Do you ever look back on old conversations you had and go like this?

A man does a face palm and turns away his head because of shame

Interpersonal communication (aka the process of communicating with others) is an essential skill set to have in every environment.

Knowing the 6 elements of interpersonal communication will help you become a better communicator!

🧍 1. Communicators

Interpersonal communication is an interactive, two-way process!

A couple dancing Tango, with the caption:

So, there must always be at least 2 communicators

  • the sender of the message

  • its receiver

💬 2. Message

A message can be communicated verbally or non-verbally.

A woman tries to convince her colleagues:


  • Greetings

  • Conversations

  • Public speeches

  • Phone calls


  • Body language

  • Facial expressions

  • Eye contact

  • Hand gestures

Non-verbal communication can reveal hidden emotions or intentions that aren't obvious in speech.

📺 3. Channel

A channel refers to the method by which the message is sent and received.

Two people talking to one another

Some traditional channels include:

  • face-to-face communication

  • letter writing

While modern channels include:

  • social media

  • online meetings


Ari has gotten into a minor car accident and needs to let her parents know. Which of the following channels would be the most appropriate to share the news?

🖼️ 4. Context

The context in which an interaction takes place will affect the way you communicate and interpret a message.

A flustered woman removing her glasses and asking:

The context may differ based on the:

  • location of the communication

  • backgrounds of the communicators

For example, the way you speak to your boss in the workplace may be different from the way you speak to your friends at a cafe.

🙋 5. Feedback

Feedback is the response of the receiver to the message of the sender.

A woman with glasses and bangs, says:

This helps the sender know whether or not the receiver has gotten the message.

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Waiter: How's the meal? (message)

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Customer: Tastes great! I especially enjoyed the onion soup. (feedback)

🔊 6. Noise

Noise can refer to anything that distorts or interferes with the message, causing a difference between what is sent and received.

A man is frowning while covering his ears to avoid hearing the noise

There are 4 types of noise:

  • physical (ex. overlapping voices, sirens, construction sounds)

  • psychological (ex. anger, happiness, depression)

  • semantic (ex. jargon, language barriers, accents)

  • physiological (ex. visual or hearing impairments, hunger)

🤝 Let's help out Kim!

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Kim is a data analyst. Kim had to make a presentation to her clients, so she tried to impress them with technical terms and lengthy explanations. But all she got were confused faces and clarification requests. What can Kim do next time to improve in terms of noise and context?

A. Consider the non-technical background of her clients

B. Shorten her presentation by omitting important details

C. Use more jargon to teach her clients industry terms

D. Present her findings in simple terms and with visualizations


What can Kim do? Select all that apply.

Take Action

Knowing how the 6 elements of interpersonal communication interact is the first step to becoming a better communicator!

Apply what you’ve learned to improve your interpersonal skills.

A woman sitting on a couch says:


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