9 Elements of Communication Process & Communication Cycle

What is Communication Process?

Communication refers to the process by which information is exchanged between individuals. It operates on a sender-receiver model. The sender can transmit an idea, opinion, feeling, fact, news, or other forms of information to the receiver. The receiver then gives feedback on the content in communication and puts forward their own ideas and opinions.

The communication process is a vital part of business communication. It ensures coordination, teamwork, and building relationships. Elements in the communication cycle include a sender, a receiver, a message, a channel, encoding, and decoding along with feedback, response, and noise.

In a company, sender and receiver communication can occur in:

The sender and receiver communication may not necessarily involve only two parties. Two or more groups of people can be parts of the communication process.

Example of the communication process

Illustration-example-of-how-communication-process-work.
The illustration represents a live example of the communication process between two persons.

Elements of the Communication Process

The basic elements of the communication cycle are as follows:

1) Sender: The sender is also known as the source of the information. They come first on the list of elements in communication. They share the information which can be in various forms such as opinions, ideas, news, etc. with a person or group of persons.

The sender may be an individual person (sales representative or executive) or a non-personal entity such as the organization itself.

2) Encoding: Encoding in the communication process refers to the means that the sender uses to communicate information. The sender uses words, pictures, symbols, etc. to put together thoughts and ideas in a way that would be easily understood by the receiver. The goal of the encoding process is to ensure clear flow of information from sender to receiver.

3) Message: Once the encoding process is decided, the sender must develop the message that contains the information they wish to convey. The message may be written, symbolic, verbal or non verbal. It must be in a form that is transmittable for the appropriate channel in the communication process.   

4) Channel: A channel is the means by which the sender communicates a message to the receiver. It is a form of communication that relies on a medium to deliver a message. For example, written communication is a channel of communication that relies on mediums such as letters, business reports, emails, etc. to convey information. 

Channels in the communication process are divided into three broad categories:

    • Oral: In oral communication, the sender directly interacts with the receiver in a face-to-face conversation. For example, a sales executive directly deals with customers. This allows the sender greater control over the interaction.
    • Written: Messages are also transmitted in written format between sender and receiver. For example, letters, memos, business communication reports, emails, notices, manuals, etc. 
    • Audio/Video: The audio channel involves video tapes, video conferences, video chats, etc.

5) Receiver: The sender uses a channel to communicate the message to the receiver. The receiver is simply the party the message was intended for. The receiver may read, see or hear the message. They can also be active parts of the communication process if the sender contacts them directly.

6) Decoding: Same as a sender encoding a message, the receiver must decode the message received. Decoding in the communication process involves the receiver interpreting the message based on their individual backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints.

For effective communication, the encoding and decoding of the message must match. This refers to the receiver interpreting the message exactly how the sender intended.

7) Response: Once the receiver has seen, heard, or read the message, how they react to it makes up their response. The response of a receiver can vary from person to person.

A receiver may simply store the information in their memory or act immediately by replying or taking action. For example, a customer buys a product right after communicating with the salesperson.

8) Feedback: Feedback is part of various elements of communication. It is a form of reverse communication where the receiver encodes a message for the sender to decode.

In simple words, the receiver tells the sender how they interpreted the message and offer their own thoughts and ideas. Feedback in marketing can be in the form of personal communication, online customer reviews, ratings, etc.

Why is feedback important in communication?

    • Feedback allows the sender to collect information about the message from the receiver.
    • It completes the communication process as the sender and receiver interact with each other.
    • Depending on positive or negative feedback from the receiver, is a good way to measure the effectiveness of communication and make future improvements.
    • Feedback helps in improving employee and management relations as it creates a congenial atmosphere in the workspace.

Must Read: What is Feedback In Communication: Examples & Importance

9) Noise: During the communication process, outside factors may distract or interfere with the reception of the message. This distortion of unplanned factors is referred to as noise.

Noise can disrupt any and all elements of communication. For example, ineffective communication by an inexperienced sender can cause the message to be poorly interpreted by the receiver.

There are two types of noise:

  1. Channel Noise: This covers mechanical failures, static, and technical problems such as the legibility of text, volume, etc.
  2. Semantic Noise: This type of noise is related to problems in the message. Examples are grammatical errors, wrong punctuation, spelling mistakes, etc.

Example of elements of the communication process

Illustration-example-of-nine-elements-of-communication-process.
Example of how nine elements work in a communication process.

