Definition – Interactive model of communication is a communication process that refers to the exchange of ideas, messages and information from the sender to the receiver within physical and psychological contexts. The communication process can take place between human beings or machines in a non-verbal or verbal way.
What is the Interactive Model of Communication?
Interactive model of communication is not a linear model of communication or one sender or a one-way process instead is defined as an interactive two-way process of communication as both participants are equally involved in alternate position for encoding and decoding messages. The sender and receiver generate meaning by sending the message and receiving feedback. Here the term feedback refers to the message that is sent by the receiver in response to the one he has received earlier by the sender.
One of the most striking features of the interactive model of communication is the inclusion of the feedback loop. It results in a new understanding of the role from sender to receiver that takes place within the communication process and also talks about encoding and decoding verbal and non-verbal communication. In a linear model of communication, there is one each of message, sender and receiver but the interactive model of communication has two people (the sender and receiver) for a successful exchange of the message.
Interactive models of communication are also referred to as the Convergence Model. It puts more focus on interaction and less on message as it is concerned with the communication as a whole. The model accepts that many messages are sent unintentionally or may not be even be received. The best time to use the interactive model is for new technologies like the web.
The interaction model of communication includes physical and psychological contexts. The physical context refers to the environmental factors like temperature, layout, size and lighting of a place and how it has an impact on the communication. Let me explain it with an example. Candidates looking for a job are often asked to attend interviews at different locations. Suppose it is very hot and the interviewee is wearing a formal suit. The external factors like temperature and humidity will create a sweating an uncomfortable situation that will make his interview experience uncomfortable.
The psychological context refers to the emotional and mental factors like anxiety and stress in the interactive communication process. Let me explain it with an example. A student is set to appear in his final examinations and he comes to know that his grandfather whom he loved very much is extremely ill. This will have an impact on his emotional and mental state and lead to anxiety and stress. Thus he will not be able to utilize his full potential and write his examination paper properly. In both examples, the physical and psychological contexts have created an impact on communication.
Components of the Interactive model
Important components of the Interactive model for effective communication are as follows-
In this component of interactive communication, the source is the person who originally sends the message and the encoder and decoder is the same source or person. The second source is also referred to as encoder and decoder. The source while sending a message will act as an encoder and while receiving it will act as a decoder. The second source in communication will decode the message and again originate another message. It will then encode it and transmit it to the first source. It is the source who is referred to as encoder and decoder when encoding and decoding take place.
The information that is sent and received in the interactive communication process is referred to as message
After the decoder receives the first message it will form a second and this is known as feedback
4. Field of Experience
The field of experience in the interactive communication process refers to the knowledge and experience that the source already has. It has a direct impact on the way the message is formed and how it is interpreted. An example will be how the behaviour, values, psychology and culture will affect a person’s interpretation of the actual message.
Here is a video by Marketing91 on the Interactive Model of Communication.
Examples of the Interactive model
Let us explain this model with interactive communication examples.
Raghav: Everyone is going for the movie today
Anuj: Are you inviting me or just informing me
Raghav: If you want you can come and if not then it is ok
Anuj: I would love to
In the interactive communication process, Raghav is the first source who is sending the message and Anuj the second source who originally is the receiver of the message. Anuj receives, interprets and offers his feedback on the message which is then acknowledged by the first source who becomes the receiver. He now becomes the sender and transmits his message. As the communication progresses it becomes a circular model as message will be passed from one end to another.
The best time to use of interactive model of communication is during communication with machines or humans. Internet is one of the great examples to prove this point. It provides a great opportunity to the receiver who can give feedback even in journals, magazines, books and newspapers.
Other examples of the interactive model will be the computer-human interaction. In this circular model of interaction, the senders are being interchanged every time a message is passed. Primary examples of the computer-human scenario are social media platform, chat rooms, online shopping, ATMs etc.
Criticisms of the Interactive model
The criticisms of interactive models of communication are as follows-
Lack of simultaneous feedback
- The interactive model of communication is an interaction model that is used to a great extent for the web and internet. In such cases, the feedback is slow, indirect and not simultaneous and thus becomes a cause for concern
- Interactive model of communication is not considered a dynamic model as it expects communication to follow the same pattern every time.
- There is sometimes no engagement of the sender and receiver in the interactive communication process