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6 Steps of the Communication Cycle

How to tailor your messaging.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

Follow and repeat this six-step cycle to perfect your communication.

Welcome to Mind Tools' video learning series from Emerald Works.

The Communication Cycle is a handy, six-step method to help you to communicate effectively with your audience. It can be used in any situation, but it's most useful when you need to deliver important or complex messages.

The first step is to clarify the aim of your message.

Consider what you're trying to say, and why you need to say it.

Who is your intended audience and how do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do with the information that you're giving them?

Now, start composing your message.

When you come to craft it, think about the type of language you should use. Are you including lots of technical words , for example? Or should you use simpler phrases?

Will your audience understand your message, or will they need additional information?

If you're expressing emotion, how might you do this to best effect? Remember to consider any assumptions your audience might have about your motives. Could showing emotion actually damage the credibility of your message?

Next, it's time to deliver your message.

The way that you communicate is vital.

Think about the timing. How will your audience be feeling?

Will they be busy or distracted by other issues? Will they be able to concentrate and focus on the key messages that you're trying to get across?

Be sure to include some type of feedback process as well.

For example, could you allow time for a question-and-answer session at the end of a presentation? Or send out a feedback survey that people can complete later?

It can also be useful to monitor people's body language to help you adapt and steer your delivery as you go. If they're getting restless, for example, perhaps it's time to move on, ask some questions, or take a break.

Now analyze and learn from the feedback you've been given.

Did the audience feel the way you expected?

Were the key messages you were trying to deliver understood?

If not, why not? What could you have done differently?

Finally, change and improve .

Even the most confident communicators know there's always room for improvement. Keep reviewing your communications, and don't be scared to change your approach.

Ask colleagues for their advice, do more testing, or use surveys, seminars, books, or any other resources at your disposal to improve and develop your communication skills.

Working through steps three to six can help you to test out your message before you deliver it. Then use any feedback you receive to change and improve your communications going forward.

By looping through the cycle like this, you'll be able to craft a concise and articulate message that gets the right response from your audience.

To find out more about the Communication Cycle, and to access a worked example, see the article that accompanies this video.

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Communication Cycle model by Shannon and Weaver

communication cycle by shannon & weaver - Toolshero

Communication Cycle model: this article explains the Communication Cycle model by Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful communication tool .

What is the Communication Cycle?

The Communication Cycle model is a linear model of communication that provides a schematic representation of the relation between sender, message, medium/ media and recipient. It was developed by Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver .

Communication is a very complex process that happens orally, in written form as well as in non-verbal form, and in which the message that is being sent, takes place in a certain context. Both the sender and the recipient can respond to each other in this model, with the sender and recipient alternating roles. This leads to a cyclical process.

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Communication Cycle: sender, message and recipient

To really understand the Communication Cycle model, it’s wise to first take a closer look at all components. First, there’s the sender . He has an expressive function. Through language and/or body language, he expresses something and sends it to the recipient. It can be information, an emotion, song, dance, and so on.

The thing he sends, is the message . This message is intended for the recipient(s). How the recipient handles it and interprets the message is called the appellative function. The message itself has to be carried by a medium, also called a channel .

The sender usually uses multiple media to get to the recipient . In addition to the voice for spoken words, the sender uses gestures, facial expression, posture and intonation as media. He can also use supporting media, such as a PowerPoint presentation, flip chart, music or a slide show.

Coding and decoding the message

A message is communicated in different ways; spoken and written words (language), signs such as smoke, colours and symbols (semantics) and body language (non-verbal communication).

How the message is communicated and how it is understood are two different things. On the one hand we see (en)coding and on the other decoding. A message has to be transmitted in such a way that it can be understood by both the sender and the recipient.

For this, the sender uses coding . He translates what he has in his head to understandable language, with the intention that the recipient will understand what he means. He therefore carefully chooses his words, considers the level of his recipient and tries to make clear what he means. That’s why it’s good that a sender focuses on a target group and tailors his message as much as possible to that group.

Conversely, the recipient tries to ‘crack’ the sender’s message through decoding . He interprets what he’s seeing and hearing and translates it into thoughts. Because every human being has their own and unique frame of reference, determined by background, education, how they were raised, experiences and so on, every individual will interpret a message differently.

The more clearly the sender has encoded the message, the more accurately the recipient can decode it, minimising the chance of misunderstandings.

Still, there can be interference in the Communication Cycle that leads to misunderstandings. This is then referred to as miscommunication. Within communication, that kind of interference is called noise or static.

This noise can occur internally, within the Communication Cycle model, or externally, outside of the Communication Cycle model. When the interference is created on purpose, it is known as intentional noise .

Internal noise usually occurs at the sender or at the recipient. When the sender experiences internal static, he won’t be able encode his message accurately. The sender might be using too much specialist language (jargon) that won’t be understood by the recipient right away or the sender might encode a message that is full of prejudices and/or personal opinions. Speaking with a heavy accent or hoarse voice can also lead to the message not being communicated properly, meaning it’s not encoded properly.

The recipient can also experience internal noise, making it impossible for him to properly receive the message and decode it. For example, the recipient might be distracted or already have a certain preconception or opinion that prevent him from listening properly. Headaches or fatigue are other well-known forms of internal static on the side of the recipient.

The external noise generally happens outside of the sender and recipient. A bad phone connection, a flickering light, a hot exam classroom or construction noises are examples of this.

Sometimes it’s possible to reduce or remove the external noise, but that doesn’t always work. It can be the case that the static is generated intentionally, like turning up the music or nervously ticking on a table. That is referred to as intentional noise.

As soon as the recipient responds to what the sender has sent, you get feedback. When the sender then responds to the recipient’s message, this is called a response . Most of the time, the recipient’s feedback is given consciously.

But it can also be the case that he’s giving unconscious feedback through non-verbal communication. For instance, he can let the sender know that he has heard and understands the message by humming, but his raised eyebrows show that the opposite is true.

Subsequently, the sender can respond by asking a question for instance (‘I see that you don’t really get it, is that right?’) or by explaining it again in a different way (‘I’ll try to rephrase it’).

The sender’s response in the form of feedback is often a combination of verbal and non-verbal communication and causes the sender to be responsible for paying close attention to this.


What is ‘normal’ for one person, is not always ‘normal’ to others. That depends on culture, and every country, city or village has its own conventions. Conventions are silent rules that we agree on together.

It also depends on the context in which the communication is taking place. On such example is the context of a warm day in August, when everyone is going to the beach. Nobody would think it’s strange when they see a father digging a hole with his son. And even when the son lies in the hole and the father buries him except for his head, hands and feet, nobody would look twice.

Together, we’ve ‘silently’ agreed that this is not a problem. However, things would be different if the context is still a warm day in August, but this is happening in a city park. It’s quite likely that a crowd would gather as soon as the father starts digging, and the police would probably intervene if the child lies down in the hole.

Together, we’ve agreed that this is a strange situation. The same would be true if the beach ritual would take place in winter or in the middle of the night.

When conventions aren’t clear for everyone, this can lead to noise , which can then eventually lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication .

Every step in the Communication Cycle model is essential, and it’s basically impossible to skip any of them. By paying attention to every component, both the sender and recipient are able to communicate effectively, understand each other better and react to each other more emphatically.

But it should be noted that it’s important for them to be open to each other, to ask questions, listen to and look at each other’s responses and adapting to each other. Only then can the quality of communication be continuously improved.

The Communication Cycle model is a functional means to communicate with each other, but also to communicate with public audiences.

