Seven elements of the communication process

The seven elements of the communication process are:
(1) the communication source,
(2) the message,
(3) encoding,
(4) the channel,
(5) decoding,
(6) the receiver, and
(7) feedback.

Before communication can take place, a purpose, expressed as a message to be conveyed, must exist. It passes between a source (the sender) and a receiver. The message is converted to a symbolic form (called encoding) and passed by way of some medium (channel) to the receiver, who retranslates the sender’s message (called decoding).


The result is the transfer of meaning from one person to another. In addition, note that the entire process is susceptible to noise—disturbances that interfere with the transmission, receipt, or feedback of a message. Typical examples of noise include illegible print, phone static, inattention by the receiver, or background sounds of machinery or coworkers.

Anything that interferes with understanding can be noise, and noise can create distortion at any point in the communication process.