BERLO’S SMCR MODEL OF COMMUNICATION
Traditional models of communication such as ‘Aristotle model of communication’ emphasizes that the speaker is the most important element in communication and further suggests that the speaker is the one who drives the entire communication. This changed when David K. Berlo’s model of communication (published in his book El Proceso de la Comunicación), described four main factors affecting individual’s components in the communication making the communication more efficient. These elements include:
i. the source (S)
ii. the message (M)
iii. the channel (C)
iv. the receiver (R)
Berlo’s model of communication takes into account the emotional aspect of the message. Berlo’s model of communication operates on the SMCR model. This model is an example of linear model of communication.
i. The source (S) 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, that is, selecting means of expression.
The Source is affected by the following factors:
Communication Skills – An individual must possess excellent communication skills to make his communication effective and create an impact among the listeners. He therefore must know where to take pauses, where to repeat the sentences, how to articulate a particular sentence, how to pronounce a word among other skills of communication. 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 -The speaker’s attitude towards the audience, subject and towards him will determine the efficiency of the communication or even its failure. For instance, in a classroom setting – the student has to develop the attitude to learn more and a teacher to want help with teaching.
Knowledge – The knowledge about the subject one is going to communicate. For instance, in case of speech delivery, the speaker must have the knowledge of the subject matter he or she is going to talk about.
Social System – The social system includes the various aspects in the society like values, beliefs, culture, religion and general understanding of the society, for example, classroom differs from country to country like behaviors. Therefore one (speaker) has to understand the social system for effective communication.
Cultural differences make messages different. A person from one culture might find something offensive which is very much accepted in another culture.
ii. The Message (M) is the idea, opinion, emotion or information conveyed by the speaker.
The Message is affected by the following factors:
Content – The beginning to the end of a message comprises its content. Thus the content must be appropriate and relevant for the purpose it is meant for.
Elements – It includes various things like language, gestures, body language etc., so these are all the elements of the particular message. Content is accompanied by some elements.
Treatment – It refers to the packing of the message. The way in which the message is conveyed or the way in which the message is passed on or deliver it.
The structure of the message – This is how it is arranged; the way you structure the message into various parts. For instance, the message may be the same but can be structured different to suit different receivers.
Code – The code of the message means how it is sent in what form it could be e.g. language, body language, gestures, music and even culture is a code. It is through codes that we give or get the message. Since receivers are tasked with decoding the message, improper code are usually misinterpreted or not understood at all. Therefore, it is vital to choose appropriate code of messaging.
iii. C- Channel –This is the medium through which we get the message. This is through our five senses which we use, these are, hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting.
We can give or get information in the following ways:
Hearing -The use of ears to get the message for e.g. oral messages, interpersonal etc.
Seeing -Visual channels for e.g. TV can be seen and the message is delivered.
Touching – The sense of touch can be used as a channel to communicate for e.g. we touch and buy food, hugging etc.
Smelling – Smell also can be a channel to communicate for e.g. perfumes, food, charred smell communicates something is burning, we can find out about which food is being cooked etc.
Tasting -The tongue also can be used to decipher e.g. Food can be tasted and communication can happen.
iv. The Receiver (R) is the one who receives understands, analyze and interprets the message. Also known as the listener, audience or the decoder. According to the Berlo’s model of communication, communication will take place properly if the receiver is on the same level with the speaker. Hence the factors that influence the receiver and the source are the same.
Factor’s affecting the Receiver:
Communication Skills – The receiver should possess good communication skills to be able to understand the message delivered by the source.
Attitudes -The receiver should have the right attitude towards the source, the message and towards himself or herself to be able to grasp the message in positive way.
Knowledge -The receiver must know something about the subject.
Social System -The receiver should be of the same social system as the speaker.
Culture -The receiver must have the same cultural background with the source.
Although seen as a more improved model as compared to its predecessors, Berlo’s model of communication is a linear model of communication which does not look at communication as a two way process. Its shortfall is that it does not consider feedback as an important step in the communication process. It also needs people to be on the same level for communication to occur but not true in real life. In addition, it does not mention communication interference or “noise”. It does not include the barriers of the communication.