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It’s Your Turn

What do you think? How do you apply the Communication Cycle model by Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver in your business life? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more additions? What are your success factors for getting your message across without creating misunderstandings?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  • Bowman, J. P., & Targowski, A. S. (1987). Modeling the communication process: The map is not the territory. The Journal of Business Communication (1973), 24(4), 21-34.
  • Mcquail, D. & Windahl, S. (1995). Communication Models for the Study of Mass Communications . Routledge.
  • Shannon, C.E. & Weaver, W (1971). The Mathematical Theory of Communication . The University of Illinois Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (1971).
  • Wagner, E. D. (1994). In support of a functional definition of interaction . American Journal of Distance Education, 8(2), 6-29.

How to cite this article: Mulder, P. (2016). Communication Cycle model by Shannon and Weaver . Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/communication-methods/communication-cycle-shannon-weaver/

Published on: 22/09/2016 | Last update: 08/18/2022

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Patty Mulder

Patty Mulder

Patty Mulder is an Dutch expert on Management Skills, Personal Effectiveness and Business Communication. She is also a Content writer, Business Coach and Company Trainer and lives in the Netherlands (Europe). Note: all her articles are written in Dutch and we translated her articles to English!


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3 responses to “communication cycle model by shannon and weaver”.

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For me I still don’t understand how the theory of Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver is applied in business communication. Please can you explain how this works?

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This is a bit simplified version. I actually liked it. Thanks!

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Here’s a response to Thomas’s question above, based on Patty’ outline of the Shannon-Weaver model above.

For business communication, here’s an example of a memo sent by a manager:

1. Sender: The manager writes the memo draft ready for emailing out. 2. Encoding: The computer encodes the memo draft into binary packets of data to be sent out to employees’ email addresses 3. Channel: The data is sent via cables that make up the word wide web, via email servers. 4. Noise: There may be misspelling in the memo (as Patty wrote above, that’d be internal noise), misinterpretation by the employees (internal noise), or the emails may end up in peoples’ junk mail boxes (external noise). 5. Decoding: The information in employees’ email inboxes is decoded via the computer and reconstructed in the same words as was originally written by the manager 6. Receiver: The employees receive the message. 7. Feedback: Some employees might write a reply email to the memo, asking for more clarification or providing their input.

Great article Patty!

Regards, Chris

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Learn The Process Of Communication – A Journey To Professional Success

What is a communication cycle exactly? It basically involves the conveying and receiving of messages between two individuals or entities…

Learn The Process Of Communication – A Journey To Professional Success

What is a communication cycle exactly? It basically involves the conveying and receiving of messages between two individuals or entities in an easy-to-understand format. Talking and even listening are all methods of communication.

Our ability to assign values to sounds, signs, and symbols makes us different from all other animals on earth. Author and professor Yuval Noah Harari in his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind , laid emphasis on the importance of language in making humans “the smartest animals” on this planet. Thanks to communication, we are now able to do many things that were unimaginable to our cave-dwelling ancestors.

Language was developed as a means of surviving and thriving and that is true even in present times. You may be an acclaimed artist, programmer, engineer, or business person and excel in your field, but if you can’t communicate effectively, you won’t be able to thrive.

Here, we will be explaining the communication cycle and its components.

What is a communication process?

The communication process starts with the formation of ideas by the sender, who then transmits the message through a channel or medium to the receiver. The receiver gives the feedback in the form of a message or appropriate signal in the given time frame to continue the communication cycle.

Recall any conversation you have had in your life—be it enquiring about a brand new computer your friend just bought or your relatives asking you about your examinations—and you will find that it follows this process.

Elements of the communication process

There are seven important elements of the communication process. Here are the details:

The process of communication starts with the sender. This is the entity that will use the means of communication to share her thoughts. The sender starts the communication cycle by deciding to convey her thoughts and chooses the format to use.

The sender manages her thoughts, seeks clarity and decides what exactly she wants to put forth. The sender needs to gather the required information and relevant ideas in order to communicate. For example, a writer begins with an idea and transforms it into a book.

Encoding is the step in the process of communication where the sender decides how she wants to convey her thoughts. Selecting the right words, associated symbols in verbal communication or gestures, tones and sounds in nonverbal communication are ways of encoding a thought.

To make encoding easier, it is imperative to know who is the receiver. For example, Ruskin Bond writes clean and short sentences that invoke visuals to instill wonder among his readers, children.

A message is formed after the sender decides what she wants to put forth and how she wants to convey it. It’s also known as encoding. The nature of the message can change depending on the medium you use and the audience for which it is meant. Always remember that for communication to be successful, it is important that the listener or reader understands the message.

Channel or medium

In order to better explain the process of communication, one has to pay close attention to one crucial wheel of this cycle, which is the medium. This screen that you’re reading this article on, the newspaper that slides in every morning through your door, the television you watch your favorite movies on are all mediums. It’s imperative to consider the medium used for information transmission while encoding the message or it fails to reach the audience effectively.

The process of communication is incomplete without a receiver to ‘lend an ear’. Whenever a sender writes, or says or sings or expresses anything, it’s meant to be read, or experienced. The receiver is a crucial part of this process.

The receiver gathers the information presented or broadcasted by the sender and begins to understand it. We take turns between being a sender and being a receiver. You are a receiver when you watch a movie, and a sender when you tell your friends how the movie was.

No matter how well the message is crafted (or encoded), it will fail to make an impact if the receiver does not possess the tools to decode the message. For instance, a nine-year-old may not understand the point of Harari’s book.

While growing up, we also build the ability to decode various messages. Even if the word ‘beautiful’ has one meaning in all the dictionaries, globally, it would undoubtedly mean something different to different people. We decode any message by our own mechanisms, thoughts, memories and create our own meaning.

The process of communication is a long one. Communication does not stop after a thought or idea is expressed or a sentence or a word is uttered. It creates ripples through time, like a stone slung in a peaceful lake. Feedback is one of the last stages of communication.

After a message is encoded, sent over a medium received, and decoded, there is a need for the communication to keep moving. Through feedback, the receiver becomes the sender, broadcasting the views about the information received.

Another important aspect that is present in this cycle is noise. This refers to the obstructions people face while following the entire communication process. This can mean actual physical noise, preoccupying thoughts of the sender or the receiver, and barriers such as language, comfort, and cognitive precision.

In order to eliminate noise, one has to clear their minds, and senders have to make sure that the message they broadcast is easy to understand for the intended receiver.

Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively , Listening Actively , and Writing Proficiently courses describe the process of communication and its applications. They will give you all the necessary tools as well as the confidence needed to succeed in today’s corporate world.

You can sharpen your communication skills using Harappa Education’s GRT Framework. GRT refers to Goal, Recipient, and Tone. By harnessing the power of these three crucial elements, you can embark on the road to success. Let us look at them in detail:

You must be clear about your goal. Before starting any kind of communication, gather your thoughts, set a fixed goal, and make sure that you don’t deviate from it. Having a goal in mind will help you stick to the point, will give the audience clarity about the message and the purpose to take an interest.

2. Recipient 

Understanding who your audience allows you to modify your means of communication to make it more effective. You should know their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and level of understanding to win their hearts. After all, no matter how cool your boss is, you can’t talk to him like you talk to your childhood friends.

As Jody Shields explains in her book, The Winter Station , “People can be reassured by a tone of voice . By a touch. A gesture. Even if the voice and gestures are false, the innocent person meets the liar halfway to complete the lie. It’s a partnership.” The tone of the message decides how the recipient will react to it. A love song sung in an angry tone will cease to be a love song. Being formal with communication in informal settings and informal in personal life is necessary for the recipients and senders.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Communicate habit such as Report Writing and the Importance of Communication .


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Unit 2: The Communication Process

Learning objectives.

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  • illustrate the 5 step communication process
  • explain the end goal of communication
  • explain barriers to clear communication

Knowledge Check: Pre-Learning Quiz

Pre-Learning Quiz

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Dr. Guffey’s Listening Quiz

How good are you at listening? This interactive quiz enables you to quickly compare your own listening behaviours with behaviours normally thought to be associated with exceptionally good listening skills


Good communication skills are essential to effective business communications.  At its core, the aim of communication is to transmit information from one person to another so that the sender and receiver understand the message in the same way. The responsibility for clear communication usually falls on the sender. But the receiver is also responsible to confirm a clear understanding of the message. Communication is a dynamic and cyclical process.

