Communication is a process of passing information from one person or a group of people to another with the goal of the receiver(s) understanding the sender’s intended message. It is a process because of its dynamic and recursive nature. Communication as a process is continuous and cyclical. The message from the sender goes to the receiver and again the feedback is directed to the sender. Nevertheless, the sender might continue the process if need be. Suffice to say communication has no recognizable beginning and end. Communication as a process thus has no rigid sequence; however the following steps are generally adopted by most communication models. They are as follows:
This is the point where the sender gets the trigger in his or her mind and thus sees the need to communicate. For instance, a manager seeing the need to have a meeting with those working under him or her in a company, let’s say, expanding the operations of the company.
The sender or the source will put down the message into the form which will be understandable to the receivers or the target. This means that the source has to select symbols (words or graphic or visual aids) with which to compose the message. With regard to step 1, the manager will have to put down the message about a meeting in the form that will be understood by the employees of the company. This can be when and where to hold the meeting.
This involves passing message from the sender to the receiver through a chosen medium or channel. The sender has to choose a convenient and efficient channel that will ensure the receiver gets the message. In our case for instance, the manager can decide to write a notice to the company’s employees informing them about the meeting. This can either be put on notice boards or sent electronically to their mails.
This is the step whereby the target gets the message in the medium in which it was encoded by the source. The receiver is thus made aware of the availability of the message from the source. At this stage, the receiver become aware of the notice sent.
To decode means to translate the symbols used in a message for the purpose of interpreting its meaning. Upon getting the message, the receiver has to process, understand and give meaning to the message through his or her own understanding or knowledge. The receiver then makes a decision to take appropriate course of action. In our exemplar from the previous steps, the employee reads the manager’s notice and interprets it. He or she is informed about the meeting, that is when, where and what it will be about.
To respond means giving back the feedback. Communication process is only successful when the target acknowledges the receipt of the information and this is confirmed when they communicate back. Feedback permits the sender to analyse the efficacy of the message. It helps the sender in confirming the correct interpretation of message by the decoder. It may be verbal (through words) or non-verbal (in form of smiles, sighs, etc.). It may take written form also in form of memos, reports, etc. Communication is a two way process and thus giving feedback is vital. In our case, the employee will respond to the manager’s notice, for instance, writing a response mail indicating that he or she is aware of the meeting called. The feedback thus marks an end of a successful communication.