What is Communication?
“Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning is called Communication”.
Understanding the Communication Process:
Following figure represents the communication process:
This process can be understood by knowing about the following 7 elements/factors of the communication process:
1. Sender: Sender is a person who initiates the communication process. Sender may be an editor, reporter, speaker, teacher or anyone who takes the first step to start the process of communication. As you know before we transmit something, we think of it first. For example, when an artist makes a portrait, he is communicating his thoughts or imagination on the canvas. Therefore, sender will have something (an idea, thought or information) in his/her mind for communication that he wants to convey the receiver.
2. Encoding: “Dressing of one’s thought in meaningful language is called Encoding”. The use of this meaningful language; oral (spoken), written or nonverbal (gestural) becomes a message. A message should be composed of words which receiver can understand.
3. Medium (Channel): Once the message is created, it must be transmitted to the receiver with an appropriate medium or channel. “A vehicle through which message is transmitted to the receiver is called a Medium or Channel”. Medium can be a telephone, newspaper, chart, picture, television and so on.
4. Noise: “The blocks in the flow of communication are called Noise or Barriers”. They are always present in the communication process somehow. Some examples of noise and barriers are external interference, faulty transmission, poor language and defective translation. In order to make the communication process effective, noise and barriers should either be reduced or eliminated as much as possible.
5. Decoding: When receiver receives the message; then, he/she decodes it. “The interpretation of message by the receiver is called Decoding”. Decoding of message by the receiver will depend upon receiver’s background, perception, knowledge, viewpoint and relationship with the sender.
6. Receiver: “The person who receives the message and decodes it is called Receiver”. Communication can never be perfect as there is always a deviation between idea sent and idea received. Communication will be highly deviated if the receiver does not decode the message in the manner the communicator (sender) wants him to. However, if the receiver is skilful in communication, the deviation will be small.
7. Feedback: “The response of receiver to sender’s message is called Feedback”. Feedback of receiver may be making a face, organizing a point and asking for explanation. Feedback allows the message to be shaped and reshaped by the sender and the receiver until the meaning becomes clear. In this way, both participants in communication interact and constantly exchange parts. Feedback, thus regulates the communication process by reinforcing an idea that is desired to be communicated.