Swami Vivekanand’s address to the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 is considered groundbreaking. When Mahatma Gandhi ignited the Quit India Movement in 1942, his speeches inspired the entire country to join in.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech saying “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”, brought about a huge change in America.
Have you ever wondered what made these speeches iconic and memorable? It was the elements of communication that made them effective. Let’s understand what elements of communication stand for and how they can help you improve your speech and communication skills.
What Are The Elements Of Communication?
Over the years, famous theorists have come together to work on different aspects of communication known as the ‘elements of communication process’. This process comprises elements such as a sender, receiver, your message, feedback and others. The way the communication process works depends on the context of the conversation. It may be in the workplace, making it professional communication, or with your friends and family. Based on the situation, the way you communicate undergoes several changes.
Communication is the way we exchange our thoughts, ideas and points of view with others. It also involves listening to others as a recipient of their message. There’s no doubt that effective communication among team members leads an organization to mutual harmony. Similarly, effective communication between seniors and associates leads to improved results.
Different components of communication influence the interaction between two or more people. Once you understand these components of communication, you’ll be able to communicate effectively.
You can master effective communication by understanding the different elements of the communication cycle.
Harappa’s Writing Proficiently course comprises the GRT (Goal, Recipient, and Tone) Framework that can teach you how to bring a significant change in the way you communicate in the workplace. It teaches you how to improve your written communication skills. From understanding the purpose of the communication, your audience and tone. More than what you communicate, how you communicate determines the way your message will be received.
Read on to discover the basic elements of communication with examples.
Basic Elements Of Communication With Examples
Communication is an exchange but there’s more to it than the words you speak or write. An important aspect of communication is non-verbal communication. This constitutes your facial expressions, body language and gestures. For instance, making eye contact with the speaker or reading people to decode their intent. Together, verbal and non-verbal communication form the essence of effective communication.
There are some basic elements that help make any communication complete and effective. They are:
The sender presents their ideas to another person or to a group of people. For example, when a manager informs her team about a new product or service launch, the manager is the sender. The sender is the initiator in any communication and it’s up to them to direct how a receiver comprehends the information.
The receiver is the person or group of people to whom a message is sent or for whom it’s meant. Whether the message is an idea, information or a solution, it’s the receiver’s job to understand it and take action accordingly.
For instance, when Mahatma Gandhi started the Quit India Movement, he made speeches to tell the people that his goal was to achieve independence. His audience understood his message, participating in the movement with conviction. He was able to encourage them to take action with his words alone. This is a result of effective communication.
Most of us take the message just as a piece of information conveyed by the sender to the receiver. However, there is more to it. A message is the heart of communication. Interpreting it the way it’s meant to be interpreted is what makes communication successful. But people may interpret the same message differently.
For instance, former-US President Donald Trump’s speeches often evoked mixed reactions around the world. Have you ever wondered why? That’s because the same message is interpreted differently by different people.
Many factors influence how a message is interpreted. The speaker’s image or actions play one of the most important roles in how the receiver or audience understands their message.
When Mahatma Gandhi started the Quit India Movement, he made speeches to tell the people that his goal was to achieve independence. His audience understood his message, participating in the movement with conviction.
It’s a way to send an encoded message to the receiver. Media can be of different types. It can include face-to-face communication or popular mediums such as emails, messaging apps, television and videos.
Today, we rely heavily on digital platforms like social media and messaging apps to communicate with our peers and colleagues. People have become accustomed to decoding texts thanks to emoticons and exclamation marks.
Encoding And Decoding
A message often contains certain signs and symbols in different mediums. We don’t always communicate with words, after all. There could be pictures, actions, audio or other ways to convey a message. The point is to be clear and concise to get your point across without confusing the recipient. If you leave it up to interpretation, the message may get twisted into something you didn’t intend.
Let’s take an example to understand how this works:
Suppose an employee named Ajay realizes that he won’t be able to meet the deadline for a report that he was to send by the end of the day. He sends an email to his manager informing her about the same and mentioning the reasons for the delay. In other words, Ajay has encoded his message through email.
Ajay’s manager reads the email, decodes the message and starts thinking of ways to inform the client about the delay.
You can also call it the receiver’s ‘reaction’ or ‘response’ to the message. Feedback helps the sender understand the effectiveness of the communication they initiated. When you’re interacting with your peers or friends, pay close attention to how they respond to what you’re saying or writing.
One example of feedback is the public reaction to a film. Different people respond to the same film differently, so the same message, which is the movie, receives different interpretations and reactions.
In a professional context, feedback is one of the most critical aspects to measure your performance. It’s a daunting conversation, but if done with a clear mind, relevant points and objectives in mind, you can build a strong case for yourself. Effective feedback can help you with performance appraisals, communicating your expectations and getting a promotion at work.
These elements and processes of communication contribute to your command over effective communication. With practice and experience, you can become a master communicator. Harappa’s specially designed communication courses will gear you up for a successful professional journey. Signing up for them can be the first step towards becoming a better communicator.
Explore blogs on topics such as the communication cycle, the 7 C's of communication, grapevine communication, the channels of communication, and the levels of communication in our Harappa Diaries section and learn how to deliver information effectively.
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