Back to Basics: The Basics Of A Communication Model

Elements Of A Communication Model
Because of how many methods of communication exist in today’s office environment, most communication models are a bit more complex than just sender-message-receiver.

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The Fundamentals Of A Communication Model

Communication is essential to any business. It’s why having a thorough understanding of the communication process is so important. At its core, the communication process begins with the transmission of a message by a communicator and ends with the feedback from the receiver. However, the process is a bit more complicated than that. Not only can the communication process involves many components, but it’s not always linear. A communication model maps the communication process, so everyone fully understands the flow.

A communication model visually represents every part of the communication process. Understanding the various communication models that you can implement can help you to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your communication, both within your organization and outside your organization.

Elements Of A Communication Model

Because of how many methods of communication exist in today’s office environment, most communication models are a bit more complex than just sender-message-receiver. The following are some of the major elements that make up a modern communication model:


The sender is the individual attempting to convey a message with the goal of passing information or ideas to another individual or group of individuals.


The sender’s information or ideas need to be converted into words, actions, pictures, or other symbols in order for it to be transmitted to the intended person or group. This process of conversion is known as encoding.


After encoding, now we have a message containing the actual subject matter of the sender’s communication.

Communication Channel

The communication channel refers to how the message flows within your organization. There are countless communication channels through which you can send your message. However, there are three main groups, which include formal, informal, and unofficial channels.


This type follows a chain of command. An example would be from the conveyance of information from the manager to his or her subordinates. Formal messages follow a chain of command, meaning that they start at the top and move downwards, such as from the manager to their subordinates. Generally, formal communication channels are used to convey company information, such as policies, goals, and procedures. Examples of formal communication channels include newsletters, employer’s manuals, customer satisfaction surveys, and annual reports.


Informal communication channels exist outside the chain of command. For example, teamwork sessions and lunch breaks can be considered informal communication channels. During a lunch break, employees are encouraged to have conversations with one another. As a result, it’s outside the chain of command. A manager walking around the office and addressing individual employee questions or concerns in a more hands-on approach is considered a form of informal communication as well.


Unofficial communication is communication among employees concerning topics outside the organization. It is through unofficial communication channels that employees form friendships outside of work, and through which rumors often circulate. Unofficial communication channels can have both positive and negative effects.


The receiver is the person to whom the message is sent.


In order for the receiver to comprehend the ideas or information behind the message, they must decode the message to extract its meaning.


Feedback refers to the end of the communication process in which the receiver has not only received the message that was sent to them, but has decoded it accurately, understanding the information or ideas that the sender was attempting to convey.

Functions Of a Communication Model

The following are some of the main objectives of the communication model and why they are important:

1To Teach Communication Process

A communication model shows how information is flowing through your organization and what is involved in the sending and receiving of a message. A lot can be learned about the communication process across your organization by studying a communication model.

2. To Conduct Communication Research

A communication model can also help you perform research. Communication models present the different elements of the communication process in a logical manner, allowing researchers to better understand different patterns in communication. This, in turn, will help aid them with communication research programs.

3. To Identify The Success and Failure In The Communication Process

If you’re planning on implementing a new communication process, a communication model can help you predict or forecast the potential success or failure of that process. You can also use the communication model to identify the causes of success or failure behind various communication processes that have already been implemented.

Types Of Communication

Although there are three main groups of communication channels through which the communication process can be conducted, there are many types of communication channels that can be used. The following are the main types of communication channels commonly used throughout organizations to effectively relay information and ideas:

1. Oral Communication

Oral communication is the most direct form of communication channel available. It’s one person speaking directly to another, either face-to-face or over the phone. There’s less of a chance of the message being decoded improperly through oral communication since the recipient can confirm whether they understand the message on the spot. However, this doesn’t mean that misunderstandings won’t still occur through oral communication.

2. Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, the tone and pitch of your voice, and body language (such as posture and hand gestures). Communicating solely with non-verbal cues can be challenging (unless it’s answering yes or no questions with the nod or shake of the head) and can often result in confusion or misunderstanding on the part of the receiver. However, non-verbal communication can be incredibly effective at reinforcing oral communication to get the message across more clearly.

3. Written Communication

There are many ways in which you can use a written communication channel. Some examples of written communication channels include email, physically written letters, printed out letters, faxes, and texts. Written communication can be very effective as it allows the sender to think about what ideas or information they want to convey and to rewrite their message several times before sending it to ensure the message is as clear as possible. Of course, misunderstandings can still occur if care wasn’t taken in writing the message or if there’s a language barrier that must be crossed.

4. Visual Communication

Human beings are visual creatures and therefore visual communication can be one of the most effective ways to get ideas and information across. Here are some examples of visual communication channels:

  • Video – Video allows you to pre-record oral communication and will allow the receiver to pick up on non-verbal communication as well. Video is incredibly effective because you can combine many different types of communication into one channel, including not just oral and non-verbal communication, but also written, animations, and typography.
  • Presentation – Presentations are a visual way to supplement oral communication. For example, a slideshow presentation or a whiteboard presentation can help to visually express and reinforce the ideas and information being conveyed through oral communication.
  • Illustrations – Illustrations can sometimes be vague, but they are an excellent form of communication when it comes to supplementing written text with a visual reference to enhance the message.
  • Animations – Animations are an effective way to convey information because they can combine a variety of communication channels, including illustrations (animation is often just moving illustrations, after all), written communication (through the use of on screen text), and oral communication (through voice overs).
  • Typography – The use of typography can add layers of visual meaning to written message. For example, the use of Comic Sans font can help convey that the message is more playful. Using bold font for certain words can emphasize those words as being particularly important. Using all caps on certain words can do the same.

Communication Model For Business Organization

Communication is vital to the success of any business. A lack of communication, poor communication, or miscommunication can all cause major issues that can hurt your ability to grow your business and that can cost you money. Having an effective communication process in place is extremely important to give you a visual overview of how your communication process works and how you can potentially improve it. The more efficient and effective your communication process becomes, the better it will be for your business.

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