What Are the Elements of Communication?

Communication is the process of exchanging facts or ideas. There are eight basic elements of communication. They are source, message, encoding, channel, receiver, decoding and feedback.

Source The source is the person who is conveying the message. The intention of the source is to pass information or ideas to others. The source can also be referred to as the sender or the encoder. The source decides on the message and the most effective method to send it. The source will decide if the message should be delivered in-person, in a letter, an email or another form of communication.

Message The message is the subject of the communication. The message can be an order, suggestion, opinion, feelings, attitude or views. The message can be in several forms. For example it can be a letter, a speech, an email or text. The source takes in to consideration the meaning of the message, who it’s being delivered to and how it needs to be represented. That will help the sender decide the best delivery that will make the message easiest for the receiver to understand and is most appropriate.

Encoding Encoding is the is the act of assembling the message. The information, thoughts and ideas are put together in a way for the receiver to understand the message. The key to communication is that the encoder sends a message that is understood in the same way by both the encoder and receiver. If someone is known as a great communicator, then they are a great encoder. Great encoders know how to deliver their message in a way that the intended audience can understand.

Channel The encoder chooses the channel that will be used for communicating the message. The channel is responsible for delivering the message. The message can be verbal or non-verbal. The channel can be a letter, an email, a phone call or in-person. The encoder can use the content and purpose of the message to decide the channel to use for delivery.

Receiver The receiver is who the message is intended for. The receiver is also known as the decoder. The receiver is responsible for decoding or interpreting the message.

Decoding Decoding is the process of the receiver interpreting the message. Reading or listening are a part of decoding the message. Then the receiver must understand the message in the way it was meant to be interpreted. The decoder may not always interpret the message in the way the encoder intended the message to be understood. If the decoder doesn’t understand the message, it was communicated in a poor way.

Feedback Feedback ensures that the receiver understood the message in the way the sender wanted the message to be understood. Feedback is also known as reaction and responses. The source can judge by the reaction if the message was received correctly.

Context Context is where the message is received. The environment can change the meaning of the message. A message delivered in a boardroom may not have the same meaning as message delivered at a convention. The audiences and their frame of mind differ in the environment they are in.