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The 10 Elements Of Communication

This article contains insights on the 10 elements of communication.

Elements Of Communication

Communication is the process of conveying messages by exchanging thoughts, information, opinions, feelings, body language, via speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior signs and ideas through words which may be written or spoken.

Communication is the integral aspect of human relationship. Every aspect of human life requires communication to thrive smoothly, but unfortunately, not everyone knows how to communicate effectively for proper understanding.

There are different elements of communication which makes up a communication process. These elements are what determines whether the communication will be effective or not.


These elements include:

  1. Sender
  2. Message
  3. Encoding
  4. Channel/ media
  5. Receiver
  6. Decoding
  7. Feedback.
  8. Effect


The communication process begins with the sender. The sender who is otherwise called the communicator or source is the person who  determines the message, what to say and how to say it and sends his ideas to another person. The sender has some kind of information, request, or idea that he or she wants to present to others. For that message to be received, the sender must first encode the message in a form that can be understood, such as by the use of a common language and then transmit it.


The idea, feeling, suggestion, guidelines, orders or any content which is intended to be communicated is a message. The message or content is the information that the sender wants to relay to the receiver.

When you speak to a person your message may be the words you choose that will convey your meaning. The words are brought together with grammar and organization. The message also consists of the way it’s conveyed in a speech, with your tone, your body language and your appearance or in a report, with your writing style, punctuation, etc. In addition, part of the message may be the environment or context you present it.

Simply put, a message is the content that the sender passes on to the receiver and it is the core element of communication.


The transformation of an idea into a message by the sender is known as an encoding. The message should be clear so that the receiver understands it. It is the process of converting the idea, thinking or any other thing that makes up the message into symbols


There are different ways in which message travels from the sender to the receiver. Let’s use our television set to illustrate. This is because it has both audio and visual components unlike the radio set. The Television set in our homes is one of the channels of communication. That aside. We all know that it consists of different channels (stations). Assuming you were watching a program and decided to put off the volume completely (more like muting the program), will you still understand the programme?

The answer is Yes. In many cases, the body language is enough to make one understand even without the audio. Other times, some shows also use subtitling to communicate for general understanding.

On the other hand, you can still understand a TV program from a distance through the audio even without having access to the visuals. This illustration simply explains what channel is all about.

However, channels otherwise known as a medium or routes are the different means through which encoded messages are passed by the sender to the receiver. There can be various forms of channels. When you speak or write, you are using a channel to pass your message. Spoken channels include face-to-face conversations, speeches, telephone conversations and voice mail messages, radio, public address systems, and voice over Internet , letters, radio, television, etc.

Written channels include letters, memorandums, purchase orders, invoices, newspaper and magazine articles, blogs, e-mail, text messages, tweets, and lots more.

The channel used to communicate is determined by the sender based on certain factors such as cost, speed of delivery, etc.


This element of communication involves translating the encoded message into language understandable by the receiver. The person who receives the message  from the sender tries to convert the message in such a way that he may extract its meaning to his complete understanding.

Many times, the intent of the message is misunderstood by the receiver. This is why it is important for the sender to endeavour that the message being sent is very clear and understandable else there is no effective communication.


The receiver is the person for whom the message is intended. He is the most important aspect of the communication process which is a two way process and incomplete without the receiver. Any change or neglect on the part of the receiver will hamper the entire process.

The Receiver is the person who receives the message or for whom the message is meant for. It is the receiver who tries to understand the message in the best possible way in achieving the desired objectives. This element is responsible for determining if the intent of the message will be met or not.

For instance, the sender wishes to inform a colleague at the office via text message to attend to all the files on her desk before taking her leave(closing from work). If this message was sent at the time this colleague in question applied for an annual leave from work, the intent of the message is likely to be misunderstood because the sender was clear enough.

Thus, it is the responsibility of the receiver to try to find out the intent of the message when not properly communicated. As a receiver you must listen, see, feel, touch, etc to receive a message and interpret the message from the source accurately.


The Effect is the change in behaviour of the receiver for receiving the message from the sender. The receiver may ignore the message, act on it or dispose of it or even send a feedback to the source depending on the effect the message has on the receiver.

