The Communication Process Model is one of the most vital theories to learn, as ultimately, successful management culminates from the effective use of communication. As you are a leader of a team, it is absolutely essential that you convey thoughts, feelings and information regularly, in a way that motivates your staff, allows growth in learning and provides clear understanding of objectives and ‘need-to-knows’.
Has there been an example in your life whereby you stated something and it has been perceived in a totally different way? Have you ever tried to provide some coaching or training and that you thought you were doing a good job, but those being trained were looking at you as if you were speaking a foreign language?
Much of the shortfalls come from the communication process model: the process of how we communicate to each other – How we as senders, convey the message, and equally, how we as receivers to that message, understand it and decipher it in our own mind. The mix-up in communication often comes from ‘noise’ around us that impedes our messages and can create distortion or the feeling that we are not on the same hymn sheet as the other person.
The communication process model can be seen below:
As the communication process model demonstrates, communication is more about the need to minimise noise in the process and to try to ensure that the message decoded by the receiver is as close as possible to the intended message that was given by the person who sent the message. This all sounds technical, I know, but in essence, if you reduce noise when communicating, then it should be easier for someone listening to understand what you intend to say and mean. Much like trying to shout at the top of your voice to be heard in a loud environment, people may mishear you, and interpret your message in different ways, the same true is for general communication.
In the communication process model, noise can come from the following:
It is easy to suggest how misinterpretation arises, based on the noise that can be created when sending and receiving communication.
I would advise to follow a basic five step rule when using the communication process model and planning communication with your teams:
Step 1: Start with the end in mind. Get a good understanding of what your objectives are before you start to convey the message or engage in communication.
Step 2: Identify the recipients of the communication. Knowing your target audience is critical as it allows you to tailor your message in various ways to help achieve understanding. Also, it allows you to gauge who the appropriate people are needed to be kept informed.
Step 3: Choose the best method of communication. There are countless ways to communicate something which varies on what you are trying to achieve; the skill level of the people and also how people learn best (some people learn more by doing while others, for example, learn more by pictures and illustrations). Other forms of communication could be Webinar, Email, Telephone, face to face, presentations, workshops and so on.
This stage is more trial and error and you will begin to pick up on what works and doesn’t work effectively as your experience increases.
Step 4: Match your communication to the recipients. This is the tricky bit; getting your message across. In order to be successful, you have to understand your recipient and then pitch the message to them at their level of competence and understanding as well as the above variables in step 3.
One rule is to tell them what you are going to them; then tell them; and ask them to tell you what you have told them. This will set the expectations, and will then allow you to keep on track with the message and then provide valuable feedback to ensure the message has been understood.
If there are many people present, perhaps mix up the styles to help reinforce the message for everyone. Ideas could be:
This is by no means an exhaustive list but he objective is to provide rich content to allow your recipients to understand your message clear and concisely, with minimal noise.
Step5: Adjust your style to suit the feedback. Throughout the event, obtain a consensus of understanding: