Business communication models

8 Examples of Business Communication Models

An integral factor to the success of a business is the skill to effectively communicate. In a corporation, communication occurs between co-workers, employees and employers, and external personnel such as clients, stakeholders, suppliers, and other businesses.

A business communication model is simply a diagrammatic representation of various components that exist in communication from the sender to the receiver. Below you will find 8 examples of business communication models organizations use to make sure information flows in a logical and effective manner.

There are four essential elements to any communication process: the sender, the message, the medium, and the receiver. 

However, communication is more complex than that and that is why various communication models exist today.

These models describe the multiple aspects of the communication process and can help any business develop an effective communication system.

The Process of Communication Models

To understand the business communication models, there are 8 components you must know about and these components are more or less present in every model of communication.

The 8 Steps in the Process of a Business Communication

Texting symbol representing communication

1. Sender

The sender is the primary person responsible for the start of the communication process. The sender starts the communication process by conveying a thought, idea, or view based on something/someone.

For example, speakers, writers, and teachers.

2. Message

A message is the content of any thought, idea, or view that needs to be conveyed. This message can undergo encodings, transmission, and decoding before it finally reaches the receiver.

For example, letters, e-mails, voicemails, and notices.

3. Encoder

The process of converting content into a code that can be transmitted and interpreted by the receiver is called encoding.

These messages are encoded using gestures, symbols and pictures, and words.

For example, verbal signs (words, signs, images) and non-verbal signs (gestures, facial expressions, body language).

4. Channel

A channel is a medium that is used to transmit a message.

The sender selects a medium depending on which they think is more effective to send the message, such as through a phone or mail.

For example, phones, radio, paper, and social media.

5. Decoder

Decoding is done to convert a message back to a form that can be interpreted by the receiver.

For example, reading and understanding messages, listening to a speaker and acting on cues from others.

6. Receiver

The receiver is the person that receives the message. The receiver is responsible for interpreting the message and taking action accordingly.

For example, a listener, reader, or observer.

7. Feedback

After receiving information, the receiver usually has to take some action depending on how they have interpreted the data.

Feedback determines whether encoding and decoding have been carried out successfully and usually marks that the communication process has been completed.

For example, reviews, comments, and surveys.

8. Noise

Noise is anything that obstructs or interferes with the process of communication. To effectively communicate, noise should be absent throughout the process.

For example, poor network, unavailability of the receiver, and environmental noise.

Pros of Business Communication Models

A model is a breakdown of the communication process to analyze and utilize the various aspects to make communication more effective.

Organizations use business communication models to:

  • Develop effective communication
  • Understand the role of various components that partake in communication  
  • Evaluate and improve on communication
  • Understand the reason why they succeeded or failed in the process of communication

These models help promote communication between co-workers, clients, and other businesses. In addition to this, there are several other advantages to developing a good rapport in the workplace.

To fully understand why communication is essential in a business and how to effectively overcome barriers to communication in the workplace here are 10 Reasons Why Effective Communication Is Essential In The Workplace you can read to utilize business communication models to your advantage.

Examples of Business Communication Models

Channels for communication

Business communication models can be divided into 3 general models:

  • Linear model
  • Transactional model
  • Interactive model

All other models have been categorized under one of the 3 main models and focus on different components of the communication process.

Linear communication model

In this model, information flows straight from the sender to the recipient. It is a one-way communication process that does not allow for any feedback from the recipient.

4 models follow this type of communication mode.

1. The Aristotle model

Man standing on a platform and delivering a speech to a large audience

This model developed by Aristotle is one of the most common models used to deliver speeches and seminars.

There are 5 elements to this model: the speaker, the speech, the occasion, the audience, and the effect.

To effectively utilize this model in any business, Aristotle proposed three critical skills the speaker must demonstrate:

  • They must be able to establish credibility (ethos)
  • Must be able to relate to the audience on an emotional level (pathos)
  • Their speech must contain logic (logos)

These three elements together are known as the rhetorical triangle and are a useful concept that can help strengthen your speaking skills.

Example: Say you want to market a product.

Ethos

You establish credibility by improving your website.

You could add personal and other employee credentials, customer reviews about the product, highlight any awards or accomplishments of the business, add lots of pictures and media.

Pathos

Next, to establish a connection, talk about the problems your product will solve.

You can start by talking about issues you or someone you know might have faced, the story behind the product, and why you think your target audience will benefit from it.

