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The 5–3–5 Method for Effective Communication and Feedback

Five Stages of the Communication Cycle

Interpersonal communication is a complicated process. People use many different methods to communicate. It could be a simple method, such as a note stuck on a computer, or a complex method, such as video conferencing.

Whatever medium you choose, the underlying structure or communication cycle remains the same. For a message to be transmitted and received, it must go through five stages:

1. Aim

During this stage, you decide to initiate communication with your chosen receiver. Decide what to you want to communicate and what medium you want to use.

2. Encode

During this stage, you choose the words and images that you need to express or communicate your message.

3. Transmit

During this stage, you send the message to the receiver physically. Use verbal and non-verbal language to communicate your meaning.

4. Receive

During this stage, your recipient physically receives your message. In face-to-face contact, the verbal and vocal content of your message is received aurally. Your body language is received visually.

5. Decode

During this stage, the receiver translate what has been seen and heard. They gain a personal understanding of each message.

The communication cycle is complete when the receiver responds. In doing so, the receiver becomes a sender. This cycle continues for as long as the people involved interact with each other. Even when there is no verbal reply, receivers still respond through body language. Their facial expressions, postures, and gestures indicate how they feel about the information that they receive.

Every communication, no matter how brief, goes through these five stages. Understanding the process allows you to diagnose your own communication problems and correct them. By exerting conscious control over your execution of the communication process, you will become an effective communicator and achieve more satisfactory results.

Three Steps for Effective Communication

Interpersonal communication is never perfect. Individuals communicate differently, creating opportunities for misunderstandings. As the sender, all you can regulate is how, what, and when you communicate. Even when both parties participate fully in the process, you cannot dictate what the other person hears, or how your message is interpreted.

However, it is possible to influence how others interpret your messages. The sender of any message has a responsibility to be understood. This can only happen during those stages of the communication process that you perform.

These stages are: