Shannon and Weaver (1949) put forward a basic linear model of communication. It is a clear example of a process-centered model and sees communication as the transmission of messages. Shannon and Weaver’s Communications model:
The Oxford dictionary defines a process as ‘A series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end’ Similarly, an early example of the steps involved in the communication process are: Thought: First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea, information, or feelings. Encoding: Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other symbols. Decoding: Lastly, the receiver translates the words or symbols into a concept or information that he or she can understand. What is above examples lack is the quality of the communication and also to outline any feedback process. Both of these areas in modern business are key to successful and effective communication taking place. More advanced, all in compassing models have been designed to fit the needs of a fast expanding, technologically astute business generation.
Stages in the Communications Process
Source: As the source of the message, you need to be clear about why you're communicating, and what you want to communicate. You also need to be confident that the information you're communicating is useful and accurate.
Message: The message is the information that you want to communicate.
Encoding: This is the process of transferring the information you want to communicate into a form that can be sent and correctly decoded at the other end. Your success in encoding depends partly on your ability to convey information clearly and simply, but also on your ability to anticipate and eliminate sources of confusion (for example, cultural issues, mistaken assumptions, and missing information.) A key part of this is knowing your audience: Failure to understand who you are communicating with will result in delivering messages that are misunderstood.
Channel: Messages are conveyed through channels, with verbal including face-to-face meetings, telephone and videoconferencing; and written including letters, emails, memos and reports.
Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, it's not particularly effective to give a long list of directions verbally, while you'll quickly cause problems if you criticize someone strongly by email.
Decoding: Just as successful encoding is a skill, so is successful decoding (involving, for example, taking the time to read a message carefully, or listen actively to it.) Just as confusion can arise from errors in encoding, it can also arise from decoding errors. This is particularly the case if the decoder doesn't have enough knowledge to understand the message.
Receiver: Your message is delivered to individual members of your audience. No doubt, you have in mind the actions or reactions you hope your message will get from this audience. Keep in mind, though, that each of these individuals enters into the communication process with ideas and feelings that will undoubtedly influence their understanding of your message, and their response. To be a successful communicator, you should consider these before delivering your message, and act appropriately.
Feedback: Your audience will provide you with feedback, verbal and nonverbal reactions to your communicated message. Pay close attention to this feedback, as it is the only thing that allows you to be confident that your audience has understood your message. If you find that there has been a misunderstanding, at least you have the opportunity to send the message a second time.
Context: The situation in which your message is delivered is the context. This may include the surrounding environment or broader culture (i.e. corporate culture, international cultures, etc.).