Breaking down the communication cycle into its parts is helpful to understand the responsibilities of both the sender and receiver of communication, as well as to identify communication barriers.

The 5 Step Communication Process

Two silhouetted heads talking with identical brain patterns and labelling showing how a message is encoded by one, sent to and decoded and interpreted by the other, who then encodes a feedback message that is decoded and interpreted by the first speaker.

Step 1: Idea Formation  –  The communication process begins when the sender has an idea to be communicated.  The idea will be influenced by complex factors surrounding the sender.  The sender must begin by clarifying the idea and purpose.  What exactly does the sender want to achieve?  How is the message likely to be perceived?  Knowing this information provides a higher chance of successful communication

Step 2: Message Encoding –  The idea must be encoded into words, symbols, and gestures that will convey meaning.  Because no two people interpret information in the exact same way, the sender must be careful to choose words, symbols and gestures that are commonly understood to reduce the chances of misunderstanding.  Therefore, a sender must be aware of the receiver’s communication skills, attitudes, skills, experiences, and culture to ensure clear communication.

Step 3: Message Transmission: Choosing the medium to transmit the message is the next step in the communication process.  Messages can be transmitted in a verbal, written, or visual manner (see Table 1).  For clear communication to occur, the medium and message must match

Table 2.1: Message Transmission Mediums

Step 4: Decoding – When the message reaches the receiver, the message must be decoded into its intended meaning.  Therefore, the receiver must translate the words, symbols, and gestures as the sender intended. Because no two people interpret information in the exact same way, incorrectly decoding a message can lead to misunderstanding.  Successful decoding is more likely when the receiver creates a receptive environment and ignores distractions.  Alert receivers strive to understand both verbal and nonverbal cues, avoid prejudging the message, and expect to learn from the communication.

Step 5: Feedback – A vital part of the communication process is feedback.  Feedback occurs the sender and receiver check to ensure the message was understood as intended.  Feedback is a shared responsibility between the sender and the receiver and can be verbal or non-verbal.  For example, the sender can elicit feedback by asking, “Do you have any questions?” The sender can also improve the feedback process by only providing as much information as the receiver can handle.  Receivers can encourage clear communication by providing clear, timely, descriptive, and non-judgmental feedback.  For example, the receiver can shake his/her head up and down to confirm “yes” I have a question.

The video below, Model of Communication (2016), illustrates the communication process.

As you can see, this whole process is easier done than said because you encode incredible masses of data to transmit to others all day long in multiple channels, often at once, and are likewise bombarded with a constant multi-channel stream of information in each of the five senses that you decode without being even consciously aware of this complex process. You just do it. Even when you merely talk to someone in person, you’re communicating not just the words you’re voicing, but also through your tone of voice, volume, speed, facial expressions, eye contact, posture, hand movements, style of dress, etc. All such channels convey information besides the words themselves, which, if they were extracted into a transcript of words on a page or screen, communicate relatively little.

In professional situations, especially in important ones such as job interviews or meetings with clients where your success depends entirely on how well you communicate across the verb

and the nonverbal channels, it’s extremely important that you be in complete control of the communication process in order to present yourself as a detail-oriented pro —one that can be trusted to get the job done perfectly.

Knowledge Check

Key Takeaway

key icon

  • As a cyclical exchange of messages, the goal of communication is to ensure that you’ve moved an idea in your head into someone else’s head so that they understand your idea as you understood it.
  • The communication process has five steps: idea formation, encoding, channel selection, decoding and feedback.
  • Anything that interferes with clear communication is called noise.
  • Noise can interfere with each step of the communication process.

Exercises 2.1

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Guffey, M., Loewry, D., & Griffin, E. (2019). Business communication: Process and product (6th ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education. Retrieved from http://www.cengage.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20b&product_isbn_issn=9780176531393&template=NELSON

FlatGrin. (2016). Model of communication [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HXa320iTPY

Kisspng. (2018, March 17). Clip art – Two people talking. Retrieved from https://www.kisspng.com/png-clip-art-two-people-talking-569998/

Schramm, W. L. (1954). The Process and Effects of Mass Communication . Champaign, IL: U of Illinois P.

Young Entrepreneurs Forum. (2016). 1 0 barriers to effective communication [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slq1nAhZuqE&list=RDCMUCydShVfAub9TSmL1N4BTlGQ&start_radio=1&t=1.

Web Editor 4. (2017, Januray 12). A pattern of brain activity may link stress to heart attacks. Daily Messenger. Retrieved from https://dailymessenger.com.pk/2017/01/12/a-pattern-of-brain-activity-may-link-stress-to-heart-attacks/

Communication@Work Copyright © 2019 by Jordan Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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1.2 The Communication Process

Learning objectives.

  • Identify and define the components of the transmission model of communication.
  • Identify and define the components of the interaction model of communication.
  • Identify and define the components of the transaction model of communication.
  • Compare and contrast the three models of communication.
  • Use the transaction model of communication to analyze a recent communication encounter.

Communication is a complex process, and it is difficult to determine where or with whom a communication encounter starts and ends. Models of communication simplify the process by providing a visual representation of the various aspects of a communication encounter. Some models explain communication in more detail than others, but even the most complex model still doesn’t recreate what we experience in even a moment of a communication encounter. Models still serve a valuable purpose for students of communication because they allow us to see specific concepts and steps within the process of communication, define communication, and apply communication concepts. When you become aware of how communication functions, you can think more deliberately through your communication encounters, which can help you better prepare for future communication and learn from your previous communication. The three models of communication we will discuss are the transmission, interaction, and transaction models.

Although these models of communication differ, they contain some common elements. The first two models we will discuss, the transmission model and the interaction model, include the following parts: participants, messages, encoding, decoding, and channels. In communication models, the participants are the senders and/or receivers of messages in a communication encounter. The message is the verbal or nonverbal content being conveyed from sender to receiver. For example, when you say “Hello!” to your friend, you are sending a message of greeting that will be received by your friend.


Although models of communication provide a useful blueprint to see how the communication process works, they are not complex enough to capture what communication is like as it is experienced.

Chris Searle – Blueprint – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The internal cognitive process that allows participants to send, receive, and understand messages is the encoding and decoding process. Encoding is the process of turning thoughts into communication. As we will learn later, the level of conscious thought that goes into encoding messages varies. Decoding is the process of turning communication into thoughts. For example, you may realize you’re hungry and encode the following message to send to your roommate: “I’m hungry. Do you want to get pizza tonight?” As your roommate receives the message, he decodes your communication and turns it back into thoughts in order to make meaning out of it. Of course, we don’t just communicate verbally—we have various options, or channels for communication. Encoded messages are sent through a channel , or a sensory route on which a message travels, to the receiver for decoding. While communication can be sent and received using any sensory route (sight, smell, touch, taste, or sound), most communication occurs through visual (sight) and/or auditory (sound) channels. If your roommate has headphones on and is engrossed in a video game, you may need to get his attention by waving your hands before you can ask him about dinner.

