Chapter One – The Communication Process:
Chapter Objectives – After studying this chapter you should be able to
Outline the basic model of communication with a clear understanding of each of
the eleven elements associated with the model.
Identify the importance of your frame of reference and how it would be used to
encode a message.
Determine if having 100% communication is a communication fallacy.
Explain why the nonverbal or paralanguage codes are more important than the
Explain how to give and receive feedback.
Determine the importance of ethical communication in the workplace.
I. Communication defined
A. Communication is not simply the process of transferring thought and ideas
from one person to another.
B. Communication is the process of people sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings with each
other in commonly understandable ways.
II. The Basic Model of Communication
A. Person A/Person B, the sender and the receiver, both send and receive
B. _______________and __________________ are two requirements that
trigger a sender to send a message.
C. The coding process involves encoding and decoding.
1. Encoding is ___________________________________________
2. Decoding is ___________________________________________
D. Frames of reference are the background and experiences of both sender
1. No two people have identical frames of reference.
2. All we experience through our senses must pass through our
frames of reference.
3. Managers and employees have different frames of reference.
4. Therefore, 100% communication is highly unlikely and so the effective
5. As messages progress up and down levels they are
E. The symbols that carry the message are communicated through codes.
1. The three basic communication codes are
a. Language (the verbal code) involves
b. Paralanguage (the vocal code)
c. Nonverbal (visual code)
2. The codes must be consistent for effective communication.
3. People tend to believe what they see over what they hear when inconsistency
F. A channel is the medium selected to carry the message.
1. Fewer codes that are used in the channel selected mean the greater
the chance of communication breakdown.
2. Considerations for choosing a channel in the business setting are
3. Memos and emails are often the channel of choice.
a. Selection of language can affect the receiver’s perception.
b. Words should sound flexible rather than strict.
G. Feedback involves the verbal and visual response to a message.
1. Feedback improves the accuracy and productivity of individuals
and groups and it increases employee satisfaction.
2. Feedback doesn’t always have positive results.
3. When receiving feedback from others you should
4. When giving feedback to others:
a. Direct it toward the behavior, not the person.
b. Use descriptive, not evaluative, language.
c. Use it to share ideas, not give advice.
d. Give only as much information as the person can take at
e. Give it immediately and at an appropriate time.
f. Allow face-saving when possible.
H. Environment includes the time, place, physical and social surroundings in
which the communicators find themselves.
I. Noise is anything that interferes with communication by distorting or
blocking the message.
1. External noise _______________________________________
2. Internal noise _______________________________________
III. Communication and Ethics
A. The American public has lost faith in the honesty and ethics of most
B. To avoid unethical practices and be more likely to succeed, follow three
1. Avoid ______________________________________________
2. Avoid ______________________________________________
3. Avoid ______________________________________________
C. Avoid the traps that tempt business and professional communicators:
1. The trap of __________________("_______________________
2. The trap of __________________("_______________________
3. The trap of __________________("_______________________
4. The trap of __________________("_______________________
5. The trap of ___________________________________________
A. Understanding the components of the communication process can help
you develop good communication skills.
B. Understanding the importance of ethical communication behavior can help
you develop good communication skills.
C. Developing good communication skills can help ensure your success in
the business setting.
1. Communication (bottom of p. 3)
2. Person A and Person B (pp. 4-5)
3. Stimulus (p. 5)
4. Motivation (p. 5)
5. Encoding (p. 6)
6. Decoding (p. 6)
7. Frame of reference (pp. 9-10)
8. A communication fallacy (pp. 9-10)
9. Assimilated (p. 11)
10. Embellished (p. 11)
11. Code (p. 12)
12. Channel (p. 14)
13. Feedback (p. 18)
14. Environment (p. 22)
15. Climate (p. 22)
16. External noise (p. 23)
17. Internal noise (p. 23)
18. Ethics (p. 25)
19. Richard Daft’s summary report on ethics (p. 29)
1.1 PRCA-24 Survey
Purpose: To develop a baseline level of your communication anxiety.
Instructions: At the beginning of the semester, one of the biggest concerns you may have, if you
are like most students taking this course, has to do with the idea of giving speeches and the "stage
fright" that may accompany those assignments. Chapter 6 of this text discusses various types of
communication anxiety and how to deal with them, but in order to have a baseline for comparison
purposes, take the Pre-PRCA-24 (Personal Report of Communication Apprehension) on p. 154 in
this workbook. The instructions for scoring your PRCA are on p. 155. At the end of the semester
when you take the Post-PRCA-24, chances are that your score will drop, indicating that after a
semester of skills training and various communication experiences, you have less apprehension
than at the beginning of the semester.
After you take the PRCA-24, respond to the following questions:
1. Why do you think your scores are _________(High, low, or average)?
2. How is your apprehension score affected by past communication experiences? By your
background? By your family? By your friends?
3. What are your hopes for this class?
4. What are your fears for this class?
1.2 How a Message Changes
Purpose: To experience how a message changes as it goes through the frames of reference of
Instructions: Ask four friends or family members to assist you in this experiment. Find a scenic
picture with several focal points and at least a little detail. Ask the three individuals to go to
another room. Explain to the first individual that you are going to describe a picture, without them
actually seeing it, and then ask him/her to describe the same picture to the next person. In other
words, Person #1 will describe to Person #2 what they THINK the picture looks like based on
what they heard you say. Person #2 will do the same thing for Person #3, and Person #3 will then
give the description to Person #4. Person #4 will then describe to all of you what he/she thinks this
picture looks like.
