The five purposes for communication are to inform, imagine, influence, meet social expectations and express feelings. Most of the problems that occur in relationships and between business organizations are due to ineffective communication, which can happen when people fail to communicate or when processes lead to confusion so the communication is not fully understood.
The communication process involves three steps: thought, encoding and decoding. In thought, the person creates the idea, concept, feeling or information. In encoding, the person sends the message to their colleague, supervisor, friend, family member or stranger. Finally the receiver of the message will need to decode it and translate the message into something that he or she fully understands.
This process involves two elements known as content and context. The content is what is actually being said, the actual words and symbols used. The context is the nonverbal elements that accompany the content. These can be the sender's eyes or body language movements, such as hand gestures.
There are a few barriers that exist and prevent communication from being truly effective. One of these barriers is culture bias. People often allow their past experiences and their culture or their background to change the meaning of messages. This can be good when it helps people understand new things but it can also be bad when it changes the message meaning.