Transmission Model of Communication

The transmission model of communication describes communication as a linear, one-way process in which a sender intentionally transmits a message to a receiver (Ellis & McClintock, 1990). This model focuses on the sender and message within a communication encounter. Although the receiver is included in the model, this role is viewed as more of a target or end point rather than part of an ongoing process. We are left to presume that the receiver either successfully receives and understands the message or does not. The scholars who designed this model extended on a linear model proposed by Aristotle centuries before that included a speaker, message, and hearer. They were also influenced by the advent and spread of new communication technologies of the time such as telegraphy and radio, and you can probably see these technical influences within the model (Shannon & Weaver, 1949). Think of how a radio message is sent from a person in the radio studio to you listening in your car. The sender is the radio announcer who encodes a verbal message that is transmitted by a radio tower through electromagnetic waves (the channel) and eventually reaches your (the receiver’s) ears via an antenna and speakers in order to be decoded. The radio announcer doesn’t really know if you receive his or her message or not, but if the equipment is working and the channel is free of static, then there is a good chance that the message was successfully received.

Figure 1.1 The Transmission Model of Communication


Since this model is sender and message focused, responsibility is put on the sender to help ensure the message is successfully conveyed. This model emphasizes clarity and effectiveness, but it also acknowledges that there are barriers to effective communication. Noise is anything that interferes with a message being sent between participants in a communication encounter. Even if a speaker sends a clear message, noise may interfere with a message being accurately received and decoded. The transmission model of communication accounts for environmental and semantic noise. Environmental noise is any physical noise present in a communication encounter. Other people talking in a crowded diner could interfere with your ability to transmit a message and have it successfully decoded. While environmental noise interferes with the transmission of the message, semantic noise refers to noise that occurs in the encoding and decoding process when participants do not understand a symbol. To use a technical example, FM antennae can’t decode AM radio signals and vice versa. Likewise, most French speakers can’t decode Swedish and vice versa. Semantic noise can also interfere in communication between people speaking the same language because many words have multiple or unfamiliar meanings.

Although the transmission model may seem simple or even underdeveloped to us today, the creation of this model allowed scholars to examine the communication process in new ways, which eventually led to more complex models and theories of communication that we will discuss more later. This model is not quite rich enough to capture dynamic face-to-face interactions, but there are instances in which communication is one-way and linear, especially computer-mediated communication (CMC). As the following “Getting Plugged In” box explains, CMC is integrated into many aspects of our lives now and has opened up new ways of communicating and brought some new challenges. Think of text messaging for example. The transmission model of communication is well suited for describing the act of text messaging since the sender isn’t sure that the meaning was effectively conveyed or that the message was received at all. Noise can also interfere with the transmission of a text. If you use an abbreviation the receiver doesn’t know or the phone autocorrects to something completely different than you meant, then semantic noise has interfered with the message transmission. I enjoy bargain hunting at thrift stores, so I just recently sent a text to a friend asking if she wanted to go thrifting over the weekend. After she replied with “What?!?” I reviewed my text and saw that my “smart” phone had autocorrected thrifting to thrusting ! You have likely experienced similar problems with text messaging, and a quick Google search for examples of text messages made funny or embarrassing by the autocorrect feature proves that many others do, too.

“Getting Plugged In”

Computer-Mediated Communication

When the first computers were created around World War II and the first e-mails exchanged in the early 1960s, we took the first steps toward a future filled with computer-mediated communication (CMC) (Thurlow, Lengel, & Tomic, 2004). Those early steps turned into huge strides in the late 1980s and early 1990s when personal computers started becoming regular features in offices, classrooms, and homes. I remember getting our first home computer, a Tandy from Radio Shack, in the early 1990s and then getting our first Internet connection at home in about 1995. I set up my first e-mail account in 1996 and remember how novel and exciting it was to send and receive e-mails. I wasn’t imagining a time when I would get dozens of e-mails a day, much less be able to check them on my cell phone! Many of you reading this book probably can’t remember a time without CMC. If that’s the case, then you’re what some scholars have called “digital natives.” When you take a moment to think about how, over the past twenty years, CMC has changed the way we teach and learn, communicate at work, stay in touch with friends, initiate romantic relationships, search for jobs, manage our money, get our news, and participate in our democracy, it really is amazing to think that all that used to take place without computers. But the increasing use of CMC has also raised some questions and concerns, even among those of you who are digital natives. Almost half of the students in my latest communication research class wanted to do their final research projects on something related to social media. Many of them were interested in studying the effects of CMC on our personal lives and relationships. This desire to study and question CMC may stem from an anxiety that people have about the seeming loss or devaluing of face-to-face (FtF) communication. Aside from concerns about the digital cocoons that many of us find ourselves in, CMC has also raised concerns about privacy, cyberbullying, and lack of civility in online interactions. We will continue to explore many of these issues in the “Getting Plugged In” feature box included in each chapter, but the following questions will help you begin to see the influence that CMC has in your daily communication.

  • In a typical day, what types of CMC do you use?
  • What are some ways that CMC reduces stress in your life? What are some ways that CMC increases stress in your life? Overall, do you think CMC adds to or reduces your stress more?
  • Do you think we, as a society, have less value for FtF communication than we used to? Why or why not?

Interaction Model of Communication

The interaction model of communication describes communication as a process in which participants alternate positions as sender and receiver and generate meaning by sending messages and receiving feedback within physical and psychological contexts (Schramm, 1997). Rather than illustrating communication as a linear, one-way process, the interaction model incorporates feedback, which makes communication a more interactive, two-way process. Feedback includes messages sent in response to other messages. For example, your instructor may respond to a point you raise during class discussion or you may point to the sofa when your roommate asks you where the remote control is. The inclusion of a feedback loop also leads to a more complex understanding of the roles of participants in a communication encounter. Rather than having one sender, one message, and one receiver, this model has two sender-receivers who exchange messages. Each participant alternates roles as sender and receiver in order to keep a communication encounter going. Although this seems like a perceptible and deliberate process, we alternate between the roles of sender and receiver very quickly and often without conscious thought.

The interaction model is also less message focused and more interaction focused. While the transmission model focused on how a message was transmitted and whether or not it was received, the interaction model is more concerned with the communication process itself. In fact, this model acknowledges that there are so many messages being sent at one time that many of them may not even be received. Some messages are also unintentionally sent. Therefore, communication isn’t judged effective or ineffective in this model based on whether or not a single message was successfully transmitted and received.

Figure 1.2 The Interaction Model of Communication


The interaction model takes physical and psychological context into account. Physical context includes the environmental factors in a communication encounter. The size, layout, temperature, and lighting of a space influence our communication. Imagine the different physical contexts in which job interviews take place and how that may affect your communication. I have had job interviews on a sofa in a comfortable office, sitting around a large conference table, and even once in an auditorium where I was positioned on the stage facing about twenty potential colleagues seated in the audience. I’ve also been walked around campus to interview with various people in temperatures below zero degrees. Although I was a little chilly when I got to each separate interview, it wasn’t too difficult to warm up and go on with the interview. During a job interview in Puerto Rico, however, walking around outside wearing a suit in near 90 degree temperatures created a sweating situation that wasn’t pleasant to try to communicate through. Whether it’s the size of the room, the temperature, or other environmental factors, it’s important to consider the role that physical context plays in our communication.

Psychological context includes the mental and emotional factors in a communication encounter. Stress, anxiety, and emotions are just some examples of psychological influences that can affect our communication. I recently found out some troubling news a few hours before a big public presentation. It was challenging to try to communicate because the psychological noise triggered by the stressful news kept intruding into my other thoughts. Seemingly positive psychological states, like experiencing the emotion of love, can also affect communication. During the initial stages of a romantic relationship individuals may be so “love struck” that they don’t see incompatible personality traits or don’t negatively evaluate behaviors they might otherwise find off-putting. Feedback and context help make the interaction model a more useful illustration of the communication process, but the transaction model views communication as a powerful tool that shapes our realities beyond individual communication encounters.

Transaction Model of Communication

As the study of communication progressed, models expanded to account for more of the communication process. Many scholars view communication as more than a process that is used to carry on conversations and convey meaning. We don’t send messages like computers, and we don’t neatly alternate between the roles of sender and receiver as an interaction unfolds. We also can’t consciously decide to stop communicating, because communication is more than sending and receiving messages. The transaction model differs from the transmission and interaction models in significant ways, including the conceptualization of communication, the role of sender and receiver, and the role of context (Barnlund, 1970).

