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:

  • Sender

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

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.

  • Message

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.

  • Receiver

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.

  • Decoding

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.

  • Feedback

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:

1. Goal

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.

3. Tone  

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.