Everything You Need To Know About the Communication Process

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 9, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Communication is one of the most fundamental skills in the business world. If you can explain concepts to others and understand what they need, you can encourage cooperation and progress towards shared goals. Learning about the steps in the communication process and developing your communication skills can help you connect with your co-workers and advance your career. In this article, we discuss what the process of communication is, explain the steps to take to communicate, outline different types of communication, and share skills to develop to improve your ability to connect.

What is the communication process?

The communication process is a series of steps you can take to share information with others. It's all the stages that a message experiences as one person creates it and transmits it to another. The process begins when you express an idea that a receiver translates to a form. Within this framework, there are many opportunities to improve your communication, so it's clear and easy to understand.

7 steps of the communication process

You can discover areas to improve on and learn to connect with others by dividing the concept of communication into a series of individual stages. Here are all the steps involved in the process of communication:

1. Develop an idea

At the beginning of the process, the person who wants to send a message can clarify what they're thinking about and how they wish to express it. This stage of the process can take many forms depending on the idea you're trying to share. You might have a picture in your mind, or you might want to express an emotion.

Ideas can come from experiences and building upon the thoughts of others, or emerge from thinking about how to solve a problem. If you're trying to explain a concept, take some time to think about it clearly on your own. For example, if you're thinking about how to give someone directions, you might develop the idea of drawing a map.

2. Encode the message

When you have a clear idea of what you want to express, you can translate it into a form you can share with others. The way you encode your message depends entirely on the idea it contains. If your idea is visual, you may want to encode it in a painting. If your idea is mathematical, you can express it with a formula.

You can express best some ideas by using diagrams or charts. You can express others with a simple gesture. The way you choose to encode your message affects how others receive it, so make sure to adapt your method to your needs. As an example, if you have the idea of a map in mind, you can encode it in a picture.

3. Choose a channel of communication

You can decide on the way you want to deliver your message after you encode it. Send written words through email, as a letter, or as a digital message. You can determine which channel to use according to your strengths as a communicator, the recipient, and the situation. If you are sharing an important idea in a business environment, use an appropriate form of communication like an email or presentation to make your message more impactful. If you have a chart to share, you can send it in an email or display it in a meeting.

4. Deliver the message

Delivering the message is transmitting your message to the recipient. To explain your idea verbally, choose the right time to speak, be clear in your explanations, and be ready for feedback from the recipient. If you're sending your message as an email, decide on an appropriate time to send it and confirm delivery. Stay involved in the process of delivering your message so you can demonstrate its importance and show that you're sincere.

5. Receive the message

At this stage in the process, the recipient gets the message. As a recipient, you can develop active listening skills and ensure that you give others your full attention. When you receive a written message, read it carefully and in full before coming to conclusions. If you see a visual or a nonverbal message, pay attention to details so you can address all the meaningful parts of the idea. Be receptive when others attempt to communicate with you.

6. Decode the message

After you receive a message, take some time to think about what you're sharing exactly. It can be tempting to respond to a message immediately, but taking some time to decode and process the message can allow you to understand it completely. Try to ensure that you're open to new ideas so you can appreciate the thought contained within a form of communication. For instance, it's best to take time before replying to an email, as you can include all the information in your message.

7. Provide feedback

After you have received and interpreted a message, it's often appropriate to provide the sender with feedback in the form of a message of your own. When two people transmit ideas back and forth in a clear and open way, there is great potential for agreement and progress. Moderate your feedback according to the nature of the message that you receive. Use the original message as a guide when you compose a response.

Related: How to Become an Effective Communicator

Types of communication

Understanding the four different types of communication can help improve your messages. When you're planning to send a message, choose a type of communication that allows you to transmit your ideas clearly and effectively. Here is a list of the four different types and what they involve:

Verbal

Verbal communication covers everything that is spoken and heard. It can be a fast-paced and efficient method of delivering information. You can use verbal communication in meetings, phone calls, and interviews. It can be an important aspect of meeting new people and developing relationships. You can improve your verbal communication by reading to expand your vocabulary, speaking clearly, and listening carefully.

Nonverbal

You can communicate nonverbally with gestures, facial expressions, and body language. This is a more subtle form of communication, but it can have an impact on how you receive other forms of communication. A speaker who stands confidently, smiles, and uses gestures might make the audience much more receptive to his verbal message. Nonverbal communication can sometimes be difficult to interpret, so try to be generous to others and be aware that everyone has their own unique ways of communicating nonverbally.

Written

Written communication uses letters, numbers, and symbols to convey information. It's direct, easy to share with a wide audience, carries a sense of permanence, and allows you to transmit your thoughts. Because written communication is more permanent, strive to make your writing clear and easy to read. This ensures that you always make a good impression on your readers.

Visual

Visual communication is the use of pictures, videos, diagrams, charts, and graphics to share ideas. This form allows you to summarize complex ideas or sets of data in single powerful images. Visual communication can engage your audience and help them think about ideas in an alternative approach. A painting is an excellent example of how skilled visual communicators can express many ideas with a single object.

Related: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Communication skills to develop

Here are some important skills you can develop to improve your communication skills and make sharing ideas easier:

Active listening

Active listening means paying attention and focusing on the process of communication when someone else is speaking. It's easy to think of listening as the simple process of receiving someone else's idea, but it involves much more than that. To achieve this, you can pay attention to what others say, consider the meaning of each sentence, and ask for clarification to decode the idea properly.

Related: How to Improve Communication Skills

Confidence

If you are sure about what you're saying and believe in the idea that you are communicating, you can successfully connect with others. Confidence is belief in yourself and in the work you do. You can gain confidence by developing your skills and proving that you are capable. Show your confidence by demonstrating to your listeners that you are passionate about your ideas and willing to engage with them. Positive body language, like standing up straight and smiling, can make people more receptive. A clear, commanding speaking voice can help others recognize the significance of your ideas.

Reading

Reading is one of the most effective ways to develop your communication skills. It's an obvious way to improve your comprehension of written messages, but it can also help you speak and write more effectively. Take the time to read the speeches of great orators. Observe how great writers explain complex ideas. Learn to read for pleasure and you might find that your own writing and speaking naturally improve.

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