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10 Elements of Communication

Published by: Hitesh Bhasin

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There are many Elements of Communication in the Communication process. Communication process involves the transmission and receiving of messages, opinions, information, ideas, emotion, feelings, thoughts or attitudes between two or more people. This dynamic process is a two-way activity where the source sends information, the receiver receives the message and offers a reply or feedback to the sender.

The message can be sent from one place to another or shared in the same environment. The important thing is to put the onus on all the elements of the communication process and have a shared language of common concepts so that the information can be interpreted as desired by the source

One should have an in-depth understanding of the elements of the communication process because it will ultimately prove a blessing in both personal and professional lives when you need to exchange information and put across your thoughts to others

Communication is a Latin word that means to share and that is what the process is all about. It starts with thinking of ideas that a person wants to convey to others.

The communicator has to find the correct words, symbols or signs and put the ideas in proper order so that they can take the form of a message. He then needs to find an appropriate message channel or medium that will help to transfer the subject matter. The information is received by the recipient who interprets it based on his understanding and knowledge and gives back a feedback

If encoding and decoding the message gives desired results then it is considered a successful communication process but in case the feedback is not as expected then the sender might give further information, suggestions or clarification to avoid misunderstandings

The communication process can be formal or informal, verbal and nonverbal, in writing or as a speech or with help of visualizations.

In Verbal Communication the source can convey the message to its audience through spoken word either face-to-face, a cell phone or online mediums like Skype.

In Nonverbal Communication the information is shared with the target audience without any spoken word through non-verbal cues like tone of voice, eye contact, movement, facial expression, behaviour, body language and gestures

Written Communication with the audience includes an exchange of information with the help of the written word, code, sign, image and symbol through books, texts, magazines, social media, emails, letters, the internet and other media.

In Visualization Communication the source communicates with the receiver through graph, image, symbol, logo, map, charts and pictures

The elements of communication process put the focus on the source, encoded information, appropriate message channel and the recipient or audience receiving the subject matter as envisioned.

10 Elements Of Communication


We need to have a better understanding of all the basic elements of communication process to understand it thoroughly. Exploring them will provide a fair idea about the overall process and how one can improve his interactions. The 10 elements of the communication process are as follows-

1. Sender

The Sender is the person who conceptualizes the ideas and sends them to the Receiver or his audience

• Sender << imagines an idea << encoding the information << finding a proper channel << sending the message

The Sender is one of the primary elements of the communication process. He is responsible for thinking, creating, encoding and sending the information through a channel to a person who will be responsible for decoding and understanding the message.

  • The sender is the source and founder of the communication process who initiates the procedure
  • He is known as the encoder who will convey the message
  • The sender can be a public speaker or a writer or a person who offers information so that the ideas and opinions can be shared and exchanged
  • He is the one who sends the message and conveys the information also through several cues like body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact and choice of clothing

The sender or the source can take the help of a word, symbols, graphic or visual aids to convey the desired message and get the required response. He keeps a close eye on the reaction of his audience to perceive whether the information has been decoded as projected. In case of any misunderstandings, he responds with supporting information and clarifications

For example, Andrew sends an email to Larry from his cabin about the annual meeting and receives a reply asking for suggestions and clarification within a few minutes. In this case, Andrew is the source or the sender of the information.

2. Encoding

One of the important elements of the communication process is encoding the message with help of the right words in the correct order so that the desired meaning can be easily decoded and understood by the recipient

• Encoding = right words + proper order

The source is responsible for transforming the abstract ideas or subject matter into words that will indicate a statement or an opinion.

  • The ideas are intangible and abstract
  • Using specific words and symbols gives it a form that can be easily transmitted, received and decoded

In the above-mentioned example, Andrew has used words to express his ideas and then has sent the email to Larry. He couldn’t send the idea in its raw form when he had simply conceptualized it in his head. The ideas needed encoding to transmit from the sender to the receiver

3. Message

The message refers to the information, ideas, opinion, thought or feeling that the sender conveys with help of words, symbols, signs, pictures and visuals in a speech or through a write-up.

• Message = verbal and nonverbal, formal or informal, spoken or written, symbolic or pictorial

• Sender << Encoding >> Message << Recipient

The message is the heart of the communication process because without any content the communication does not have any meaning.

