Berlo’s Model of Communication

While the Aristotle model of communication puts the speaker in the central position and suggests that the speaker is the one who drives the entire communication, the Berlo’s model of communication takes into account the emotional aspect of the message. Berlo’s model of communication operates on the SMCR model.

In the SMCR model

  • S - Stands for Source
  • M - Message
  • C - Channel
  • R - Receiver
Berlos Model of Communication

Let us now study the all the factors in detail:

S - Source

The source in other words also called the sender is the one from whom the thought originates. He is the one who transfers the information to the receiver after carefully putting his thoughts into words.

How does the source or the sender transfer his information to the recipient ?

It is done with the help of communication skills, Attitude, Knowledge, Social System and Culture.

  • Communication Skills

    An individual must possess excellent communication skills to make his communication effective and create an impact among the listeners. The speaker must know where to take pauses, where to repeat the sentences, how to speak a particular sentence, how to pronounce a word and so on. The speaker must not go on and on. He should also make a point to cross check with the recipients and listen to their queries as well. An individual must take care of his accent while communicating. A bad accent leads to a boring conversation.

  • Attitude

    It is rightly said that if one has the right attitude, the whole world is at his feet. There is actually no stopping for the person if he has the right attitude. A person might be a very good speaker but if he doesn’t have the right attitude, he would never emerge as a winner. The sender must have the right attitude to create a long lasting impression on the listeners. An individual must be an MBA from a reputed institute, but he would be lost in the crowd without the right attitude.

  • Knowledge

    Here knowledge is not related to the educational qualification of the speaker or the number of degrees he has in his portfolio. Knowledge is actually the clarity of the information which the speaker wants to convey to the second party. One must be thorough in what he is speaking with complete in-depth knowledge of the subject. Remember questions can pop up anytime and you have to be ready with your answers. You need to be totally familiar with what you are speaking. Before delivering any speech, read as much you can and prepare the subject completely without ignoring even the smallest detail.

  • Social System

    Imagine a politician delivering a speech where he proposes to construct a temple in a Muslim dominated area. What would be the reaction of the listeners ? They would obviously be not interested. Was there any problem in the communication skills of the leader or he didn’t have the right attitude ? The displeasure of the listeners was simply because the speaker ignored the social set up of the place where he was communicating. He forgot the sentiments, cultural beliefs, religious feelings of the second party. Had it been a Hindu dominated society, his speech would have been very impressive.

  • Culture

    Culture refers to the cultural background of the community or the listeners where the speaker is communicating or delivering his speech.

M - Message

When an individual converts his thoughts into words, a message is created. The process is also called as Encoding.

Any message further comprises of the following elements:

  • Content

    One cannot show his grey matter to others to let him know what he is thinking. A thought has to be put into words and content has to be prepared. Content is actually the matter or the script of the conversation. It is in simpler words, the backbone of any communication.

    Ted to Jenny -“I am really exhausted today, let’s plan for the movie tomorrow evening”.

    Whatever Ted has communicated with Jenny is actually the content of the message. It is very important for the speaker to carefully choose the words and take good care of the content of the speech. The content has to be sensible, accurate, crisp, related to the thought to hit the listeners bang on and create an immediate impact.

  • Element

    It has been observed that speech alone cannot bring a difference in the communication. Keep on constantly speaking and the listeners will definitely lose interest after some time. The speech must be coupled with lots of hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements to capture the attention of the listeners and make the speech impressive. Hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements, gestures all come under the elements of the message.

  • Treatment

    Treatment is actually the way one treats his message and is conveys to the listeners. One must understand the importance of the message and must know how to handle it. If a boss wants to fire any of his employees, he has to be authoritative and can’t express his message in a casual way. This is referred to as the treatment of the message. One must understand how to present his message so that the message is conveyed in the most accurate form.

  • Structure

    A message cannot be expressed in one go. It has to be properly structured in order to convey the message in the most desired form.

  • Code

    Enter a wrong code and the locks will never open. Enter a wrong password, you will not be able to open your email account. In the same way the code has to be correct in the communication. Your body movements, your language, your expressions, your gestures are actually the codes of the message and have to be accurate otherwise the message gets distorted and the recipient will never be able to decode the correct information.

C - Channel

Channel - Channel actually refers to the medium how the information flows from the sender to the receiver.

How does one know what the other person is speaking ? - Through Hearing.

How does one know whether the pasta he has ordered is made in white sauce or not ? - Through Tasting.

How does one know that there is a diversion ahead or it’s a no parking zone? - Through Seeing.

How will an individual come to know that the food is fresh or stale ? How do we find out the fragrance of a perfume ? - Through Smelling.

How will you find out whether the milk is hot or not ? - Through Touching.

All the five senses are the channels which help human beings to communicate with each other.

R - Receiver

When the message reaches the receiver, he tries to understand what the listener actually wants to convey and then responds accordingly. This is also called as decoding.

The receiver should be on the same platform as the speaker for smooth flow of information and better understanding of the message. He should possess good communication skills to understand what the speaker is trying to convey. He should have the right attitude to understand the message in a positive way. His knowledge should also be at par with the listener and must know about the subject. He should also be from the same social and cultural background just like the speaker.

There are several loopholes in the Berlo’s model of communication. According to the berlo’s model of communication, the speaker and the listener must be on a common ground for smooth conversion which is sometimes not practical in the real scenario.



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