Topic 3 Communication models

The basic flow of communication is depicted in the diagram below showing that the sender has an idea which is transmitted as an encoded message to the receiver who is asked to decode the message and give meaning to it. Then, the sender and the receiver share feedback on the communication process. The models of communication are important because they show how communication works from the sending of the message to its interpretation and understanding.

There are two types of communication; verbal communication and non-verbal communication.

Verbal communication includes the use of words in either oral or written form. Oral communication is the spoken word and takes place through discussions, conversations, video conferences etc. Oral communication is a fast and easy way to share thoughts and ideas. The effectiveness of oral communication depends both on the verbal skills of person such as clarity of speech, voice volume, tone, choice of words, and on nonverbal communication such as body language.

Another form of verbal communication is the written form. Written communication is conveyed through written symbols such as language. It takes place in the use of letters, emails, text messages, documents etc. The effectiveness of written communication also depends on verbal skills such as the writing style, grammar, vocabulary etc. The other type of communication is non-verbal communication.

Non-verbal communication includes the body language that we use which also conveys messages. The bodily movements such as gestures, smiling, and especially eye-contact reveal the feelings and give context to the words spoken.

How do we communicate?

Most people think about speech when they think about communication but there are many other ways, we can also use to communicate with each other:

  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Pointing / Using hands
  • Writing
  • Drawing
  • Touch
  • Eye contact
  • Using equipment e.g., text message or computer

For communication to be effective we have to understand each other (speak the same language), have eye contact, appropriate volume, appropriate speed of speech …