To review, each model incorporates a different understanding of what communication is and what communication does. The transmission model views communication as a thing, like an information packet, that is sent from one place to another. From this view, communication is defined as sending and receiving messages. The interaction model views communication as an interaction in which a message is sent and then followed by a reaction (feedback), which is then followed by another reaction, and so on. From this view, communication is defined as producing conversations and interactions within physical and psychological contexts. The transaction model views communication as integrated into our social realities in such a way that it helps us not only understand them but also create and change them.

The transaction model of communication describes communication as a process in which communicators generate social realities within social, relational, and cultural contexts. In this model, we don’t just communicate to exchange messages; we communicate to create relationships, form intercultural alliances, shape our self-concepts, and engage with others in dialogue to create communities. In short, we don’t communicate about our realities; communication helps to construct our realities.

The roles of sender and receiver in the transaction model of communication differ significantly from the other models. Instead of labeling participants as senders and receivers, the people in a communication encounter are referred to as communicators . Unlike the interaction model, which suggests that participants alternate positions as sender and receiver, the transaction model suggests that we are simultaneously senders and receivers. For example, on a first date, as you send verbal messages about your interests and background, your date reacts nonverbally. You don’t wait until you are done sending your verbal message to start receiving and decoding the nonverbal messages of your date. Instead, you are simultaneously sending your verbal message and receiving your date’s nonverbal messages. This is an important addition to the model because it allows us to understand how we are able to adapt our communication—for example, a verbal message—in the middle of sending it based on the communication we are simultaneously receiving from our communication partner.

Figure 1.3 The Transaction Model of Communication


The transaction model also includes a more complex understanding of context. The interaction model portrays context as physical and psychological influences that enhance or impede communication. While these contexts are important, they focus on message transmission and reception. Since the transaction model of communication views communication as a force that shapes our realities before and after specific interactions occur, it must account for contextual influences outside of a single interaction. To do this, the transaction model considers how social, relational, and cultural contexts frame and influence our communication encounters.

Social context refers to the stated rules or unstated norms that guide communication. As we are socialized into our various communities, we learn rules and implicitly pick up on norms for communicating. Some common rules that influence social contexts include don’t lie to people, don’t interrupt people, don’t pass people in line, greet people when they greet you, thank people when they pay you a compliment, and so on. Parents and teachers often explicitly convey these rules to their children or students. Rules may be stated over and over, and there may be punishment for not following them.

Norms are social conventions that we pick up on through observation, practice, and trial and error. We may not even know we are breaking a social norm until we notice people looking at us strangely or someone corrects or teases us. For example, as a new employee you may over- or underdress for the company’s holiday party because you don’t know the norm for formality. Although there probably isn’t a stated rule about how to dress at the holiday party, you will notice your error without someone having to point it out, and you will likely not deviate from the norm again in order to save yourself any potential embarrassment. Even though breaking social norms doesn’t result in the formal punishment that might be a consequence of breaking a social rule, the social awkwardness we feel when we violate social norms is usually enough to teach us that these norms are powerful even though they aren’t made explicit like rules. Norms even have the power to override social rules in some situations. To go back to the examples of common social rules mentioned before, we may break the rule about not lying if the lie is meant to save someone from feeling hurt. We often interrupt close friends when we’re having an exciting conversation, but we wouldn’t be as likely to interrupt a professor while they are lecturing. Since norms and rules vary among people and cultures, relational and cultural contexts are also included in the transaction model in order to help us understand the multiple contexts that influence our communication.

Relational context includes the previous interpersonal history and type of relationship we have with a person. We communicate differently with someone we just met versus someone we’ve known for a long time. Initial interactions with people tend to be more highly scripted and governed by established norms and rules, but when we have an established relational context, we may be able to bend or break social norms and rules more easily. For example, you would likely follow social norms of politeness and attentiveness and might spend the whole day cleaning the house for the first time you invite your new neighbors to visit. Once the neighbors are in your house, you may also make them the center of your attention during their visit. If you end up becoming friends with your neighbors and establishing a relational context, you might not think as much about having everything cleaned and prepared or even giving them your whole attention during later visits. Since communication norms and rules also vary based on the type of relationship people have, relationship type is also included in relational context. For example, there are certain communication rules and norms that apply to a supervisor-supervisee relationship that don’t apply to a brother-sister relationship and vice versa. Just as social norms and relational history influence how we communicate, so does culture.

Cultural context includes various aspects of identities such as race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, and ability. We will learn more about these identities in Chapter 2 “Communication and Perception” , but for now it is important for us to understand that whether we are aware of it or not, we all have multiple cultural identities that influence our communication. Some people, especially those with identities that have been historically marginalized, are regularly aware of how their cultural identities influence their communication and influence how others communicate with them. Conversely, people with identities that are dominant or in the majority may rarely, if ever, think about the role their cultural identities play in their communication.


Cultural context is influenced by numerous aspects of our identities and is not limited to race or ethnicity.

Wikimedia Commons – public domain.

When cultural context comes to the forefront of a communication encounter, it can be difficult to manage. Since intercultural communication creates uncertainty, it can deter people from communicating across cultures or lead people to view intercultural communication as negative. But if you avoid communicating across cultural identities, you will likely not get more comfortable or competent as a communicator. Difference, as we will learn in Chapter 8 “Culture and Communication” , isn’t a bad thing. In fact, intercultural communication has the potential to enrich various aspects of our lives. In order to communicate well within various cultural contexts, it is important to keep an open mind and avoid making assumptions about others’ cultural identities. While you may be able to identify some aspects of the cultural context within a communication encounter, there may also be cultural influences that you can’t see. A competent communicator shouldn’t assume to know all the cultural contexts a person brings to an encounter, since not all cultural identities are visible. As with the other contexts, it requires skill to adapt to shifting contexts, and the best way to develop these skills is through practice and reflection.

Key Takeaways

  • Communication models are not complex enough to truly capture all that takes place in a communication encounter, but they can help us examine the various steps in the process in order to better understand our communication and the communication of others.
  • The transmission model of communication describes communication as a one-way, linear process in which a sender encodes a message and transmits it through a channel to a receiver who decodes it. The transmission of the message many be disrupted by environmental or semantic noise. This model is usually too simple to capture FtF interactions but can be usefully applied to computer-mediated communication.
  • The interaction model of communication describes communication as a two-way process in which participants alternate positions as sender and receiver and generate meaning by sending and receiving feedback within physical and psychological contexts. This model captures the interactive aspects of communication but still doesn’t account for how communication constructs our realities and is influenced by social and cultural contexts.
  • The transaction model of communication describes communication as a process in which communicators generate social realities within social, relational, and cultural contexts. This model includes participants who are simultaneously senders and receivers and accounts for how communication constructs our realities, relationships, and communities.
  • Getting integrated: How might knowing the various components of the communication process help you in your academic life, your professional life, and your civic life?
  • What communication situations does the transmission model best represent? The interaction model? The transaction model?
  • Use the transaction model of communication to analyze a recent communication encounter you had. Sketch out the communication encounter and make sure to label each part of the model (communicators; message; channel; feedback; and physical, psychological, social, relational, and cultural contexts).

Barnlund, D. C., “A Transactional Model of Communication,” in Foundations of Communication Theory , eds. Kenneth K. Sereno and C. David Mortensen (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1970), 83–92.

Ellis, R. and Ann McClintock, You Take My Meaning: Theory into Practice in Human Communication (London: Edward Arnold, 1990), 71.

Schramm, W., The Beginnings of Communication Study in America (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997).

Shannon, C. and Warren Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1949), 16.

