What is Communication?

Communication is a process by which information is exchanged or simply the act of transferring information between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, semiotic rules or behavior from one place to another. It is Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information or theories, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning. The critical factor in measuring the effectiveness of communication is common understanding. Understanding exists when all parties involved have a mutual agreement as to not only the information, but also the meaning of the information.

The Communication Process

Communication may be defined as a process concerning exchange of facts or ideas between persons consists of some interrelated steps or parts through which messages are sent form sender to receiver with holding different positions in an organization to achieve mutual harmony. The communication process is dynamic in nature rather than a static phenomenon. This message must be conveyed through some medium to the recipient. It is essential that this message must be understood by the recipient in same terms as intended by the sender. Communication process as such must be considered a continuous and dynamic inter-action, both affecting and being affected by many variables.

The communication process consists of several components.

  • 1) Message 2) Context 3) Sender 4) ideas 5) encoding 6) Selecting the medium 7) communication channel 8) receiver 9) decoding 10) sequence of signals 11) feedback.

1. Message

Message is a key idea that the sender wants to communicate. It is a sign that elicits the response of recipient to achieve mutual harmony. Communication process begins with deciding about the message to be conveyed. It must be ensured that the main objective of the message is clear.

2. Context

Communication is affected by the context in which it takes place. This context may be in way of physical, social, chronological or cultural. Every communication proceeds with context. The sender chooses the message to communicate within a limit of context.

3. Sender

The person who intends to convey the message with the intention of passing information and ideas to others is known as sender or communicator.  Sender may be an individual or a group or an organization. The views, background, approach, skills, competencies, and knowledge of the sender have a great impact on the message. 

4. Ideas

This is the subject matter of the communication. This may be an opinion, attitude, feelings, views, Knowledge base information, orders, other information, recommendation or suggestions.

5. Encoding

Encoding means converting or translation the idea into a perceivable form that can be communicated to others. Mean Sender / Encoder is a person who sends the message. A sender makes use of symbols (words or graphic or visual aids) to convey the message and produce the required response. Conversion of subject matter into these symbols is the process of encoding.

6. Selecting the medium

Medium is a means used to exchange / transmit the message. It is the channel or means of transmitting the message to the receiver. Once the sender has encoded his into a message, the next step is to select a suitable medium for transmitting it to the receiver. The sender must choose an appropriate medium for transmitting the message else the message might not be conveyed to the desired recipients. The medium of communication can be speaking, writing, signaling, gesturing etc. 

7. Communication channel

The person who is interested in communicating has to choose the channel for sending the required information, ideas etc. This information is transmitted to the receiver through certain channels which may be either formal or informal.

8. Receiver

A receiver is an individual or a group of individuals intended to receive, decode & interpret the message sent by the sender/source of message. A receiver also known as decoder. This stage simply involves the reception of sender’s message by the receiver. He is expected to have the ability & skills to receive, decode & interpret the message.

9. Decoding

Decoder is a person for whom the message is intended / aimed / targeted.  The person who receives the message or symbol from the communicator tries to convert the same in such a way so that he may extract its meaning to his complete understanding. Once received, the receiver/s needs to decode the message. Successful decoding is also a vital communication skill.  Here the receiver converts the message into thoughts and tries to analyze and understand it for their responsiveness to the message, and the reliance of encoder on decoder.

10. Sequence of signals

A signal as referred to in communication systems, signal processing, and electrical engineering is a function that "conveys information about the behavior or attributes of some phenomenon In the physical world, any quantity exhibiting variation in time or variation in space (such as an image) is potentially a signal that might provide information on the status of a physical system, or convey a message between observers, among other possibilities.

11. Feedback

The final step of communication process is feedback. It is a return message sent by the receiver to the sender. Feedback is the process of ensuring that the receiver has received the message and understood in the same sense as sender meant it. It is most essential element of the communication process as it shows that the receiver has understood the primary message sent by the sender & the communication process is now considered complete. A successful communication must be a two-way process where the sender sends the message & receives feedback from the receiver.

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