  • The competence, skills, perception, knowledge, background and understanding of the sender has a direct impact on the message
  • The message represents the words that will convey the intended meaning so it becomes necessary to choose the right words and proper grammar in perfect order.
  • If the message is in a writing then the focus should also be on the style, formatting, heading and punctuation besides the words
  • If it is a speech then the onus must be on how the words are spoken, the tone of the voice and the appearance, posture and body language of the speaker
  • A message accompanied by silence, sounds, sighs and gestures can trigger a response in the recipient
  • The information needs to be clear so that the receiver can understand it as envisioned

In the above-mentioned example, the information in the email is the message that was sent by the source Andrew

4. Channel

The channel refers to the medium or the way the information is sent from the source to the recipient.

• Sender >> Message >> Channel >> Recipient

Channel is an important element of the communication process that can transmit messages from one person and place to another person or place.

  • Spoken channels of communication include public address systems, telephone devices, face-to-face conversations, voice mail messages, VoIP, radio, television and speeches etc.
  • Written channels of communication include letters, tweets, emails, blogs, texts, newspapers, invoices, articles and purchase orders
  •  If the information is exchanged face-to-face then the senses of the source like touch, smell, and taste become the channels of transmitting the messages
  • Business organizations use radio, newspaper, television and social media as channels to hear, speak and listen the information for effective communication
  • If a person stays far away then the mobile phone, computer and internet become effective channels of communication
  • During virtual group meetings, online meeting platforms become important tools of communication as it allows people to hear, listen, speak etc. face-to-face

In the above-mentioned example, the channel of communication is the computer and the internet connection through which the email was sent to Larry

5. Receiver

The Receiver refers to the recipient of the message who is responsible for receiving, analyzing, decoding, interpreting and understanding as desired by the source

• Message >> Receiver

• Receiver >> Feedback >> Sender

The receiver of the information can be an individual or a group of people

  • The receiver may use verbal and non-verbal clues to understand the meaning of the messages.
  • The degree to which the messages are understood depends upon knowledge of the receiver and his receptiveness to the information
  • In the case of one-way communication, the receiver may accept the message and not reply back
  • In the case of a two-way communication process, the receiver responds with a feedback

In the above-mentioned example, Larry is the receiver of the message

6. Decoding

Decoding is one of the most important elements of the communication process because the information needs to be understood in the manner in which the sender wanted it to be interpreted.

• Receiver >> Decoding >> Feedback

Decoding the message is a process of unravelling the information the sender has sent and understanding its intended and unintended meaning.

Encoding and decoding the message are two essential elements of a communication process that are handled by the sender and receiver respectively

  • Decoding helps to convert the symbol or word into thoughts once again
  • Decoding helps to find the meaning of the message

In the above-mentioned example, Larry needed to decode the email to understand the actual information

7. Feedback

Feedback is the response, reply or reaction given by the receiver after reading the message from the sender.

• Receiver >> Decoding >> Feedback >> Sender

Feedback helps the sender to understand whether the message was decoded as intended or not.

  • Feedback involves sending back information through a smile, gestures and facial expressions etc along with the desired words
  • It is an opportunity for the receiver to ask for clarification from the source regarding the message
  • It is also an opportunity for the sender to clarify the message with help of supporting information

In the email, Larry replied to Andrew and asked for suggestions and clarification and this was his feedback in the communication process between the two of them

8. Environment

Environment refers to the space where the communication process takes place.

  • The environment can be psychological or physical space
  • It can refer to formal or informal space
  • In a business setting the environment refers to the workplace where the interactions take place.

In the above-mentioned example, the cabin from where Andrew has sent the message is referred to as the environment

9. Context

Context refers to the setting in which the communication happens and the expectations that people have from each other.

It is one of the most essential elements of the communication process that gives meaning to the whole route

  • Context can be cultural, social, historical by nature
  • Context can also be physical or chronological
  • The environment will be formal or informal is decided by the contextual expectations of the participants
  • The circumstances for setting the communication should be easily accessed by looking at the context

In the above example, the annual meeting is the context of the communication process about which the email was sent to Larry

10. Interference

Interference refers to the noise that interferes with the process of encoding and decoding a message and can change its meaning.

  • Interference is an obstacle that should be avoided at all costs as it acts as a barrier to the communication process
  • Noise can exist in a group or face-to-face communication
  • It distracts the receiver from understanding the true meaning of the message
  • Noise in communication includes cultural noise, semantic noise, psychological noise, physiological noise and physical noise


In conclusion, the above-mentioned elements of the communication process are important tools that help in effective interaction. It is essential to understand them and make changes accordingly if you want to see a viable difference in your conversations in both personal and professional space

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Article by:

Hitesh Bhasin

Hitesh Bhasin is the CEO of Digiaide and his vision is to make business knowledge accessible to everyone.