How elements of communication process are used for the marketing communication process?

Businesses and organizations use communication processes in order to deliver their marketing message in front of their target audience. The consumer then responds to the message sent by the organization in the form of feedback where they like or dislike the product/service offered.  

The process starts with the sender which in this case is the organization, who starts to formulate a marketing message for their target audience.  Furthermore, the message is then encoded into useful symbols. 

Encoding the message refers to converting the words into the form of understandable symbols. These symbols are closely associated with marketing messages developed by the organization. 

The encoded message is transmitted to the target consumer with the help of the channel also known as the medium. 

This process helps organizations to deliver their marketing message to the receiver which in this scenario is their business potential customers. 

The medium used can be direct for example sales executives making phone calls to potential prospects in order to deliver their message. 

Or it can be indirect where the organization can use various forms of media such as print media which includes newspapers, magazines, brochures, etc. And digital media including television, radio, etc. 

The next stage involves the response stage where the consumer responds to the message delivered by the organization. This is the stage where the organization gets feedback for its product and service directly from the consumers. 

The feedback can be positive or negative depending on how the product is been perceived by the consumers. 

The process ends with the last element called Noise. In this case, the noise can be the cultural difference between the region targeted by the organization for the marketing message. This can lead to poor acceptance of the product in the market. 

Defining Communication Cycle

The communication cycle refers to the different elements in communication interacting together to successfully transmit a message from the sender to its receiver. 

The correct sequence of communication begins with a sender who acts as the source of the information. The sender encodes information and puts together their ideas in the form of words (oral or written), pictures, etc.

The encoded information is used to form a message which requires a channel (personal or non-personal) to be transmitted to the receiver.

After receiving the message, the receiver starts the process of decoding the information according to their needs and understanding.

Once this is done, the receiver responds in the form of a reply, action, or simply inaction. The receiver may also offer the sender feedback on how they interpreted the message. 

Components of the Communication Process

The major components of a communication process are:

  1. Thoughts and ideas of the sender  
  2. Encoding of the idea into a message using a channel
  3. The receiver decodes the message they received
  4. The response of the receiver to the message
  5. Feedback provided to the sender by the receiver
  6. The sender decoding the feedback received   

7 C’s of Communication 

The 7 C’s of communication apply to both oral and written forms of communication. They are:

1) Completeness: The information communicated should be complete and mention all facts required by the receiver.

2) Conciseness: The communicated message should be concise and use as few words and technical jargon as possible.

3) Consideration: The sender should be unbiased and try to take the audience’s viewpoints, backgrounds, mindsets, etc. into consideration.  

4) Clarity: The message should convey the information clearly and be easily understood by the receiver.

5) Concreteness: A concrete message focuses on the particulars and clear information rather than being confusing and generic. 

6) Courtesy: The sender should respect the receiver and convey their message in a polite and courteous manner. 

7) Correctness: Correctness in communication refers to the message having no grammatical errors.

Must Read: Principles of Effective Business Communication

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) What is communication?

Ans: Communication refers to the transmission of thoughts, ideas, and messages between a sender and a receiver. This is done through a channel of communication which can be oral, written, symbolic, picturized, etc. 

Q2) What is the importance of communication for an organization?

Ans: Communication is the backbone of any organization. It helps in planning, motivation among employees, coordination, and maintaining healthy industrial relations. A well-organized communication system enables subordinates to understand instructions easily and improve the quality of work.

Q3) What are the factors affecting communication?

Ans: The factors which may serve as a communication barrier include:

  1. Providing too much information
  2. Delay in response from the receiver
  3. Providing unclear information 
  4. Using weak language 
  5. Selecting the wrong delivery channel

Q4) What are the major elements of a communication process?

Ans: The major elements of a communication process are:

  1. Sender
  2. Encoding
  3. Message
  4. Channel
  5. Receiver
  6. Decoding
  7. Response 
  8. Feedback
  9. Noise

Q5)What is the difference between the communication process and the elements of communication?

Ans: The communication process refers to the exchange of information between a sender and receiver. The elements of communication include 9 essential elements: sender, encoding, message, channel, receiver, decoding, response, feedback, and noise. 

Aditya Soni

Aditya is the head of content at clearinfo and is responsible for improving the site's organic visibility. He is a certified SEO trainer and has worked with SaaS companies and startups to enhance their digital marketing presence. He is also an ahref fanboy. Click to connect with him on Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

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