While communication technology continues to evolve at an extraordinary rate, the basic process of communicating remains the same. In fact, new communication tools (mobile technology, video calling, social platforms, etc.) are based this process.
Elements of the Communication Process
Sender: Also referred to as the messenger, this is the person or organization who is putting forth a message. For example, s person composing a text message intended for a another person to read is a sender. Another sender might be a company running a television ad campaign intended to reach a broad audience.
Message: The content being communicated. This can be a simple text message, verbal statement or question, email, social media post, TV commercial, or any other information being sent.
Medium: This is the way in which the message is being sent. It may be voice, text message, phone, social media, or any other tool used to convey a message. Note: The word “media” is the plural form of “medium.”
Intended Receiver: Sometimes and audience, this is the person or persons for whom the message is intented. For example, when Bill calls Sally on the phone, Sally is the reciever of Bill’s message. When XYZ Enterprises posts information about their new product to their Facebook page, the people who like that page are the recievers, the audience.
Inadvertent Receiver: Occasionally. or maybe often, a message is received by people for whom the message was not originally intended. This can be good or bad. If Sally emails Bill, and Anne looks over Bill’s shoulder while he’s reading the message, Anne become an ancillary receiver, even though the message was not intended for her.
Inadvertent receivers can be beneficial. Let’s go back to XYZ Enterprises and their Facebook message. While the intended receivers are the people who like the page, the message might be seen by friends of those who like the page. This expands the audience for the message. It reaches more people.
Feedback: When a receiver responds to a message, they become a sender. This process is called feedback. A conversation, for example, is a series of messages going back-and-forth. Commenting on a social media post is a form of feedback.
Noise: This is anything that makes the message more difficult to get to the receiver. This can be a bad connection on a phone, loud sounds in a place where people are trying to talk, even direct interception and blocking of content.