To do this, you have to research your target market, such as their demographics, by completing surveys, conducting research on the market and other companies, etc.

Logos

To prove your product will benefit the audience, first show them evidence. You could use facts or case studies, results of surveys, and tests.

Finally, explain the features of your product, the reason they are valued, and what unique benefits they might offer.

Indeed, cultivating public speaking skills can be an advantage in the business sector, and if you’re still not convinced, here are 5 Ways Public Speaking Can Help You in Business.

2. Shannon and Weaver’s Model

A black-colored telecommunication device used to illustrate channels in communication models.

This model, developed first by Shannon and later modified by Weaver, is one of the most used technological communication models.

This model consists of 6 elements: the sender, encoder, channel, decoder, receiver, and noise.

Example: A project team leader wants her co-workers to change the introduction to a sales pitch and calls them up through her phone to tell them this.

Sender

The sender is the Team leader.

Encoder

She uses a phone to relay her information. To carry this out, her phone network company converts her information to signals that get transmitted. This way, her information is encoded.

Channel

To transmit her message, she uses her phone as a transmission medium, and all information is relayed using this channel.

Decoder

The receiver’s mobile phone then decodes the signals from the network company and converts them back into a language that can be understood by the receiver.

Receiver

The receiver then takes in the message relayed and processes it, and carries out an action accordingly. In this case, the receiver will modify the introduction of their sales pitch.

Noise

There can be disturbances that can hinder the transmission of a message.

In this example, a bad network connection, background disturbances from either the sender or the side of the receiver, or the unavailability of the receiver can contribute to noise in the process of communication.

Utilizing such a model makes it easy to troubleshoot any communication problems and prevents mistakes from repeating.

Furthermore, the concept of noise makes it easy to avoid ineffective communication by simply reducing the source of the noise.

3. Lasswell’s Communication Model

A hand writing "internet marketing" in the middle with related terms surrounding it as an example of business communication model.

Developed by Harold Lasswell, this model focuses more on the outcome of a message relayed.

This model is similar to the Shannon-weaver model. However, there is no concept of Noise, and the components are phrased by questions:

  • Who is the source of information?
  • What is the message that they want to convey?
  • What medium of transmission are they using?
  • Who is the receiver?
  • What effect does it aim to produce in the receiver?

Example: A company starting a challenge on Instagram to promote their product to gain the chance to win rewards

Who

The company that posts the challenge

Says what

The message asks the users to carry out a challenge using the company’s product

In which channel

A social media platform called Instagram

To whom

The audience that uses Instagram

With what effect

Users carry out the challenge for the chance to win rewards in return for promoting the product.

4. Berlo’s SCMR model

Billboards in New York used for advertisements to communicate

This model is a version of the Shannon-Weaver model but incorporates only 4 elements which are the Sender, Message, Channel, and Receiver (SMCR).

The sender encodes information and relays it through a channel for the receiver to decode and interpret.

Namely, newspapers, tv, and magazines use this model of communication.

Berlo mentions several factors that affect the elements of this model:

Sender/Receiver
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Cultural differences
Message
  • Type of content
  • Type of code
  • Its structure
  • Elements it contains
Channel
  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Touching
  • Smelling
  • Tasting

To effectively carry out this type of communication model, the sender should have good speaking skills and the receiver should have equally good listening skills.

Furthermore, they should be of equal social standing and share a similar culture.

This model considers the emotional, verbal, and non-verbal aspects of communication.

Example: Advertising through television

To advertise through television, the target audience will include those in a social standing where they can afford a television, so the type of advertisement and what kind of demographic it targets will affect the success of the ad.

In addition to this, the ad has to provide visual and audio stimulation to attract the audience.

Depending on whether the audience can understand the advertisement and whether they approve of the concept, the ad might succeed or fail to effectively promote the idea.

Transactional Model of Communication

In this model, communication is a two-way road where not only are messages relayed and feedback is given, but social and cultural realities are created, and relationships are established.

Noise is taken into consideration, feedback is taken as a new message and can be used for interpersonal communication, and there is a continuous exchange of information occurring.

5. Barnlund’s Model of Communication

Animated pictures of video calling from laptops for business communication.

In this model, introduced by Dean Barnland, a continuous exchange of messages occurs, and the sender and receiver interchange roles. In simple words, feedback is also a type of message.

There are three elements this model contains: public cues, private cues, and behavioral cues

Public cues

These can be natural or man-made and are physical or environmental.

For example, a phone ringing, setting off an alarm, or a school bell going off.

Private cues

These cues are the cues of the person and can be verbal or non-verbal in nature.

For example, verbal cues like repeating certain words and non-verbal cues like facial expressions and subtle gestures.

Behavioural cues

These can be verbal or non-verbal in nature.

For example, verbal (stuttering and change in pitch due to nervousness) and non-verbal (avoiding eye contact, fidgeting).

Examples of communication that follow this model: Video calls, one-on-one conversations, and exchanging texts.

6. Helical Model

A working woman standing behind a service counter smiling at a man wearing a blue striped shirt

Introduced by Frank Dance, according to this model, communication is related to time because as communication continues between two parties, it grows with relation to time.

Just like how a helix is small at the bottom and widens out at the other end, similarly communication increases with time. 

This means that communication depends on the nature of the initial message, and the more messages exchanged, the more communication grows.

Example: Buying coffee from the same cafe every day.

When the customer is new to the shop, communication is limited only to the customer’s order.

However, as time passes, the customer might become accustomed to the staff and vice versa, and communication between both parties will begin to grow. Soon, the content of the message may even shift from the subject of the order to something unrelated.

7. Becker’s Mosaic Model

Outlines of two businessmen sitting opposite each other and conversing against a grey colored puzzle background.

The mosaic model introduces communication as a three-dimensional cube that has time-space dimensions.

As proposed by Sam Becker, he explains communication as a dynamic non-linear process that has 4 elements:

  • Empty cells that refer to unaccessible messages or unknown sources
  • Vertical layers which refer to similar messages
  • Cells that are the messages or origin of it
  • Receivers that go through these messages in loops

The sender collects bits of information that are scattered throughout space and time according to their preference to form a coherent message. The person who receives this message then interprets it according to their environment and form of presentation.

The interpretation of the message changes according to the mode of presentation.

Example: Debates

While discussing the aspects of a particular topic, both parties might talk about the history of the issue, present facts, or any statistics collected from surveys. They might also use opinions quoted from other people to build an argument that will prove their point.

Their sources of information are history books, websites, and other people.

They will then use this information to form a new idea that will be relayed to the opposing party and vice versa.

Interactive Model of Communication

This model is similar to the transactional category because both models explain communication as a two-way process, and the difference here is that the exchange of messages in this mode is mainly through the internet, like on social media platforms.

In this model, people can exchange opinions and information and respond to mass media communications.

8. Schramm’s Model

Woman wearing a blue shirt smiling at a grey tablet with symbols of communication apps in the background.

Introduced by William Schramm, this model focuses on the importance of encoding, decoding, and feedback.

Sender/Receiver

The sender encodes the message, which then travels through a medium where the receiver interprets it and gives feedback accordingly.

Encoding/Decoding

The model places emphasis on the process of coding and decoding.

These components help convert thoughts into content that can be transmitted and interpreted.

Feedback

The model emphasizes the importance of feedback, stating that no communication is complete without a feedback loop.

Semantic Noise

An element this model takes into account is semantic noise. This noise causes interference due to issues with language and can be denotative or connotative in nature.

Denotative

A denotative message simply means a message that leaves no chance for misinterpretation and means the same for everyone.

For example, when you ask someone to get you a cup of coffee, they will bring you precisely one cup of coffee.

However, denotative words can cause issues, especially words that are jargon and when both parties are not at an equal understanding.

Connotative

A connotative message is one that allows the receiver to attach an alternate association to the literal meaning of a message.

For example, using the term “servant” instead of “domestic worker” or “attendant” can seem degrading and might elicit negative responses.

Examples: Some examples of this model of communication are interactions that take place on social media platforms.

To avoid using words that can have negative implications here is a list of negative words you can go through to prevent semantic noise from affecting your communication.

Conclusion

Although these business communication models will make the communication process easier to navigate there are barriers that can hinder an organization from making full use of them.

To effectively adopt a business communication model, here is an article on Barriers to Communication in the Workplace you can go through.

Thus, to develop practical communication skills, one has to understand how the whole process of communication works. Only then can we fully utilize the tools at our disposal to make communication an easy process.

In conclusion, adopting a business communication model will ensure that information will reach the right people at the right time with little to no chance for miscommunication or misinterpretation.

Hrideep Barot is the founder and chief writer at Frantically Speaking, a portal to help people learn everything about public speaking. The purpose of franticallyspeaking.com is to showcase the lessons that he has learned (and still learning) from his numerous stage experiences and mentors over all these years.

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