Understanding Communication System

An idea however brilliant and unique it is, is a waste unless and until it is communicated and shared with the world. Others must know what you are thinking to give you the credit for your unique idea and to gain from it as well.

No one can get into our brain and check the grey matter to understand what we are thinking. The thought as it is can’t be shared with the other individuals as it is in a very raw state and needs to be refined. The individual needs to carefully put the thought into sensible and relevant words to create a content ready to be shared with the listeners. This process is also called as encoding. Now the information can be shared with recipients, who then decode it correctly and respond accordingly in the desired manner and thus completing the loop.

In a layman’s language, the process of flow of information from one party to the second party through some medium is called communication.

The individual who passes the information to others for sharing his thoughts and ideas with them is called the sender. (First Party)

The individual who receives the information from the sender and responds accordingly to give him the feedback is called the receiver. (Second Party)

In the process of communication the information must reach the receiver in exactly the same form the speaker intends to. If the recipients fail to provide feedback to the speaker, communication is considered to be ineffective and incomplete.

Peter - “Sam please get me the project report fast to my cabin”

Sam -“Sure Sir, in a minute”

Peter - “Thanks Sam”

The above is an example of an effective communication between Peter and Sam, Peter being the sender and Sam being the recipient. Here both Peter and Sam are living entities. Peter first converted his thought into a meaningful content by careful selection of words - a process called encoding. The content was then shared with Sam, who could decode the message correctly and responded in the desired manner.

Sender ------------------------------- Medium ------------------------------- Receiver
  → Information   ← Feedback  

Communication between two parties can happen through many routes and channels:

Let us understand the channels of communication through some examples.

One fine morning, John was rubbing both his palms and immediately his secretary Mac switched on the room heater.

John never communicated anything to Mac, then how did Mac come to know?

It was actually John’s rubbing of hands which communicated Mac that the room heater needs to be switched on immediately otherwise John will catch cold. In this case, communication happened through body movements. A good fragrance always communicates that it immediately needs to be picked up from the shelf and used. Our nose was actually responsible for the communication. Tongue also helps us to find out whether the food is hot or cold as well as stale or fresh.

If you are lost in a museum, how will you find the correct way? Through the museum map which will take you to the main entrance.

Diagrams, maps, graphs, signboards, banners, hoardings communicate the information hidden in them and guide us to either to explore a new tourist spot or warn us not to light a cigarette in a particular zone and so on. It depends on us and our eyes, how we perceive the information and respond to it. In this case the communication was done through pictorial representations.

A politician during his rally for vote appeal will use a microphone as he intends to reach out to a wider audience. In such a case, his speech is audible to even the person seated on the last bench. How do you think is this possible? In such cases the voice actually travels through the air and hits the earlobe of the individual and thus he can clearly hear what the other person wishes to convey and respond as well.

A radio, television set or a telephone are also instrumental in effective flow of information. Beep in a fax machine for example will communicate to the individual that a fax or an important data, or some urgent information has arrived for him and he needs to be on his toes and act as per the instructions. A telephone buzzing communicates that someone on the other side is waiting to convey an important information for you to respond.

In the above case, various systems and equipments provided information to the individuals. In such cases of communication the flow of information is between the individual and equipments or machines. If more equipments or machines are coupled together through a network, then it is essential that all of them must be technically compatible, work on almost similar patterns and lines and should provide similar information to the individuals for an effective communication.

Communication can be between two human beings as in the case of Sam and Peter, can also be between equipment (machine) and human being, the machine being the sender and the human being the recipient. For instance a telephone ringing communicates that the receiver needs to be picked up immediately to interact with the person waiting on the other side.

There are also instances where man sends signals to a machine. In such cases of communication information flows from the individuals for the machine to respond accordingly. If you turn the knob of a refrigerator to the coldest zone, automatically your refrigerator will get the signal that it needs to keep your food and drinks a little more colder than the normal temperature.

To summarize, communication system helps in the smooth and correct flow of information from the first party to the second party and the successful accomplishment of a task.

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