The process of communication involves sharing information and exchanging ideas between two or more people. In business, people communicate in many different ways and with many different kinds of people, both internally within the organization and externally with prospects, customers, partners and others. Understanding the key elements of communication helps to ensure you are communicating effectively with those around you.
Steps of the Basic Communication Process
There are seven different steps of the basic communication process:
- the sender
- the message
- encoding the message
- the medium
- the receiver
- decoding the message
- message feedback
In order for the message to be successfully transmitted, it needs to pass through each of these seven elements. When a message has not been effectively sent, you can look through each of the seven steps to see where the issue lies. This will help you to remove the barrier to communication in the workplace.
About the Sender
The sender, or communicator, is the person who wants to share ideas, provide instructions or give information to someone else. If a small business owner wants to tell his employees about a new kind of service that the business will now be offering, then he is the sender in this communication.
About the Message
The message is the idea or information that is being shared in the basic communication process. Types of communication include verbal and written communication. In verbal communication, the message is what is being said by the sender. In written communication, the message is the content that is being shared by the sender. The new service that the small business will now be offering is the message, for example.
Encoding the Message
Encoding is the process of converting the idea of the message into words, symbols, images or body language. It’s the way the idea is communicated so that the receiver will understand it. For example, the small business owner can encode the message of the new service using words to describe the new service or images to show what the new service will look like.
About the Medium
The medium is the communication channel that is used to share the message from the sender to the receiver. For example, the small business owner can use several different mediums to communicate the new service offering:
- verbally in a speech
- written in a memo or email
- through images about the service
About the Receiver
The receiver is the person or people for whom the message is intended. They are also sometimes called the interpreter. Their goal is to understand the message that is being sent to them. The employees who work in the small business are the receivers in this example.
Decoding the Message
The decoding of the message happens when the receiver translates the message into language he can understand. For example, the employees who are receiving the message about the new service offering will listen to the speech or read the memo and digest the words that are being used to communicate the message.
About Message Feedback
Feedback is the response that the receiver provides to the sender. This tells the sender that the message has been understood the way it was meant to be understood. Once the sender has received feedback, the communication process comes to an end. It begins again when someone else sends a message. Once the employees confirm they understand the new service that is now being offered, the small business owner’s basic communication process is complete.
Types of Communication Factors
Noise and context are elements of communication that can change the way the message is received or interpreted. Noise refers to a barrier such as a literal sound or visual distractions that interfere with message reception. In the case of the small business owner, noise can refer to loud customers in the store while she is trying to speak with her employees.
Context refers to physical, social or cultural elements that may change the way the message is understood. For example, if the business owner was talking about the new service during a holiday party as opposed to a company meeting, the employees may understand the message differently based on the setting.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.