The Communication Process

Communication is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another. It is a two way process of exchanging ideas or information between two human beings.

Components/ Elements/ Factors of Communication Process

The communication process involves seven basic elements:

  • Sender 
  • Encoding 
  • Message 
  • Channel 
  • Receiver 
  • Decoding 
  • Feedback 

1. Sender

The process of communication begins when the sender is struck by an idea. Firstly, let us see who is a sender? Sender is a person who sends the message. Sender may be a single person or a group. He acts as a speaker, writer or encoder. When a sender conceives an idea and wants to share it, he finds certain codes to express his message and creates the desired response. While preparing the message he keeps in mind the receiver’s culture, viewpoint, needs, status, mental ability, experience and expectations.

2. Encoding

Second component is encoding. Encoding means converting the idea into a message by using different words, gestures, symbols or body movements. He uses words and non-verbal signals that the receiver is familiar with, so that the message will be well understood. 

3. Message

The message is the information that the sender wants to transmit. It is the actual physical thing that the sender encodes. It creates a connection between sender and receiver. It consists of both verbal symbols and non-verbal symbols. When you write, your writing is the message. When you gesture, the movements of your arms and the expression of your face are the message.

4. Channel

After framing the message, the sender selects a channel or medium. The channel is the medium through which the message flows from the sender to receiver. It may be a letter, e-mail, voice mail, fax, telephone call, conversation or a television program. The choice of medium is influenced by the relationship between the sender and the receiver, situation or urgency of the message. 

Written communication should be used when the situation is formal, official and long term. The oral channel is effective when immediate feedback is important. 

5. Receiver

When the message is transmitted, a person receives it. The receiver is the person who receives, interprets and decodes the message. The message receiver is your reader or listener. Many of your messages may have more than one decoder. For communication to occur, your receiver must first get the message. 

6. Decoding

The next element is decoding. The act of understanding the message is known as decoding. It is the reverse of encoding. Your receiver must decode (absorb or understand) your message. His decoding of the message depends upon his past experience, knowledge of the language, understanding viewpoint and relations with the sender. Successful decoding is correct understanding of the intent of the message as transmitted by the sender.

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7. Feedback

After decoding the message the receiver gives feedback to the sender. Feedback is the reaction of the receiver, which indicates to the sender that the message has (or has not) been successfully received, understood and interpreted. After decoding the message, the receiver responds in the same way and signals that respond to you. This feedback helps in evaluating the success or failure of your message.

Barriers/Problems/Faults/Hindrances/Challenges to Communication

People in the world are not exactly alike. Cultures or countries are not the same. Each person has unique filter of mind. These differences cause problems in conveying and receiving the meaning of the message. These problems are called barriers as they block communication process. Following are the barriers in communication:

1. Language/Semantic Barrier

The choice of the words or language in which a sender encodes a message affects the quality of communication. Some words have variety of meanings. Miscommunication occurs when the sender and the receiver have different meanings of the symbols used. For example: Consider a word “value” 

a. What is the value of this laptop? 

b. I value our relation. 

c. What is the value of learning technical skills? 

Value means different in different sentences. Similarly, LIFO (last in, first out) FIFO (first in, first out), people who are not accountants cannot understand such acronyms. So the problem that occurs due to the difference in meaning is called semantic barrier. To overcome semantic barrier we should use simple language and common symbols.

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2. Restrictive Environment

Communication climate is influenced by an authoritarian and directive style of management. In this style, information in the form of command moves down but not up. This blocks free and open exchange of information. To avoid climate barrier, the manager should spend more time in listening than issuing order.

3. Distractions

Your audience receives your message accurately if nothing physical interrupts or distorts the message. 

Physical distractions such as bad connections block effective messages. Poor lighting, uncomfortable chair, noise, passing traffic or some other irritating conditions might distract your receiver. 

Emotional distractions also get in the way of our message. When we are upset, hostile or fearful, we have a hard time shaping (framing) our message effectively. If our receivers are emotional, they may ignore or distort our message. 

To communicate effectively, we should try to fight physical and emotional distractions.

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4. Closed Minds

Some people hold rigid views on certain subjects. They are not ready to accept new ideas or facts. Such close mindedness becomes hindrance in effective communication. To overcome this, we should be open minded to the ideas of others and should attempt to understand others. 

5. Information overload

Managers are surrounded with a pool of information. It is essential to control this information flow otherwise, they tend to ignore, pass over, forget, or selectively choose information. In any case, the result is lost information and ineffective communication. 

6. Poor Retention

Human memory cannot function beyond a limit. One cannot always retain what is being told specially if he is not interested or not attentive. This leads to communication breakdown.

7. Perceptual Difference

Perception means how each person looks at the world around him. People perceive reality in their own way. Even when two people have experienced the same event, their mental images of that event will not be identical (same). It is because perception of each person is unique, the idea he wants to express differs from other people. 

8. Lack of Interest

One of the greatest problems of communication is the receiver’s lack of interest in your message. We should always be alert to this. Where lack of interest is obvious, we must work hard to mold our message according to the interests and needs of the receiver. 

9. Jumping to Conclusion

Sometimes the receivers jump to conclusion before hand. They close their minds to get additional information. This causes problem in communication. To overcome this, we should reserve judgment until the speaker has finished. 

10. Sender’s Credibility

Often people react more according to their attitudes toward the source of information (sender) than to the information itself. Sender’s credibility is important in getting a favourable  reaction. When the sender is incredible, he becomes a barrier in communication. To overcome this barrier, we should not judge the message by the speaker but by the argument (information).


  1. Interesting and informative post. You have an interesting blog. thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your blog

    1. Thank you Sridhar Charresekaran. Keep visiting. You may follow me on twitter/g+/fb page for more updates


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