The Communication Loop

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The Communication Loop

The Communication Loop

There are six components of communication that we will review.

  1. The sender.
  2. The receiver.
  3. The message.
  4. Feedback.
  5. Noise.
  6. Filters.

The Sender

The sender is the originator of the message.

The Receiver

The receiver is the person intended to receive the message.

The Message

The message is the information that the sender wants to give to the receiver. Messages relay information. If the information does not get delivered appropriately, it is simply meaningless data. All messages should be meaningful.

The intent of the message is to do one of three things:

  1. Inform.
  2. Persuade.
  3. Entertain.

Good communication is important even in entertaining messages. After all, little is worse than telling a joke and having someone take it seriously.


Feedback tells the original sender:

  1. The message was received.
  2. The message was received correctly.

Feedback can range from a grunt or an "OK" to a full paraphrasing of what was received.

Communication requires a complete loop, including feedback, unless the message is a broadcast intended to simply distribute information. In good communication, the message-feedback loop is repeated until both participants are satisfied that communication has taken place.


Noise, as it relates to communication, is not exclusive to sound. There are many kinds of noise, including:

  1. Projects.
  2. Children.
  3. Work.
  4. TV.
  5. Daily activities.
  6. Distractions.
  7. Lack of interest.
  8. Any other external disturbance that may interfere with accurate delivery of the message.

In most situations, there will be noise. It is both the sender's and receiver's responsibility to be aware of the noise in their environment and to do what is necessary to overcome that noise. This may mean:

  1. Moving into another room.
  2. Turning off or turning down the TV or music.
  3. Pausing a project.
  4. Speaking louder.
  5. Focusing the attention on the conversation and speaker.


Filters modify the formation of the message and distort the reception of the message. Filters include:

  1. Personal biases.
  2. Traditions.
  3. Values.
  4. Preferences.
  5. Self-centeredness.
  6. Denial.
  7. Negative emotions.
  8. Defensiveness.
  9. Selective hearing.
  10. Other feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.

Filters are not all bad. Filters are what help us discern between right and wrong, and are a part of our evaluation process that we build through experiences and education. The key to good communication is to understand filters and manage our own filters intentionally.

The best communication takes place when both parties listen and speak intentionally, but even if one person takes the lead, the exchange improves tremendously. A wise communicator will:

  1. Be aware of his or her personal biases.
  2. Consider how his or her values and preferences affect the delivery or interpretation of a message.
  3. Control the emotional impact and defensiveness triggered by filters.
  4. Respect the other person's perspective, whether or not he or she agrees with it.