Essential Components of Communication

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Essential Components of Communication

Eight Essential Components of Communication

Have you ever made a simple request but the person ends up doing something different because that is what they heard? Communication is not complete until the intended message of the speaker is understood by the receiver. Effective communication does not happen by chance but an understanding of the essential components of communication is a good place to start.

What are the components of communication?

  • Source

As the source, you are in charge of generating and sharing the message. You must decide on what to say, choose the words that will convey your planned meaning, deliver it correctly to your audience, and then determine the reception of the message. It goes beyond the words as your mannerisms, intonation and even manner of dressing affect your delivery (02).

  • Message

The meaning produced by the source for the audience is the message (01). The words used are important but are not entirely responsible for the comprehension of the message. The arrangement of words and points to be made are also important. You should pay attention to your gestures, the context, and the environment where you will be speaking (02). This also applies to written communication.

  • Channel

The channel is the medium through which a message gets to the audience from the source (01). Depending on your mode of communication, you can use either spoken channels or written channels (02). Spoken channels will include direct communication, radio, and public address while written channels are blogs, newspapers, memos, and the likes.

  • Receiver

The receiver is the recipient of the message and is responsible for interpreting it (01). The interpretation of the message may not be the same as what was meant by the source. You as the source can realize this by picking up the body language of your audience. This will help you know when to rephrase your message for a better understanding.

  • Feedback

Any response you give to a message is called feedback. It does not have to be verbal as your gestures can indicate your reception of the message. You can also give feedback to clarify or contribute to the message. The higher the amount of feedback, the greater the chances of accurate communication (03).

  • Environment

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the environment where communication takes place. The ambiance is top on the list as it sets the tone for the conversation. Another factor to consider is the dress code which can be a pointer to formal or informal communication (02).

  • Context

The context of communication is majorly hinged on expectations. These expectations can sometimes cloud the interpretation of the message. The environment affects the expectation of the audience so it must be set as fit (02).

  • Interference

Any internal or external situation that obstructs or distorts the meaning of a message is called interference or noise (04). Interference is usually a barrier to effective communication. It is internal when it is caused by the receiver such as distracting thoughts and external when it is a result of the environment. When there is interference, there will likely be an inaccurate or poor interpretation of the message from the source (02).

Communication without the element of environment

The environment in which communication takes place is an important element of effective communication. It is the knot that brings together all the other elements of communication. Working with those other components, it can be adjusted to help the source with the delivery of the message by setting the tone, creating expectations in the mind of the receiver and also minimize interference thereby ensuring proper interpretation. The words spoken or written alone cannot adequately pass across the message. Humans are designed to use more than one sense at a time to collect information and this also applies when communicating with others. A loss of the environment element will leave room for misinterpretation as there will be one less thing the source can control to guarantee that the intended meaning of the message is delivered.

References used to write this article – Essential Components of Communication
  1. McLean, S. (2005). The basics of interpersonal communication (p. 10). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
  2. 2020. What Is Communication? (URL)
  3. Leavitt, H., & Mueller, R. (1951). Some effects of feedback on communication. Human Relations, 4, 401–410.
  4. McLean, S. (2005). The basics of interpersonal communication (p. 11)

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