Q:

What are the elements of communication?

A:

The eight elements of communication are source, message, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, feedback and context. This model was developed by communication theorists Claude Shannon, Wilbur Lang Schramm and Robert Craig, among others.

The source is the living or non-living thing attempting to share information. This is where the intended communication originates. The message is simply the information that is being communicated. Encoding is the process of bundling the message into an effective package that is easily understandable for the intended audience. Once the message is encoded, the source delivers the message through a channel, which may be verbal, non-verbal, personal, non-personal or some combination of these categories.

The message is ultimately received and decoded by the receiver. If the message has been crafted properly by the source, the receiver has no problem decoding and understanding the message. Therefore, the source judges its success based on the feedback it gets back from the receiver. This feedback presents an opportunity to learn and hone the process for continued communication success.

Finally, there is context, which encompasses the environment in which the message is delivered. Whether it is the language used or the channel selected, context is extremely important to the effectiveness of communication.

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