Communication Process – Understanding the Codes

by Diane M. Hoffmann, ph.d./th.

There are as many communication process models as there are descriptions of communication. Communication, as a system of sending and receiving, can be applied to a multitude of forms and formats, within the verbal and nonverbal human language to the technological scientific channels and elements.

Every human being communicates. Depending on our upbringing, some communicate better than others. Personally, I came into adulthood with the very basic communication elements I received from my very basic parents and family life. I learned communication skills after I recognized that I needed more communication ability than what I had.

As I learned more about communication through work experience, reading and training, I became more interested in it, because it is indeed a fascinating and endless field of discovery. I have observed that in life, the most successful people are the ones who can communicate best.

And this does not mean to talk more. Remember communication is verbal and nonverbal. By talking more we just make more noise. Sometimes the most impacting parts of our communication are the most silent. Understanding the communication process, can help us improve our communication ability and skills.

Basic communication is the sending and receiving of messages. It therefore requires a sender and a receiver. Of all the communication process models I’ve seen and read about, I have to say that I like the one presented in my book “Contextual Communication, Organization and Training”. It is the process that is likened to the communication that takes place automatically within our fearfully and wonderfully made body.

Here, the activities of the communication process are like the neurons inside our nervous system that receive a stimulus. The sender is like the stimulus that sends the communication activity received by the receiver. The receiver then interprets the response that the stimulus ultimately created.

For example, to put it simply, neurons inside the body receive a stimulus -- like a hot iron on the finger for instance -- pass it on to other neurons along the nervous system, which make the connection all along to the muscles to be contracted, which then produces the ultimate response of the retraction of the finger from the burning sensation.

In between all of these activities are codes that are automatically opened and closed as they go from stimulus to neurons to connections to responses.

In the same manner we respond to our communication process taking place between human sender and receiver. Some of that communication is automatic, as within our nervous system, and some is learned.

When we are a baby, we don’t know that the iron is hot and we may extend our finger to it having no clue of the pain that will ensue. But once experienced, we’ve learned what we now know and we will not do it again. We’ve learned a new code.

By the same token, before we ever tasted a peach, we have no idea what the sensation is. Then someone gives us a piece of this ripe, juicy, sweet fruit and our response is ‘yummy’. And here, we do want to do it again. We’ve learned another type of code.

In the communication process, we learn the codes of what’s bad and what’s good and also what works and what doesn’t. We learn that certain words and behaviours produce a good, constructive response in the other person or activity. And some produce a bad, destructive response. We now know what to do and what avoid.

And so the communication process continues to grow and improve as we learn through our mistakes and through training. /dmh

Article Copyright(c)Diane M. Hoffmann. You may print this article making sure to include the following bio without any changes.

Diane M. Hoffmann is the founder of Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications and author of the 296-page printed book "Contextual Communication, Organization and Training". Diane also provides a 2-part e-book version of her printed book, "Improve Communication, Verbal and Nonverbal" and "Improve Communication, Organization and Training" as well as many free articles which can be seen at her blog at

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