How the Communication Process Works (Example Included)
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Communication is fundamental to the health and operation of an organisation. A clear communication process creates a space and platform for people to share ideas, information, facts and feelings. It improves the reliability and coordination of information. As a result, key stakeholders can make informed decisions quickly and efficiently.
In this article, we define the communication process, identify its major components and explain how a communication process works with an example for you to follow.
What is the communication process?
The communication process is a dynamic framework that describes how a message travels between a sender and receiver using various communication channels. Its goal is to ensure the receiver decodes the message correctly and can provide feedback with ease and speed. This is especially important for larger organisations that need to notify people in different areas and time zones about an event, problem or change.
Technology in the workplace has made the communication process more effective. A message is no longer communicated just through voice or writing; it is also shared through audio, video, email and social media. A communication process streamlines the flow of information and takes advantage of multiple channels in the best way possible.
Communication processes need good management to sustain them in the long-run. Leaders in the workplace establish the style, tone and function of communication. If you are in a position of authority, it is especially important that you model good communication.
Key components of the communication process
Here are seven essential components that make up the communication process:
Sender: The person who conceptualised the idea and wants it delivered to the recipient.
Encoding: The way the information is described or translated into a message.
Message: The idea, fact or opinion that the sender wants to communicate.
Communication channel: The method of delivering the message.
Receiver: The target audience of the message.
Decoding: The interpretation of the message.
Feedback: The response or action a receiver takes after decoding a message.
How does the communication process work
The communication process works through a series of seven steps, they include:
1. The sender develops an idea to be sent
Communication begins with an idea. For you to construct a clear and actionable message, you need to organise your thoughts. To understand the purpose of your message, answer these three essential questions:
Who do you want your message to reach?
What information does the receiver need to know?
What do you want the receiver to do with this information?
2. The sender encodes the message
Once the sender develops an idea, they need to present the message in a coherent structure. Ask yourself the following questions to understand the receiver's communication style better:
Is the receiver knowledgeable about the topic?
Does the receiver prefer a general overview or detailed information?
Do you need to provide any additional resources to aid their judgement?
Can you think of any distractions, such as preconceived ideas, that could influence their interpretation of the message?
3. The sender selects the channel of communication that will be used
Think about how you need to send your message. The communication channel you use should organise your information in a way that enhances your point. Consider the four main types of communication channels when making your decision:
Verbal: Face-to-face, telephone, video conferences, presentations and visual media
Non-verbal: Eye-contact, facial expressions, body language and dress code
Written: Emails, newsletters, press releases, text messages, social media posts, records, proposals and other business documents
Visual: Graphs, charts and drawings
4. The message travels over the channel of communication
The sender should select an appropriate medium for the message. This will depend on your relationship with the receiver, the purpose of your writing and the urgency of the message.
Technology has made it faster than ever to share important information. However, in the business environment, formal written communication, such as contracts and legal documents, continues to exist to safeguard the interests of an organisation and its employees.
5. The receiver receives the message
Next, the recipient receives the message. The receiver will process the message according to the communication channel the sender uses. For example, the sender could deliver the message by speaking to the receiver face-to-face. For more formal messages, the sender may present the message during a board meeting instead.
6. The receiver decodes the message
The receiver then decodes the sender's message. In this stage, the receiver processes the information, understands its context and analyses its implications. This is one of the most crucial stages in the communication process. If the receiver can successfully decode the message, this implies the effectiveness of the communication process. As a result, businesses can continue their operations with little disruption.
7. The receiver provides feedback
Feedback is the most important step in the communication process. Ask yourself the following questions to analyse and improve your future communication:
Have you arranged a process for collecting feedback?
Have you given the receiver an opportunity to ask questions?
Can you pick up on non-verbal cues to understand how the message has been received?
Could you have done anything differently to achieve a better result?
Types of noise during the communication process
Reducing 'noise' or distractions can significantly increase your chances of successfully communicating your point. It ensures your message does not get misinterpreted or ignored, and the receiver takes it seriously instead. To effectively eliminate noise, senders should consider the receiver's personal beliefs and their physical environment. Here are the four types of noise you need to eliminate for smooth communication:
1. Psychological noise
This type of noise interferes with communication between the sender and receiver because of personal barriers. Managing psychological noise is a sign of respect. It helps build trust and encourages people to speak up Some examples of psychological noise are:
Biases and prejudice
Related: Types of Barriers in Communication
2. Physical noise
Physical noise describes external distractions in your workplace. Noise from colleagues speaking loudly or listening to music exemplifies how our surroundings can hamper us from understanding or decoding a message.
3. Environmental noise
Environmental noise makes it difficult to hear or concentrate on a message, for example, noise from a construction site or passing traffic. Noise can affect our emotions and, therefore, the way we perceive a message. That is why it is important to keep distractions to a minimum.
4. Semantic noise
Semantic noise is interference on the sender's end. This could be because of technical issues or poor communication skills. To communicate a message clearly, it is important to avoid jargon, abstract ideas and ambiguous language when writing. Similarly, speaking clearly in a relaxed and confident tone can communicate your point more effectively.
When choosing a technological channel of communication, it is best to check the file size of your attachment and the audio quality of your video before sending it to the receiver.
Communication process example
Priya is a sales manager who wants to request a larger department-wide budget for the next fiscal year. To get her budget approved, she needs to go through the proper communication process. She takes the following steps:
Step 1: Priya needs to develop her budget idea before she can send it out.
Priya identifies the key stakeholders that need to approve her budget. They include the CEO and investors of the company.
Next, she outlines key information she needs to share to convince her boss about her message:
She needs the extra funds to remain competitive.
The additional budget will elicit a strong return on investment.
Step 2: Priya encodes the message.
Priya knows the receiver of this information, her CEO, very well. He prefers information that relates to the big-picture organisational goals. Her boss is also a very busy man; therefore, she needs to schedule a suitable time where he will not be distracted by other operational matters. To convince him of the importance of her budget request, she needs to provide him with valid statistics and data.
Step 3: Priya needs to select the channel of communication that she will use.
Priya decides that the best way to get her budget approved is via a face-to-face presentation.
Step 4: Priya's message travels over the channel of communication.
Priya delivers her presentation at the company's monthly board meeting.
Step 5: Priya's CEO receives her budget request during their meeting.
Step 6: Priya's CEO decodes the message.
The executives on the board ask her questions about her additional budget request. They review her statistics and discuss her presentation amongst themselves.
Step 7: Priya's CEO provides feedback.
After the presentation, Priya looks over the comments made and thinks about how she can use their input in future budget proposals.
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