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A simplified view of the communication process


The listener, reader, or observer in the communication process. Another name for receiver is audience.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "In the communication process, the role of receiver is, I believe, as important as that of sender. There are five receiver steps in the process of communication--Receive, Understand, Accept, Use, and Give a Feedback. Without these steps, being followed by the receiver, no communication process would be complete and successful."
    (Keith David, Human Behavior. McGraw-Hill, 1993)

  • Decoding the Message
    "The receiver is the destination of the message. The receiver's task is to interpret the sender's message, both verbal and nonverbal, with as little distortion as possible. The process of interpreting the message is known as decoding. Because words and nonverbal signals have different meanings to different people, countless problems can occur at this point in the communication process:
    - The sender inadequately encodes the original message with words not present in the receiver's vocabulary; ambiguous, nonspecific ideas; or nonverbal signals that distract the receiver or contradict the verbal message.
    - The receiver is intimidated by the position or authority of the sender, resulting in tension that prevents effective concentration on the message and failure to ask for needed clarification.
    - The receiver prejudges the topic as too boring or difficult to understand and does not attempt to understand the message.
    - The receiver is close-minded and unreceptive to new and different ideas.
    With the infinite number of breakdowns possible at each stage of the communication process, it is indeed a miracle that effective communication ever occurs."
    (Carol M. Lehman and Debbie D. DuFrene, Business Communication, 16th ed. South-Western, 2010)

  • Feedback Issues
    "In the interpersonal setting, a source has a chance to shape a different message for each receiver. Feedback cues on all available levels (depending on physical features of the setting, for instance, face to face or a telephone conversation) enable the source to read the needs and wants of a receiver and adapt a message accordingly. Through give-and-take, the source can progress through a line of reasoning using necessary tactics to make the point with each receiver. . . .

    "Feedback in the interpersonal setting provides a running account of a receiver's reception of a message. Obvious cues such as direct questions show how well a receiver is processing the information. But subtle indicators also may provide information. For instance, a receiver's yawn, silence when comments are expected, or expressions of boredom suggest that selective exposure gates may be in operation.
    (Gary W. Selnow and William D. Crano, Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Targeted Communication Programs. Quorum/Greenwood, 1987)

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