Thurlow, C., Laura Lengel, and Alice Tomic, Computer Mediated Communication: Social Interaction and the Internet (London: Sage, 2004), 14.

Communication in the Real World Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

The Basic Elements of the Communication Process

ThoughtCo / Hilary Allison

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

Whenever you've had a conversation, texted a friend, or given a business presentation, you have engaged in communication . Any time two or more people get together to exchange messages, they are engaging in this basic process. Although it seems simple, communication is actually quite complex and has a number of components.

Communication Process Definition

The term communication process refers to the exchange of information (a message ) between two or more people. For communication to succeed, both parties must be able to exchange information and understand each other. If the flow of information is blocked for some reason or the parties cannot make themselves understood, then communication fails.

The communication process begins with the sender , who is also called the communicator or source . The sender has some kind of information — a command, request, question, or idea — that he or she wants to present to others. For that message to be received, the sender must first encode the message in a form that can be understood, such as by the use of a common language or industry jargon, and then transmit it.

The Receiver

The person to whom a message is directed is called the receiver or the interpreter . To comprehend the information from the sender, the receiver must first be able to receive the sender's information and then decode or interpret it. 

The Message

The message or content is the information that the sender wants to relay to the receiver. Additional subtext can be conveyed through body language and tone of voice. Put all three elements together — sender, receiver, and message — and you have the communication process at its most basic.

Also called the channel , the  medium  is the means by which a message is transmitted. Text messages, for example, are transmitted through the medium of cell phones.

The communication process reaches its final point when the message has been successfully transmitted, received, and understood. The receiver, in turn, responds to the sender, indicating comprehension. Feedback may be direct, such as a written or verbal response, or it may take the form of an act or deed in response (indirect).

Other Factors

The communication process isn't always so simple or smooth, of course. These elements can affect how information is transmitted, received, and interpreted:

  • Noise : This can be any sort of interference that affects the message being sent, received, or understood. It can be as literal as static over a phone line or radio or as esoteric as misinterpreting a local custom.
  • Context : This is the setting and situation in which communication takes place. Like noise, context can have an impact on the successful exchange of information. It may have a physical, social, or cultural aspect to it. In a private conversation with a trusted friend, you would share more personal information or details about your weekend or vacation, for example, than in a conversation with a work colleague or in a meeting.

The Communication Process in Action

Brenda wants to remind her husband, Roberto, to stop by the store after work and buy milk for dinner. She forgot to ask him in the morning, so Brenda texts a reminder to Roberto. He texts back and then shows up at home with a gallon of milk under his arm. But something's amiss: Roberto bought chocolate milk when Brenda wanted regular milk. 

In this example, the sender is Brenda. The receiver is Roberto. The medium is a text message. The code is the English language they're using. And the message itself is "Remember the milk!" In this case, the feedback is both direct and indirect. Roberto texts a photo of milk at the store (direct) and then came home with it (indirect). However, Brenda did not see the photo of the milk because the message didn't transmit (noise) and Roberto didn't think to ask what kind of milk (context).

  • A Receiver's Role in Clear, Effective Communication Is an Important One
  • What Is a Message in Communication?
  • Definition and Examples of Senders in Communication
  • What Does Medium Mean in the Communication Process?
  • What Is Communication?
  • Noise and Interference in Various Types of Communication
  • Science Says You Should Leave the Period Out of Text Messages
  • Feedback in Communication Studies
  • The Definition of Listening and How to Do It Well
  • Text Message Smishing Scams
  • Multiple Literacies: Definition, Types, and Classroom Strategies
  • What is a Rhetorical Situation?
  • Email Message
  • What Is Wei Xin?
  • The Power of Indirectness in Speaking and Writing
  • Texting (Text Messaging)


The Leading Source of Insights On Business Model Strategy & Tech Business Models


Communication Cycle In A Nutshell

The communication cycle is a linear model of communication. Through schematic representation, the communication cycle details the relationship between sender, message, medium, and recipient.

Table of Contents

Understanding the communication cycle

The communication cycle was developed by mathematicians Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver.

In any context, effective communication is the conveying and receiving of messages between individuals in a manner that is easily understood.

The process of communication starts when a sender transmits a message to a receiver through a specific medium.

Upon receiving the message, the receiver responds in an appropriate time frame – otherwise known as feedback.

This simple back and forth example where the sender and receiver reciprocate roles represents the communication cycle.

The cycle can be used when messages are transmitted through writing or non-verbal (body language) means in a variety of different contexts.

Components of the communication cycle

In Shannon and Weaver’s interpretation, there are seven components to the cyclical process of communication.

The sender – otherwise known as the source – starts the cycle by deciding they have information they want to share.

Before sending a message, the sender must ensure that it reaches the receiver in a way that the receiver understands. In other words, what is the purpose of the message? How should the receiver ideally react after receiving the message?

Encoding involves the sender deciding on how to best convey their message.

Appropriate words, gestures, tones, and sounds are important and should be based on knowledge of the receiver.

For example, authors who write children’s books usually communicate in short, sharp sentences with simple, child-friendly words.

During the encoding process, it’s critical to clarify various aspects such as:

  • What language are you going to use?
  • What communication medium?
  • What’s the appropriate form and format of communication?

This helps making the communication cycle way more effective down the road.

The message is simply the piece of information a sender communicates. Messages are based on the information chosen and how the information is conveyed so that the receiver understands it.

Medium (channel)

The medium describes the means of communication. It may be a newspaper, computer screen, television, or radio. Each medium will be suited to a particular form of communication and subsequent audience.

The receiver is an important part of the communication cycle, for without someone to receive a message there can be no sender.

The receiver gathers sent information and then attempts to understand it. If successful, the receiver becomes the sender, and the cycle repeats.

This is also known as feedback because the receiver responds to a message by broadcasting their views.

To ensure that the process runs effectively, messages must easily be decoded. For example, a video featuring Stephen Hawking communicating the wonders of astrophysics would be lost on most children.

A travel article espousing the nuanced beauty of a particular destination may be unable to be communicated to readers who have never visited.

Indeed, successful receiver decoding is often reliant upon individual thoughts, memories, and perspectives.

In the decoding process, you want to consider all the main aspects that can affect it.

Things like:

  • Communication channel proficiency: are sender and receiver aligned in terms of understanding and ability to use the same communication channel?
  • Shared mental models : do encoder and decoder share a similar way of deciphering the real world? So they can better understand each other? Cultural alignment might help with that.
  • Noise: What noise affects that channel, and can it be reduced?

Invariably, there will be interferences in the communication cycle. This is called noise, which disrupts harmonious communication in several ways.

Noise can occur when the sender uses technical jargon in their messages that the receiver cannot understand. Those who speak with heavy accents may also experience problems with communication.

The receiver can also contribute to noise. Distractions are common in this instance, perhaps the result of being ill or entering a communication with preconceived notions or judgments. 

Lastly, noise can also be literal. Loud concerts are notorious for contributing to poor communication, as are slow internet connection speeds.


In general, there are a few kinds of noises that we want to take into account which might affect the communication cycle:

  • Physical noise
  • Semantic noise
  • Physiological noise
  • Psychological noise
  • Cultural noise
  • Technical noise

How to use The Communication cycle diagram

A communication cycle diagram is any that illustrates the transmission of information between two or more entities. Communication cycle diagrams are used to describe how information is transmitted during communication. 

These diagrams are used to depict communication models that are:


Or models that define communication as an interactive process between the sender, receiver, and feedback.


More dynamic models that consider senders and receivers to be communicators.

In essence, transactional models view communication as a cooperative process where both entities contribute to the outcome and effectiveness of the interaction.

By their very nature, communication cycle diagrams are not used to represent linear communication models such as the Shannon-Weaver model .


Here, the communication process is one-way and not cyclical. 

Other models of this type comprise the Schramm model .


