Communication cycle

The communication cycle is a cycle which shows the way information is sent and received. When interacting we don’t consciously think about the messages being sent and received. However, we know that communication is organized in six steps. This is the communication cycle, and using this cycle we can engage in effective communication where our messages are conveyed and understood successfully. This is essential as good communication skills are crucial for health and social care professionals.

Many aspects such as how one feels or whether the message has been conveyed or not, may not be consciously thought about but they are very important in the communication cycle. The factors that help break down the communication are the environment, noise, language barriers, body language, volume, emotional atmosphere, tone of voice and learning difficulties. To have effective communication skills, we must learn to break down these barriers.

There are six stages in the communication cycle. They are –

1. Aiming – What is the reason for the sender of information to communicate? The sender will have a reason to communicate, a certain way of conveying the message, and awaiting the result of how the receiver will react and respond.

This relates to the case study as the multi – disciplinary team (MDT) is communicating with Mr. and Mrs. Singh to organize a discharge package for Mrs. Singh. This is their aim and the reason for why the meeting was held.

2. Encoding – Thinking through how you will communicate. Which language and which words to use. How do you expect the receiver to react, and what knowledge does the receiver have already regarding the information you want to send? It is crucial to think carefully about how you will convey your message as this can have an affect on the receiver and his/her understanding. How you convey your message can be influenced by the words you use, the tone of voice, your body language and so on.

This links to the case study as the multi – disciplinary team (MDT) decide to speak formal and advanced English using a lot of medical terminology. Their voices are high- pitched due to the environmental noise being a distraction. This made the couple feel very uncomfortable.

3. Transmitting – This is when the message is sent. It could be verbal, written or in any other way of communication. You have to make sure that this is the right time to communicate, and that the receiver can understand you, if not then to use words which you think might help the receiver to understand.

In relation to the case study, the multi – disciplinary team (MDT) sent the information over to Mr. and Mrs. Singh verbally and at the right given time as this what the meeting was made for. However, as Mr. and Mrs. Singh speak minimal English, the message could not be conveyed successfully as the multi – disciplinary team (MDT) communicated using advanced English, leaving the couple confused.

4. Receiving – This is when the receiver listens or reads to take the information in. It is important for the receiver to ask the sender to repeat any message which has not been understood and not conveyed correctly. This will help to keep up the effective communication and to keep the communication cycle going.

Linking this to the case study, there seems to be a language barrier making it difficult for Mr. and Mrs. Singh to understand the information being passed onto them. The environmental noise also contributes to the destruction of the communication cycle. Mr. and Mrs. Singh did not understand what the multi – disciplinary team (MDT) were communicating and did not ask or mention any message which had not been conveyed correctly. The communication cycle at this point has broken down.

5. Decoding – The receiver has now got the message and must now interpret what has been said or written. Other factors will influence the way the receiver interprets the message that has been conveyed such as body language, or the words used.

With regards to the case study, due to the failure of the information being conveyed to Mr. and Mrs. Singh, the couple was confused and did not understand the situation. This disrupted the communication cycle.

6. Responding – The receiver by now has figured out the message the sender has sent. He/she will now respond. However, sometimes the message may be misinterpreted and the receiver should ask for the information to be conveyed again. This will repeat the communication cycle.

In relation to the case study, instead of Mr. and Mrs. Singh asking for the information to be repeated, they nod after every question and put an act up as if they understand the situation. However, due to the language barrier, and environmental distractions, communication was made difficult and the cycle had collapsed.

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