The process of communication is a sequence of events in which a sender transmits a message to a recipient. The message can be verbal or nonverbal as long as the recipient is able to understand it. There are several steps in the process: encoding, medium of transmission, decoding, and feedback. The sender selects a format for the message, "encodes" it into that form, and then selects and uses a medium, or method, of transmission. When the recipient receives the message, it is "decoded," and feedback occurs.
The necessary components that need to be present for the process of communication to occur include the sender, the recipient, and the message. The sender is the person or group who needs to communicate information and transmits the message. The message can take many forms such as writing, pictures, gestures, or speech. In order for effective communication to take place, it's vital that the message is able to be easily understood. The recipient is the person or group who gets the message, understands it, and responds if appropriate.
The first step in the process of communication is called encoding. This is when the message is transformed from a thought in someone's mind to a form that can be understood by others. The message can be written down, spoken, or it can even take a nonverbal, or wordless, form such as gestures or a picture. Once the message has been encoded, it should be in a form that is ready to be received and understood.
After the message has been prepared for transmission, it needs to be sent. This part of the process of communication is called the medium of transmission. In this step, the sender selects the best method for sending the message and transmits it. For example, a written message may take the form of e-mail or a business report that is printed out and hand delivered. A verbal message may be telephone conversation or a speech given before an audience, and a nonverbal message such as a picture may be transmitted by posting it on the Internet or hanging it in a museum.
Once the message has been transmitted, the next step in the process of communication requires decoding. This occurs once the recipient gets the message, examines, and interprets it using prior knowledge and experience. In this manner the recipient develops an understanding of the meaning of the message which is partially based his or her own background. Finally, feedback is the last part of the process where the recipient responds to the message, thereby indicating understanding.