Communication Methods and Models

Posted on September 25, 2009 by


Communication Methods is a tool of the Plan Communications, Distribute Information, Report Performance, and Manage Stakeholders Expectations processes. (Which means that Communication Methods is a tool for all Communications processes except for the Identify Stakeholders process). Communication Methods fall into three broad categories: Interactive, Push, and Pull. Interactive Communication is the most effective form of communication. The people involved are able to exchange information through sharing and receiving information. Examples include phone calls, videoconferencing, and meetings. Push Communication sends information to people, but it is unknown if they have actually received it. Examples include emails, voicemails, and letters. Pull Communication is information that can be accessed by people, such as through intranet sites and filing cabinets.

Communication Models is a tool of the Plan Communications process. A simple model includes: Encode, Message/Feedback-Message, Medium, Noise, and Decode. Encoding puts thoughts and ideas into a language that can be understood by someone else. The Message is the output of encoding that represents these thoughts and ideas. Medium is the method used to transmit the message. Noise is something that interferes with the understanding of the message. Decode is the process of understanding the thoughts and ideas represented by the message. For example, Carl imagines that the car he is restoring would look better if it were painted green, so he calls the client and says “May I go ahead and make your car green? It would be a huge improvement.” The client, an environmentally conscious man, understands “make your car green” as improving its gas mileage, so he agrees. In this scenario, the Encoding is Carl’s thoughts of a green car translated into English. The Message is what he actually said to his client. The Medium is the telephone. The Noise was the dual meaning of the word “green,” and the Decoding was the client’s misunderstanding of the message.