What Are the Key Stages in the Communication Cycle?

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The key steps in the communication cycle are messaging, targeting, distribution, monitoring and measurement, and assessment. The communication cycle is often used in public relations, standard business operations and personal social circles to ensure clarity when conveying a message.

The first step in the communication cycle is messaging, which involves determining what to say, constructing the tone of the message and evaluating the delivery method. Targeting involves identifying the appropriate audience and tailoring the message to appeal to the specific person or group of people. Distribution is often a key factor for public relations personnel. They must determine whether to deliver the message verbally or nonverbally, through direct mail, electronic communication, via multimedia websites or social media. When monitoring and measuring the communication cycle, professionals track the interpretation of the message or sales pitch by researching responses and reactions, surveying the target audience and analyzing the message's effects on public opinion or sales of a particular product. Assessment is the final, yet ongoing, step of the communication cycle. Once the message has been constructed, targeted to audiences, distributed and monitored, the communicators evaluate its effectiveness in order to plan future messages or materials. The key element of the final step is to determine what was learned from the communication cycle with a particular message and refine the process for future messages.