Or the Berlo’s model .


Other communication models look at closed loops .


A hybrid to that is the transactional model of communication , which leverages context to have a much deeper understanding of the communication process.


Components of a communication cycle diagram

While the exact composition of a communication cycle diagram will vary from model to model , most will describe the following core components:

The individual or entity wishing to transmit a message.

Effective transmission relies on crafting a message the receiver will understand and take the desired action on.

In some models, this process is known as encoding.

Or the information the sender wishes the audience to receive and then understand.

The message may be written, oral, or non-verbal in nature.


How is the message transmitted? It could be via email, television, text, letter, telephone, or face-to-face.

This is any factor that can impede or interfere with message transmission.

Noise can be literal, which is often experienced with a poor television or phone signal.

But it can also take the form of non-literal sources such as the accent of the speaker or their culture, level of understanding, or emotions.

Language barriers are also a prime source of noise in the communication cycle.

The receiver is the individual or entity that receives the message and seeks to understand its purpose or intention.

In some models, this process is known as decoding.

When the receiver transmits a message back to the sender based on their original message, this is known as feedback.

This is an important part of the communication cycle because feedback tells the sender their message was understood in the way they intended.

However, in some cases, the receiver may ask for clarification if the message was impeded by noise. Feedback may be verbal or non-verbal.

Breaking down the communication cycle diagram

  • A communication cycle diagram is any that illustrates the transmission of information between two or more entities.
  • Communication cycle diagrams are used to depict interactional and transactional communication models. By their very nature, these diagrams are not used to represent linear communication models such as the Shannon-Weaver model .
  • Communication cycle diagrams tend to have the following components: sender, message, transmission, noise, receiver, and feedback. The precise components, and indeed their definitions, will vary from one communication model to the next.

Communication cycle example in business 

In this example, consider a business meeting where the executive team is assembled to review important KPIs.

The sender is the host, speaker, or facilitator of the meeting. This individual initiates a conversation, encodes the message in the appropriate channel, and is responsible for establishing the intent of the meeting itself.

The intent, in this case, is to review employee performance management KPIs. 

The message of the meeting can be thought of as the aim of conducting it in the first place. In other words, the executives are assembled to ensure employee performance KPIs:

  • Match the objectives of the business.
  • Measure areas that will impact business success, and
  • Provide clarity on areas that need to be addressed.

KPI reviews are notorious for endless discussions about numbers with no real consensus on a way forward. To ensure the meeting focuses on the actions required to improve outcomes, the facilitator sticks to 10 or 12 KPIs that cover the four key areas of employees, customers, revenue, and processes.

The medium is verbal, face-to-face discussion, but there is also an element of non-verbal body language as each attendee assesses the temperature of the room, so to speak, when discussing how to improve each KPI.

The facilitator also uses KPI dashboards to stimulate productive discussion. In this example, the executives prefer to have the data presented as charts and graphs in PowerPoint with different status colors that highlight trends.

There are many potential sources of noise in a meeting scenario. These include:

  • Acoustic – external noise (construction, aircraft), technical noise (fans, projectors), and building noise (the HVAC system).
  • Illumination – too much light in the conference room may render the PowerPoint slides unreadable. Too little light may make it hard for the attendees to see others or pick up on their verbal or non-verbal cues.
  • Comfort level – is there enough space in the conference room for each occupant? Is the furniture comfortable and in working order? Is the room at an optimal temperature?
  • Visual – is the project working properly? Does every attendee have a clear line of sight to the screen, to each other, and the meeting facilitator?
  • Cultural or knowledge – are the attendees of a similar culture, background, age, or experience level? Are there terms they may misunderstand or misinterpret?

Collectively, the receiver is the group of meeting attendees who must decode the message sent by the facilitator and maintain the communication process.

Each of the above sources of noise will determine whether they can properly decode the contents of the presentation.

Once the senior executives have decoded the message, they must confirm or validate effective listening by responding in turn.

On the micro level, one attendee may nod and smile at the speaker or a colleague to confirm understanding or agreement. 

On a broader level, feedback means each attendee will be able to analyze the KPIs and work with others to formulate corrective strategies.

Coca-Cola Communication cycle case study

In this real-world example of the communication cycle at work, let’s take a look at The Coca-Cola Company’s “ Share a Coke” campaign.

The sender of the information associated with the campaign is The Coca-Cola Company. To be more specific, the campaign was devised by Coca-Cola South Pacific and the marketing agency Ogilvy to strengthen the Coke brand with Australian young adults.

The company replaced its logo on one side of a Coke bottle with the catchphrase “ Share a Coke with” and then selected the 150 most popular first names in Australia .

For example, “ Share a coke with Sam” or “ Share a Coke with Chris” . 

Also printed on the label was the hashtag #ShareaCoke to appeal to millennial consumers and encourage them to share their experiences on social media.

Coca-Cola encoded the message by selecting the most popular first names by region.

In other words, the names it used for the Australian campaign were not the same as those used later in the United States or indeed the 80 other markets where the campaign was launched.

The company even developed a custom font that was easier to read than the traditional Spencerian cursive script it uses for “Coca-Cola”. As the campaign spread around the world, labels also reflected the local culture and interests of the target audience. 

In Australia, for example, the labels incorporated regional slang and colloquialisms. Conversely, in the UK, labels featured popular British landmarks.

The following channels were used to promote the campaign:

  • Point-of-sale (POS) displays – personalized POS displays were featured in retail stores with the most popular first names.
  • Social media – as noted, the company created the #ShareaCoke hashtag to encourage consumers to share photos on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Mobile – Coca-Cola also sent text messages to users with a link to a personalized virtual Coke bottle which they could also share on social media. Later, users could ask Alexa for a personalized bottle which was later posted to them with the name of their choice.
  • Television – numerous TV ads have been developed since the campaigns were first launched in 2011.
  • Outdoor/offline – ads were also shown outdoors on electric and non-electric billboards, murals, and in bus shelters. Consumers were also invited to share a Coke in cinemas and as part of experiential displays.

Consumers decode the message when they recognize their name on a bottle of Coke and see the hashtag # ShareaCoke . The message is also decoded when a consumer can recognize a local landmark or slang word. 

Potential sources of noise in the campaign include:

  • Competition – other marketing campaigns running at the same time could have distracted consumers from Coke’s message.
  • Cultural or language differences – while Coca-Cola accounted for cultural nuances in different areas, it nonetheless employed a broad personalization strategy that did not cater to some groups. In Saudi Arabia, it used very few middle-eastern names because of the company’s English-language bias. This served as a source of noise because it hindered Coca-Cola’s ability to reach a broader swathe of the population. 

The intended receiver in this communication cycle were millennial consumers. The company had identified that cola consumption among this cohort was on a slow and steady decline and, in any case, consumers were not engaged with its brand .

Feedback primarily occurred on social media where users were encouraged to share photos of themselves enjoying a Coke beverage with the relevant hashtag. In the campaign’s first year, over 500,000 images were shared on Facebook alone .

The company became one of the first to incorporate feedback from user-generated content in a marketing campaign. More importantly, it responded to comments, answered questions, and made itself more accessible to millennial consumers.

Coca-Cola also monitored feedback from sales data, customer service channels, and in-person interaction from experiential displays. It then used this feedback to adjust production, distribution , and marketing strategies to start the cycle once more.

Key takeaways

  • The communication cycle describes the cyclical relationship in communication between a receiver and sender.
  • In Shannon and Weaver’s interpretation, the communication cycle is based on seven core components. 
  • The communication cycle argues that effective communication relies on clear and accurate messaging easily interpreted and understood by each party. In any case, noise can contribute to ineffective communication through distortions in encoding and decoding among other things.

