Elements of the Communication Process

Communication plays a prominent part of our everyday life. It is everywhere in our modern society, from the home to the workplace. In previous articles, we have talked about the types of communication and group communication. Today, we’ll look at the different elements of communication.

Elements of Communication

Certain elements are required for the communication process to be considered effective and efficient. Firstly, there is the message which is the whole purpose of the communication process. It is the primary information that the sender needs to convey to the receiver, which can be any combination of written, verbal and non-verbal communication.

Next, we have the context. This is the setting or situation where the communication takes place. Context plays an important part in communication, since it can influence the information exchange. As per DeVito (2005), “context includes four aspects, physical, cultural, social-psychological, and temporal.

Physical context refers to the environment where the communication process is taking place, such as a religious place or at a workplace.The cultural context, on the other hand, is the different lifestyles, values and behaviours of people. Socio-psychological context refers to how communication will differ according to norms’ variations. The temporal context emphasises the difference in how information is communicated based on different settings. For example, invitations for a wedding and a funeral will be different.

The third element of communication is the sender or encoder, who is the person who communicates the message and is also called the communicator. The sender has a specific objective. He/she needs to convey a comprehensible message to the receiver. This will entail making use of the appropriate medium to convey the necessary information, as well as ensuring the message is understood by the targeted receiver.

The medium or channel of communication is the element used to convey the information. With the advances in modern technology, there has been a drastic increase in the communication channels, which now include video conferencing among other mediums. The types of communication channel used depends on the sender and the receiver. For instance, some might prefer social media platforms. For example, enterprises often use Facebook to communicate and promote their new products to their customers.

The fifth element of communication is the receiver or decoder – the person the message is intended for. This person is also known as the interpreter and he or she might be a listener, a reader or an observer. The receiver has the responsibility to receive the message and decode it appropriately. This element also focuses on the receiver’s ability to decode the information depending on his/her experiences, values, knowledge and culture.

The sixth and last component is feedback. Feedback is the last link in the process of communication. In communication, a sender encodes and sends a specific message to a receiver and when the latter receives it and interprets it, feedback is given. It can be in written, verbal or non-verbal form or even a combination of all three. Examples of feedback can be a written message, a spoken comment or merely a smile. It is a critical factor in the process of communication as it establishes the fact whether the targeted receiver correctly decoded the message or not. It determines the success of failure of the sender’s ability to encode a message. It also describes whether there have been any ambiguities to understand the meaning of the message.

And as per Bovee and Thill (1992), “Feedback plays an important role by indicating significant communication barriers: differences in background, different interpretations of words, and differing emotional reactions.”

What do you think about the six different elements of communication? Please don’t forget to share your comments!

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