What is a communication model?
A communication model is a pictorial representation of the communication process, ideas, thoughts, or concepts through diagrams, etc. They can be considered to be systematic representations of the process that help us understand how communication can be carried out.
Theorists have been building different types of communication models to understand & explain how communication takes place.
It's difficult to determine the beginning & end of a human conversation as it's a complex process. And these communication models will help us understand the process of communication in a better way.
Why are communication models important?
Can you imagine getting anything done without communicating with your subordinates, colleagues, or your bosses? Sounds absurd, right?
But, what is the use of communication if it’s not effective?
Understanding and using communication models will help you to communicate successfully within and outside the organization, for e.g. solving customer service queries.
More often than not, miscommunication leads to unnecessary additional tasks, reduces productivity, and costs a dime to the organization.
Understanding models of communication can help you:
1. Optimize your communication channels
2. Work on your past mistakes
3. Plan efficiently in the future
What are the 8 different types of communication models?
1. Linear models
Linear communication models depict one-way communication & are used to communicate with the masses.
The linear communication models are:
- Aristotle’s Model
- Lasswell’s Model
- Shannon-Weaver Model
- Berlo’s S-M-C-R Model
2. Transactional models
Transactional models highlight two-way communication with direct feedback.
The transactional communication models include:
- Barnlund’s Transactional Model
- Dance’s Helical Model
3. Interactional models
Interactional models highlight two-way communication with indirect feedback.
- Osgood-Schramm Model
- Westley And Maclean Model
What are linear communication models?
Linear communication models are models where the sender sends the message & the receiver only receives the message. There's no concept of feedback involved. The introduction of noise may affect clear communication.
1. Aristotle’s model
Aristotle’s model consists of 5 main elements which make up the framework:
1. Speaker -The one who conveys the message
2. Speech - The message
3. Occasion - Where/when/why the message is being conveyed
4. Target audience - To whom the message is to be conveyed
5. Effect - What impact did the message create?
In his communication model, Aristotle does not assign any importance to the role of feedback in communication.
Aristotle even identified three elements that have the power to improve communication:
- ethos (credibility)
- pathos (the ability to connect)
- logos (logical argument).
This model was created for the purpose of understanding how to become a more effective & persuasive communicator
2. Lasswell’s Model
This model of communication attempts to understand a communication event by asking five important questions:
1. Who? - The one who wants to convey the message
2. What?- The message that is to be conveyed
3. Which channel? - The medium used to convey the message
4. To whom? - Whom is the message conveyed?
5. What effect? - What effect did it have on the receiver?
3. Shannon-Weaver Model
This model considers communication to occur in five parts:
It stresses the importance of encoding and decoding messages for them to be transmitted. This was the first model to acknowledge the existence of noise in communication that could disrupt or alter a message. This noise could refer to something like the static on a radio broadcast, but it could include spelling errors in written communication or the receiver mishearing the message.
4. Berlo’s S-M-C-R Model
Berlo’s model explains communication in four steps: This model provides a thorough account of the key elements in every one of the steps that will affect the manner in which the message is communicated.
- Source: The elements included in the source are the sender’s communication skills, attitude, and culture.
- Message: The elements included in the message are the content, structure, and code of the message.
- Channel: The elements included in the channel are the senses of hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, etc.
- Receiver: The elements of the receiver are their attitude, knowledge, and culture.
Pros of linear communication models
1. Highly impactful in getting things done.
2. Good at audience persuasion & propaganda setting.
Cons of linear communication models
1. With no feedback, communication is not continuous.
2. It's difficult to interpret whether the communication was effective or not.
What are interactive communication models?
The interactive communication models are models where the feedback may get delayed when the messages are exchanged between the sender & receiver.
1. Osgood-Schramm Model
This model considers communication to be equal and reciprocal. It has no differentiation between the sender and receiver. In this model, it is believed that encoder and decoder keep interchanging roles of sending and receiving.
The Osgood-Schramm model is the most appropriate model for explaining and analyzing personal synchronous communication in which feedback is instantaneous like in face-to-face conversations. Since feedback is immediate, it is possible to reduce noise through the continuous clarification of messages throughout the conversation flow.
2. The Westley & Maclean Model
The Westley & Maclean Model is more focused on mass communication. It discusses these essential components:
1. Environment- The actual stimuli for any conversation
2. Sensory Experience - The experience that makes them want to send the message
3. Source Sender - The one who sends the message
4. The object of the orientation of the source - The belief of the sender that led to the initiation of that message
5. Receiver- The one received the messageFeedback - Receivers input to the message
6. Gatekeepers- The one who modifies/provides feedback to the messages before they are conveyed. (Usually involved in mass communication)
7. Opinion Leaders- Influence holders who can change the impact of the message (Usually involved in mass communication
What are the transactional communication models?
The transactional communication models are models where the feedback plays an important role & the sender/receiver can exchange their roles. It's generally used for direct personal communication in which two-way feedback is immediate.
1. Barnlund’s transactional model
This model examines interpersonal, immediate-feedback communication. It holds the idea that feedback for the sender is the reply for the receiver central to the approach.
Barnlund’s model also emphasizes the role of cues in impacting your communication. It sheds light on public cues (environmental cues) and private cues (your own personal thoughts and background). Essentially, this model shows us the factors that influence what we think & say.
Barnlund’s transactional model consists of 5 main elements:
Barnlund’s model also emphasizes the role of cues in impacting your communication. It sheds light on public cues (environmental cues), private cues (personal thoughts and background), behavioral cues (verbal or non-verbal actions) Essentially, this model shows us the factors that influence what we think & say.
2. Dance’s Helical Model
This model builds on circular models and explains how we improve our messages over time by using feedback. The feedback received for one message influences our next statement. This helps us become more knowledgeable with each cycle, making it possible for us to expand our circle as depicted in the model by circles that continuously increase in their width. The upward movement in the spiral denotes that every communication practice is new and unique as communication doesn’t ever perfectly repeat itself.
Pros of interactive communication models
1. Chance of getting feedback even in mass communication
2. New communication channels can be explored
Cons of interactive communication models
1. Feedback can take a very long time
2. Sender/receiver may not know who the other person is - that's providing the feedback
Bonus read - How to create WhatsApp chatbot [For free in 2022]
In the process of understanding these communication models, Artificial Intelligence has made good progress in applications like chatbots, virtual agents, social bots, and language generation software.
Decoding these communication models will help you get better at lead generation, delivering superior customer experience, and automating customer support, marketing, and sales processes at all levels.