Communication is a linear process, because it is the result of a series of consecutive events that occur in a defined time, in which several fundamental elements come into play: the issuer (who says? And with what intentions?), message (what does it say?), channel (through what means?), receiver (to whom?) and impact (with what effect? ​​and under what conditions?)

The communication is the set of events and means by which people display their capacity to interact with other individuals and objects around (animal and plant world, machines, etc.).

It is a social phenomenon that encompasses all the forms that serve to relate to the outside world. Human communication requires a common code and more or less coinciding ideas and beliefs.

Elements of the communication process

Human communication is made up of the sender , the message and the receiver, basically . To this is added, a referent, a channel and a code. Language, in turn, has several functions that complement the communicative process in its various dimensions, namely: expressive function, conative function, referential function, poetic function, phatic function, and metalinguistic function.

  • Sender: who emits the message. The emitter corresponds to the expressive function, which shows the emotions . Example: expressions (Oops!) That show pain from a puncture.
  • Message: is the information transmitted. At this level the poetic function is produced, which is the quality of language to become itself the protagonist. It is typical of poetry, but also of advertising and political slogans.
  • Receiver: who receives the message . In language, the receptor has the coercive function, manifested through imperative verb forms, such as Stop, shut up! or otherwise require a limit from the issuer .
  • Referrer: all communication occurs in a common space of references. The referent is precisely the object referred to and whose features are known by both the sender and the receiver. We speak of the referential function of language because it has the power to describe events, things, and situations. This function is appreciated, for example, in the analysis that a critic makes of a work of art or the report of a journalist.
  • Channel: it is the means of transmission of the message between the sender and the receiver. When you talk to another person, the channel is the air. Otherwise, whoever sends a letter by email, the channel is the digital medium (information intelligible through a binary programmatic base).

The phatic function of language falls at the level of the channel, since in order for communication to be effective, the use of interrogative or appellative expressions is called upon.

The idea is to keep the communication channel open and thus guarantee the arrival of the message. An example is the expression Hello! in a phone call. We try to overcome any obstacle (noise) that prevents communication.

  • Code: it is the language itself. For example, Spanish as a language responds to a series of rules at the level of the signifier / signified (its syntax), which must be known by the sender and the receiver to make communication possible.

Every message is encoded by the sender and must be decoded by the receiver to understand it.

It is at the code level where the metalinguistic function of language is generated, because it can also speak about itself, about the structure and meaning of the code. A linguist, when analyzing his field of study, uses this function.

  • Noise: noise is a strange and harmful element for communication, therefore it must be taken into account.

Noises affect the emitting element, the message and its reception. Noise regularly produces distortions, misunderstandings, atomization of information, it can even prevent the message from reaching the receiver. The noises are not necessarily auditory or sonic in nature.

With the notions of: sender, message, receiver, referent, channel, code and noise , the elements that are part of communication are explained.

Examples of the communication process

People communicate orally or in writing every day . But, communication exists even in the absence of a proper message. Silence also works as a message in a certain context.

Psychologist Paul Watzlawic indicates that non-communication is not possible. When a subject is in front of a person or group of them and remains silent, he is communicating the desire not to communicate, which is in itself an act that can be decoded as a lack of interest, in the best of cases.

Furthermore, Watzlawic states that all communication carries a content dimension and a relationship dimension. Communication between humans depends substantially on the emotional level existing between the interlocutors, without which the content would not be viable.

Constant communication, even tacit

An example that demonstrates the impossibility of not communicating would be the following: two women meet in a meeting for the first time . Woman A asks another woman B if the dress she is wearing is original from Carolina Herrera. Woman B, although she heard the question, prefers to pretend to be distracted. Well, that act also implies a response.

The previous example also defines the importance of the emotional level in communication. Ladies A and B do not know each other .

It is evident in the form, tone and cadence of the question , plus the corporal expression of Mrs. A. Everything in her reveals the lack of an affective relationship between the two. Even non-verbal communication already provides the perception that the issuer has about the originality of the dress. Actually, it is a malicious question.

The symmetrical and the complementary in communication

Interpersonal communication processes can be equal to equal or between subjects considered dissimilar. It is what they call symmetric or complementary. If the relationship between the sender and the receiver occurs, for example, between two students of the same age and grade, it would be a symmetrical communication.

On the contrary, if the communication is between two subjects whose status is considered unequal , a complementary communication is specified.

In practice, it is common for the language between two adolescents who communicate daily to be informal . Tuteo like other verbal and gestural forms of adolescent camaraderie is common.

If the communicative relationship is complementary, a distanced treatment between people appears first , which is manifested in the type of formal greeting and the treatment of you.

Other communication examples

Now, there are many examples of communication. On the strict level of verbal communications, there are two, oral and written. 

Any type of sound emission expelled by the mouth , such as whistles or smiles, is considered oral communication , along with words. The cry of a child could indicate that he is hungry or the cry of a woman could communicate that she is threatened in some way.

  • The written communication is the record of the language means that need to be read. Reports, letters, manuals, invoices, interviews, etc., are an example of it.
  • The nonverbal communication is that which corresponds to the body, gestures and proxemics. The gestures of the body and how the intimate space is handled with respect to the other, delimits a very diverse field of forms of human mediation, whose meaning depends on the context and cultures, although some gestures are international. Here facial expressions, the manner of gesticulation, the type of gaze, the posture in front of the other and the attitude come into play .

The subject of communication is as broad as it is complex. Therefore, in this post we only give some succinct explanation on this topic.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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