Key Highlights

  • Definition : The communication cycle is a linear model that illustrates the process of conveying and receiving messages between individuals, involving sender, message, medium, and recipient.
  • Development : Developed by mathematicians Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver, the cycle aims to achieve effective communication in a clear and understandable manner.
  • Sender : Initiates communication, decides on information to share, and its purpose.
  • Encoding : Selects the best way to convey the message using appropriate words, tones, gestures, etc.
  • Message : The content or information the sender wishes to communicate.
  • Medium (Channel) : The means of communication used, like email, television, etc.
  • Receiver : Gathers sent information, attempts to understand it, and provides feedback.
  • Decoding : Ensures the message is easily decoded and understood by the receiver.
  • Feedback : The receiver responds to the message, confirming understanding or seeking clarification.
  • Noise and Interference : Noise refers to any factor that disrupts or hinders effective communication. It can be physical, semantic, physiological, psychological, cultural, or technical in nature.
  • Communication cycle diagrams depict transmission between entities.
  • Suitable for interactional and transactional models, emphasizing interaction and feedback.
  • Not appropriate for linear models like the Shannon-Weaver model .
  • Business Meeting : Executives review KPIs in a meeting, where sender, message, medium, noise, receiver, and feedback play crucial roles.
  • Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” Campaign : Coca-Cola personalizes bottles with popular names, encodes messages based on cultural context, uses various media channels, and gathers feedback from consumers.
  • Communication cycle involves sender, message, encoding, medium, receiver, decoding, and feedback.
  • Noise can disrupt effective communication and takes various forms.
  • Communication cycle diagrams are used to illustrate transmission in interactive and transactional models.
  • Linear models like Shannon-Weaver are not suitable for communication cycle diagrams.

Communication Cycle Strategies

What are the 6 stages of communication cycle.

The six primary components of a communication cycle are sender, encoding, message, medium, receiver, decoding, and noise. The communication process starts with a sender transmitting a message to a receiver through a medium. The receiver responds in an appropriate time frame (feedback). This simple back-and-forth example where the sender and receiver reciprocate roles represents the communication cycle.

Why is communication cycle important?

Communication permeates society, one of the most critical pieces that make up group dynamics. Indeed, we can build effective businesses connecting millions of people worldwide by understanding how communication works.

Read Next: Lasswell Communication Model , Linear Model Of Communication .

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Communication is derived from the Latin word commūnicāre, meaning "to share". It is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more living creatures. Communication is “any act by which one person gives to or receives information from another person about his needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or non-linguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes.”

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As a manager, we need to know the different aspects of communication in order to communicate effectively and efficiently. And at this moment, barriers of communication will occur. Barriers of communication are obstacles that affects in the workplace from exchanging ideas and thoughts. By eliminating those barriers, it helps us to prevent misunderstanding. Put it in a simple way, barriers are equivalent to “Noise” (Danny, 2009). The objective of this report aims to achieve the following targets: 1. To scrutinize five types of communication barriers that will distort the message delivery process. 2. To elicit three ways how managers can improve their communication skills.

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Communication is the act of conveying information for the purpose of creating a shared understanding. It's something that humans do every day. In other words, Communication is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour. Pragmatics defines communication as any sign-mediated interaction that follows combinatorial, context-specific and content-coherent rules.

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Top 7 Slides on Communication Skills- Free PPT

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Think of flying back to a time when humans lived in caves and conveyed their thoughts, feelings, and expressions through incredible artwork on the walls of these caves. Since they lacked a written language, they communicated ideas and told tales through these paintings.

But have you noticed one thing? If not, let me tell you.

People's ability to interact has been vital throughout history as they have discovered distinct methods to connect and share from pre-historic cave drawings.

As we think about how important communication is over time, it's essential to think about how we can get better at communicating in today's world.

So, let’s discuss some essential aspects to be kept in mind to enhance communication skills:

  • Clear and concise: It is important to note that while interacting with others, one needs to express their thoughts clearly and in a simple, short way so the listener does not get confused.
  • Body Postures and Facial expression: Despite being transparent, one needs to express their words and non-verbal language, i.e., through gestures.
  • Good Listener: One must be open-minded while hearing others to improve communication skills. Apart from that, one must be open enough to adapt to those new ideas and perspectives.
  • Provide remedies and resolve issues: Despite being a good listener, one needs to be open enough to present their views on the ongoing problems so that they are solved without having any deep impact within a firm or interpersonal relationships.

As we have discussed, certain aspects are required to enhance communication skills; let me share something with you! SlideTeam has prepared a customizable PowerPoint presentation on communication skills to improve the firm's productivity significantly.

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Communication Skills

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# Types of Effective Workplace Communication Skills

This slide demonstrates distinct types of interactive skills needed at work.

Further, the different types of communication proficiency include:

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Download this PPT, as the distinct kinds of abilities mentioned in the slide assist in building relationships and ultimately accomplishing aims. Further, this leads to improvement in the efficiency and productivity of the firm.

Communication Skills

# Types of Non-Verbal Communication Skills

This slide renders distinct kinds of oral interactive abilities to spread information.

Further, the different non-verbal activities are as follows:

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Download this PowerPoint Template; as this slide shows, this kind of interaction is more effective than the verbal one as it enables one to express the messages or thoughts concisely, leading to positive outcomes in a firm.

Communication Skills

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Download this PPT, as this slide enables firms to present their information in such a way that improves relationships with others and easily accomplishes aims as planned.

Communication Skills

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The slide renders improvement tools for group interactive abilities, which are explained below:

Adding this slide to the PowerPoint Template is essential as tools mentioned in the slide enable groups to enhance their interactive abilities, which leads to smoother functioning and, ultimately, improves the firm's productivity.

Communication Skills

# Training to Build Effective Communication Skills

The slide highlights the training required to build efficient interactive abilities, leading to smooth working. Ultimately, increasing the productivity and profits of the firms.

Moreover, the strategies that are taken into consideration so that powerful communication is built are as follows:

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  • Activate and boost learning at the end of every section

This slide is essential as it enables the individuals and groups in the firm to present their perspectives properly, be good listeners, and interact effectively with others. Therefore, leading to improved productivity and enhanced relationships both personally and professionally.

Communication Skills

# 7 C’s of Communication Skills Checklist 

The slide describes the Interactive abilities checklist that plays a vital role in the organization and public relations.

Further, the 7 C’s of the Communication Skills Checklist mentioned on the slide are as follows:

Adding this slide to the presentation is essential as this checklist enables individuals and firms to keep the 7 C’s in mind, leading to better and clearer understanding. Ultimately, it improves relationships both at a personal level and at the workplace.

Communication Skills

Possessing powerful communication skills is like having a superpower for smooth organizational teamwork. It is the most effective way to interact with people through online and offline collaborations, influencers, promotions, and social media. Similarly, with SlideTeam's editable PowerPoint, having strong interactive abilities positions you for success by guaranteeing that you engage your audience wherever they are.

With the correct resources, like the editable PowerPoint on Communication Skills from SlideTeam , you can improve your interactive skills and change how you approach things.

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How can I communicate assertively without being aggressive?

Assertive communication involves expressing your thoughts and feelings confidently while respecting the rights of others. To communicate assertively:

  • Use "I" statements to express your perspective without blaming or accusing others.
  • Maintain a calm and respectful tone of voice.
  • Listen actively to others' viewpoints and acknowledge their feelings.
  • Set boundaries and assert your needs without being confrontational.
  • Practice assertive body language, such as maintaining eye contact and standing or sitting upright.

How can I adapt my communication style to different situations?

Adapting your communication style involves understanding the context, audience, and purpose. To adapt effectively:

  • Assess the preferences and communication styles of your audience.
  • Modify your tone, language, and level of formality based on the situation.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal cues and adjust your body language accordingly.
  • Be flexible and open to feedback on your communication style.
  • Practice empathy and consider the perspective of others when communicating in diverse settings.

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