meaning to the receiver.

(iii) Message:

When the information is encoded into a physical form, it is called message. The form of the message should be such that it can be experienced and understood by one or more of the senses of the receiver.

(iv) Channel:

A channel is a vehicle by which the message travels to the receiver. For spoken words, air is a channel and for written messages, paper is a channel. Efficient communication also involves the selection of appropriate channels depending on the kind of message to be conveyed.

(v) Decoding:

When the channel brings the message to the receiver, he interprets the message and translates it into information that is meaningful to him.

(vi) Receiver:

Receiver is a person who has to perceive the meaning of the message in its proper sense. If the receiver does not receive the message, we can say that the communication has not taken place at all.

(vii) Feedback:

All that helps the sender to know what and how the receiver understood the message is called feedback. This is important for effective communication. Better feedback always results in better communication. Without feedback, the communication process is not said to be complete.

MIS and information technology created wonders in organisational communication.


Process of Communication (8 Step Process):

The communication process involves the sender, the transmission of a message through a selected channel and the receiver.

The process involves eight steps:

(i) Sender:

The process of communication begins with a sender. The person who transmits a message is known as the sender of the message. He wants to get his opinion, ideas facts or information to the receiver. For e.g. The Branch Manager explaining new product lines to the sales force is the sender of communication.

(ii) Encoding:

The process by which thoughts have to be converted into suitable words, pictures, charts or symbols, so that they can be delivered to the receiver is termed as encoding. While encoding a message, one needs to consider what contents to include, how the receiver will interpret it and how it may affect one’s relationship.

(iii) Message:

A message is what a communicator is communicating. Communication process begins with deciding about the message to be conveyed. Without this, there is no communication. The message sent by the person should be stated in clear and definite terms. It is the actual information that has to be conveyed.

(iv) Channel:

Medium is a channel through which a communication message travels. It is the link that connects the sender and the receiver. The choice of channel or medium is influenced by the inter relationships, understanding between the sender and the receiver.

The choice of appropriate medium of communication is essential for making the message effective and correctly interpreted by the recipient. This choice of communication medium varies depending upon the urgency of the message being sent, importance, number of receivers, costs and amount of information.

(v) Receiver:

A receiver is a person who receives and attaches some meaning to a message. In the best circumstances, a message reaches its intended receiver with no problems. The communicator should see that the receiver receives the message accurately and properly. If the receiver doesn’t receive the message properly then we say that the problem is from the communicator’s side not in the message.

(vi) Decoding:

Translating the sender’s message by the receiver is called decoding. In other words, decoding is the process by which the receiver draws meaning from the symbols encoded by the sender. It involves the interpretation of message by the receiver. The degree to which the receiver understands the message depends upon the knowledge of the respondent, his response to the message etc.

(vii) Feedback:

Ultimately the receiver responds or reacts to the communication sent by the sender. Whatever the response of a receiver to a message is, called feedback. Feedback is an important component of the communication process because ultimately the success or failure of the communication is decided by the feedback the sender gets.

(viii) Noise:

Noise is a disturbance that weakens the smooth flow of communication and reduces the clarity of the message. Such disturbance takes place because of poor network, lack of attention of the receiver etc. In short, there can be disturbance at every stage of the process and that can be on part of either Sender or Receiver.


Process of Communication (7 Steps):

Communication has been defined as a continuous process in which the exchange of ideas and information takes place among different persons. It has been pointed out in the characteristics of communication that it is a circular process which means that there are various steps one after the other. Different views have been expressed by different management scholars regarding these steps or elements. However, all the thinkers want to say one thing in conclusion.

(1) Sender/Communicator:

Sender is the person who sends his ideas to another person. For example- if manager wants to inform his subordinate about a work plan and communicates with him in this regard, Here the manager acts as a sender.

(2) Message:

The ideas form the subject-matter of communication. It means that whatever the sender wants to say are the ideas. It includes opinion, feelings, views, attitude, orders, suggestion, etc. For example- the work plan to be explained by the manager is in the shape of ideas.

(3) Encoding:

Anything thought about by the sender is a mental state, which means that something to be communicated has been thought of. Communicating this idea or thinking with the help of symbols, words or diagrams has been called encoding. For example- a manager receives an order to supply some material.

The manager wants to convey this thing to his subordinate employee for the production of that material. This mental state is an idea and when this idea is expressed in words, this situation is known as encoding. For example- “10,000 units of ‘A’ quality goods are to be produced in the month of January” is the encoded message.

(4) Media/Transmission:

A person who is anxious to send a message has to make use of some medium for communication. There can be many media of communication like face to face conversation, letters, internet chatting, telephone, E-mail, symbols, etc. For example- if the message is to be sent to some distant place quickly it would be proper to use telephone as a medium of communication.

During the transmission of a message, it is very important to keep the media of transmission free from noise.

(5) Decoding:

The sender can send his ideas briefly in the form of symbols or diagrams. Understanding it correctly is called decoding. For example- a telegram carries a long message in the form of a few words and when the receiver tries to understand the message in detail, his effort is called decoding.

(6) Receiver:

A receiver is a person for whom the message is sent. Receiver is an important part of communi­cation process. The effectiveness of communication depends on the knowledge of the receiver, which means how quickly he understands the feelings of the sender.

(7) Feedback:

Feedback is a signal pointing out to what extent the receiver has really received and understood the sender’s message correctly.

The process of communication is repeated time and again because the work continues unabated in a business organisation and no work can be accomplished without completing the process of communication.


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