The cycle of communication involves the following elements, which demonstrate the basic concept of communication process
Sender —> Message -> Encoding -> Channel —> Receiver —> Decoding -» Feedback
Communication process begins with the sender. The person who conveys the message is known as sender or communicator. The sender initiates the message by
encoding a thought and attempts to achieve understanding and change in the behaviour of the receiver. Four conditions usually affect the encoded message : skill, attitude, knowledge, and socio cultural system.
The next element of communication process is message. It is the subject matter of any communication. It may involve any fact, idea or information. The message must be crafted with the receiver’s background in mind. If the message does not reach the receiver, no communication has taken place. The situation is not much improved if the message reaches a receiver but the receiver doesn’t understand it.
After message; encoding comes as a third step. It is the process in which the sender expresses and organises his ideas or feelings by using symbols, words, signs etc. which will communicate to the intended receiver. Encoding is necessary because information can only be transferred from one person to another through representations or symbols. The manager must have linguistic competence as well as organisational competence to encode the message properly.
Linguistic competence refers to language skills, analysis of facts and informations, usage of appropriate rhetorical devices, graphs, charts and diagrams. Organisational competence refers to the ability to organise the entire message in a logical and structured way. It is also the ability to sequence thoughts in a sentence and paragraph according to the need of the topic.
Communication channel is the media through which the sender passes the message. The choice of channel depends on the nature of the message. It is very important to choose proper time, proper place and a proper way from effective communication. It could be oral or written. When the message is long, formal in nature, the written channel (letters, reports, memos, faxes, proposals, notices etc.) should be preferred but when the message is personal or when the immediate feedback is important, oral channel (staff meeting, discussions, presentations, seminars, conferences etc.) should be selected. While, selecting a channel, the receiver’ background must be kept in mind.
The receiver is the person who receives the message. The communication process is incomplete without the existence of the receiver. It is the receiver who receives and tries to understand the message.
Decoding is the process by which the receiver interprets the message and translates it into meaningful words for the purpose of understanding. Decoding helps the receiver to derive meaning from the message. Decoding in oral communication is in the form of listening and understanding. Decoding in written communication is in the form of reports, instructions, manuals, professional messages etc.
Feedback is the last stage in the communication process. When the sender transmits a message, he expects a response. The reaction and response of the receiver is known as feedback. It may be immediate or deferred, written or oral, favourable or unfavourable. It helps in evaluation of what is right and what is wrong in a particular communication.