What Is the Basic Communication Process?

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The basic or simple communication process involves a "sender" delivering a message to a "receiver," who listens to or reads it, and then offers feedback to the sender. While this process is simple in construct, ineffective communication often results from sender or receiver "filters" or from failure of the receiver to utilize the feedback loop.

A sender attempts to communicate an informative or persuasive message to a receiver through articulate and well-spoken words. The challenge is that barriers, such as language, culture, emotion, noise and nonverbal gestures can mitigate clear presentation of the message. Receivers also have barriers that may potentially impede their ability to hear and accurately interpret the message. Receivers may not understand the language or words used by the sender or cultural implications in play. Emotion, such as anger, sadness or frustration, can also impact the receiver's interpretation. Noise in the background can block the receiver's ability to hear effectively.

The feedback loop is a key element of basic communication that is often overlooked. The goal of the feedback loop is for the receiver to paraphrase or restate the message to the sender. The receiver might begin with, "This is my understanding," or, "This is what I hear you saying." This feedback allows the sender to correct any misunderstandings.