Definition of Effective Communication

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One of the benefits of living today is the wealth of media that we have to help us communicate more quickly. One of the drawbacks is that so few of us use them effectively because we've forgotten--or never learned--what's needed to make basic communication work.

Sender

The sender originates the message using language, gestures, format or choice of medium that will most likely make sense to his audience.

Receiver

The person who receives the message must "attend" and be able to understand the sender's message.

Message

A message may be a concept, instruction, request, order or any other idea that the sender wishes to transfer to another.

Medium

The sender chooses the medium---anything from speech or paper to telephony, film or the Internet to carry her message.

Coding

Every sender must use language, posture, facial gestures or other coding to make sure his message will be accurately understood by the receiver who, in turn, must decode, or understand, what the sender is trying to convey.

Filters

Filters are language or cultural differences, biases, preoccupations or anxieties---anything that interferes with accurate coding or receipt of messages.

Feedback

The response of the receiver, whether it is body language or a written or verbal format, is a "return message," notifying the sender that her message has been coded and transmitted accurately. The feedback phase begins a new communication cycle as the receiver becomes the sender.

Resources

About the Author

An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.

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