As your friends are giving their descriptions, your task is to listen for how the description changes
from person to person. Take notes so that you can list on this page the following:
1. How was the original description leveled (details lost)?
2. How was the original description condensed (parts shortened or simplified)?
3. How was the original description sharpened (some details highlighted, becoming more
4. How was the original description assimilated (interpreted to conform to past messages and
future expectations based on individual frames of reference)?
5. How was the original description embellished (details added)?
1.3 Feedback in Action
Purpose: To examine the use of feedback in a past communication situations.
Instructions: Oftentimes communication breakdown occurs in relationships, both professional
and personal, due to the lack of feedback or the inadequate use of it. For this exercise you will
need to recall three interactions where breakdown occurred and write a short paragraph about each
of them. After you have completed that task, evaluate the use of feedback in the interaction. Was
it used properly from both parties? What difficulties might have caused the breakdown in
feedback? Since you have read chapter 1, it is time to put the knowledge learned into action.
Write about how you would use more effective feedback if those conversations occurred today.
1.4 Net Etiquette
Purpose: To apply proper Net Etiquette to the cyber classroom.
Instructions: Read the guidelines for network etiquette (netiquette) for Internet communications
in the organizational setting at the following web site:
Summarize the three most important concepts you learned from the Introduction, Electronic Mail,
and Talk sections.
1.5 Corporate Multi-channel Marketing
Purpose: To discover how one corporation has used multi-channel marketing to strengthen its
Instructions: Use the subject "multi-channel communication" to access InfoTrac College Edition’s
article entitled "Williams-Sonoma’s Multi-Channel Marketing Leads to Niche Dominance" by
Frank Barnett and Sharan Barnett. List below the three channels Williams Sonoma is utilizing to
1.6 Ethical Communication in the Workplace
Purpose: To examine the importance of codes of ethics in the workplace.
Instructions: Being an ethical communicator is a major responsibility that we all share. Many
corporations recognize the importance of workplace ethics and have their codes on their Internet
sites like Texas Instruments www.ti.com/corp/docs/company/citizen/ethics and Lockheed Martin
www.lmco.com/exeth for example. Go to InfoTrac College Edition to read the article "The
Ethical Company" by Dayton Fandray. Scroll down to the bottom of the article to read some
background on the Lockheed Martin ethical approach. (HINT: Use the term "Business ethics" as a
key term for your search; then click on "View Periodicals" and scroll down until you find the
Your task is to locate a company for which you would like to work in the future and examine their
code of ethics. If they do not have a code of ethics posted on their Internet site, email the
company to request it. Being aware that a company has a code of ethics is simply not enough.
You must apply it in your day-to-day life. How you would apply the ethics from the company in
your everyday work life? Record your response below.
Helpful Web Pages
This web page has links to various categories of professional codes of ethics.
To check your communication skills take this interactive test.
The frame of reference of people new to the Internet world often does not include the fact that
many emails are hoaxes, rumors, and urban legends. To broaden your frame of reference by
checking the validity of emails about viruses, celebrities, products, health warnings, petitions, sick
and dying kids, etc., check out the Urban Legends and Folklore web site.
This is the index page for The Net User Guidelines by Arlene H. Rinaldi. Chapters that are linked
include Discussion Groups, Telnet Protocol, The Ten Commandments from the Computer Ethics
Institute, and others.
The National Communication Association supports three student organizations that are active on
both two- and four- year campuses. This page provides links to information about these three
John Reinard of California State University, Fullerton, has created a comprehensive page of links
for communication topics in 23 Speech Communication categories, e.g. mass communication,
organization communication, persuasion, general communication.
1._____According to Richard Daft’s survey of top executives, the single most important factor in ethical
decision making was
a. having an effective reward and punishment system in place
b. providing leadership and examples by top management
c. providing a training program on ethics
d. implementing a company code of ethics
2._____Of the communication codes, the most important are
a. paralanguage and nonverbal
b. paralanguage and verbal
c. verbal and nonverbal
3._____General Motors had a problem marketing the Chevy Nova in Mexico, because Nova in Spanish
means "No go." This illustrates the concept of
a. absence of appropriate stimulus
b. frame of reference difference
c. wrong channel
d. external noise factors
4._____When ambiguities are clarified and interpreted to conform to past messages and future expectations
from individual frames of reference, the message is said to be
5._____Choosing the best channel of communication is very important. You should use
the face-to-face channel in all of the following situations EXCEPT:
a. when immediate feedback is needed
b. when a permanent record is not needed
c. when the exact wording is important and careful planning is required
d. when the message is important and new
1._____Stimulus apart from motivation does not result in communication.
2._____Email is a channel that typically only carries one of the basic communication codes.
3._____When giving feedback to others, you should direct the feedback toward the behavior rather than the
4._____Every communicator should remember that 100% communication is achievable, but both parties
have to work consistently at it.
5._____Tom is reading an email from his boss; as Tom tries to interpret the meaning, one might say that he
is decoding the message.