Considering the illustration above, the colleague to whom the message was sent may choose to ignore the message if clearly understood and just act on it or seed a feedback to get a clearer understanding in a situation where the message  was not clearly communicated.


Feedback is the response given to the sender. When you respond to the source, you are giving feedback. Feedback is composed of messages the receiver sends back to the source. Verbal or nonverbal, all these feedback signals allow the source to see how well, how well the message was received. Feedback also provides an opportunity for the receiver  to ask for clarification, to agree or disagree.

The communication process reaches its final point when the message has been successfully transmitted, received, and understood. The receiver, in turn, responds to the sender, indicating comprehension. Feedback may be direct or indirect. Direct response such as a written or verbal response, or it may be indirect in the form of an act.

Feedback is the response the receiver gives to the sender after the element of effect. Feedback can be negative or positive depending on how the message is encoded and decoded by the sender and receiver respectively. Feedback in most cases does not take place. It is an optional element of communication that may or may not happen though it is an element that shows that communication was effective.

Other elements include:

9. Noise and

10. Context.

Mr and Mrs Sidney ran out of beverage in the house. Mrs Sidney, who wanted her husband to purchase them on his way back from work failed to communicate that to the husband before he left for work.

Upon remembering this, Mrs Sidney quickly sent a message to her husband to remind him to stop by at the supermarket to get milk for the house use. When Mr Sidney received the text, he sent a feedback to acknowledge receipt of the message.

After close from work, he went to get the milk as reminded. While at the store he sent different pictures of milk samples and eventually showed up at home with a tin of Milk but the problem turned out to be that he got the regular type while the wife actually needed the type with zero cholesterol.

In this example, the sender is Mrs Sidney while the receiver is Mr Sidney. The medium is a text message which was  encoded in English language The message is “Remember to buy the milk!” In this case, the feedback is both direct and indirect. Mr Sidney texts different samples of milk at the store (direct) and then comes home with it (indirect).

However, Mrs Sidney did not see the samples of the milk because the message wasn’t transmitted due to one reason or the other (noise) and  Mr Sidney failed to ask what kind of milk (context) when the sender(wife) failed to communicate clearly.

Communication is very important in our different spheres of life, business and relationship inclusive.

Some importance of communication includes the following:

  • In our daily interaction, communication plays a significant role in making interaction faster. Communication helps to make life easier.
  • In an Organization/ Business, communication helps the employer to know how the job is being executed by the employee. It helps in coordinating the activities of various departments and persons in an organisation by providing complete information about organisational goals, ways of achieving them, interpersonal relationship among staff etc. Hence, communication acts as a basis for coordination.
  • Effective communication helps in the process of decision making by providing all the necessary information. In the absence of communication of relevant information, one cannot take any meaningful decision. Thus, communication is essential for effective performance of managerial functions. A good leader must possess efficient communication skills for influencing the behaviour of the subordinates. Thus, communication is the basis of leadership.
  • In business, communication is also very essential for successful brand messaging, to build great team relationships.
  • In education, the importance of communication cannot be overemphasized.  In our education system teachers and students need to communicate with one another for effective learning. For developing the speaking & listening skill of the students, communication is a necessary.
  • Effective communication between teachers and students is the only way knowledge will be passed to students.  Communicating with the teacher in a proper way will help build confidence in the student.
  • Communication also helps one to become a friendly person, which is an important act. By learning proper communication students can earn skill for developing their career and professionalism in any field they find themselves.
  • For communication to be successful, both parties must be able to exchange information and understand each other. If the flow of information is hindered for some reason or the parties cannot make themselves understood, then communication is said to have failed.
  • Whenever you’ve a conversation, text a friend, or make a public presentation, you have engaged in communication. Any time two or more people get together to exchange messages, they are engaging in this basic process with these elements in play. Communication may seem simple, but it is actually quite complex and a lot of people do badly in it.


With the information contained in this article, what makes up communication has been brought to our notice. Knowing the basic elements of communication is one important way to know the areas we have been getting wrong in terms of communication and also what makes up effective communication. I believe this article should help you to know how to convey your messages clearly to others as the sender because that is the major element that determines how a message is understood by the receiver.

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