Communication is an integral element in human life. Be it words, texts, gestures, emotions, facial expressions, or sounds, humans living in a society communicate one way or another. A person receiving a letter from Credit Card Company is a communication. A long list of emails in your inbox is a form of communication, even if you don’t reply to them.
However, if you find a discrepancy in your monthly report from your credit card company, you will most likely call customer service and seek an explanation. You and the customer care representative will be exchanging information in real-time. You will be the sender and the receiver of the information simultaneously. In simple words, you are engaging in transactional communication.
Read on to explore the benefits of the transactional model of communication, the factors affecting it, and the challenges faced in transactional communication.
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What is the Transactional Model of Communication?
In the transactional model of communication, there are at least two communicators involved in the process who exchange information in real-time. Participants change roles off and on—sender and receiver at the same time. The communicators can be humans or machines (chatbots).
The transitional communication model can be described as the circular model of communication because all communicators send and receive messages simultaneously. In simpler words, transactional communication is a two-way process, and human beings mostly follow this communication model in their routine life.
In a nutshell, the transactional model of communication involves;
- Two-way, real-time communication.
- Communicators exchange roles both as sender and receiver.
- The communicators can be machines or humans.
- Communicators must listen to each other attentively.
Factors Affecting the Transactional Model of Communication
Just like any other communication model, there are numerous factors that affect transactional communication. Here are the three most common ones;
Cultural context relates to the lifestyle and identity of the person. Cultural context includes elements like gender, nationality, ethnicity, race, class, etc. It is a fact that people sharing the same cultures have better transactional communication with each other than people following different cultures.
Cross-culture transactional communication is usually hampered by biasness and close-mindedness. Factors like cultural beliefs, social upbringing, experiences, mindset, moods, etc., can affect the quality of transactional communication between communicators.
Apart from that, marginalizing other cultures is another common reason behind ineffective transactional communication between people sharing different cultures. People may try to dominate cross-cultural communication or may consider other cultures insignificant, affecting the communication’s effectiveness.
These barriers can be removed only by accepting other cultures with open minds and the willingness to remove such barriers.
Apart from the cultural context, social context is another significant factor in the communication process. People from different cultures make a society that has its own norms, implied or explicit rules, values, and regulations.
Societies also define limits and specific ways of communication, which may restrict people from expressing their selves properly. For example, how to greet someone, apologize, or show gratitude is often defined by social norms.
Human beings automatically pick social norms and values. For example, being respectful to elders is something we have been taught from our childhood. Now, this may restrict a person from arguing or communicating openly with an elder.
Similarly, disagreeing or arguing with teachers, even on solid grounds, is considered unethical in different societies, ultimately affecting the communication process.
However, there is an interesting fact that communication can also shape societal and personal reality. That’s because people often use the hit and trial method in communication, and a successful attempt can reshape the societal norm. For example, trying a new way of greeting someone may receive a positive response in society and become a common practice.
Relational context includes the type of relationship shared by the communicators. It also includes the history between the communicators. For example, the communication between a son and a father will be different from communication between two close friends.
Relational context greatly affects the communication process. It can either make communication easier and clearer or cause great impediments. That said, friendly parents make their kids feel comfortable when sharing anything with them, but strict parents make it difficult for their children to communicate freely.
Similarly, if an employer and employee share a friendly relationship outside their professional roles, it will have a positive impact on their professional communication. The employee will feel more confident and relaxed during formal conversations.
Examples of the Transactional Model of Communication
Here are some daily-life examples of the transactional model of communication.
A person experiences numerous face-to-face communications on a regular basis. For example, communicating or exchanging information with your kids on their way to school is face-to-face communication. Answering the queries from your colleagues in a presentation is also a form of transactional communication.
Telephonic communication is another great example of transactional communication because most of the time, we use telephones to have two-way communication. However, it is important to note that one communicator sharing information with another person on the phone is not transactional communication. Both communicators must involve in sending and receiving information.
Communication between customers and customer care agents is one of the best examples of transactional communication. That’s because both parties engage in two-way communication to solve a problem or provide information on a specific matter.
Benefits of the Transactional Model of Communication
The transactional communication model is highly beneficial in different ways, such as;
- It helps in getting immediate feedback from other communicators.
- Face-to-face communication (a form of transactional communication) helps evaluate the body language and facial expressions to understand the tone, emotions, and feelings in which something is said.
- Depending on the medium of communication, transactional communication is a great way to reduce communication barriers. Telephonic communication is better than communicating through texting, while face-to-face communication is even better because it minimizes communication barriers. Interestingly, all of them are forms of transactional communication.
- Transactional communication is a great way to clarify things and strengthen your social or professional network.
- Transactional communication is also very useful in business scenarios. Common examples include brainstorming sessions, live Q&A sessions, business meetings, customer support service, etc.
Challenges that Transactional Communication Model faces
Transactional communication faces different challenges, such as;
- Cultural, social, and personality barriers. Just as mentioned above, personal biasness and cultural & social norms and values affect the effectiveness of transactional communication.
- Some modes of transactional communication, such as text messaging, phone calls, etc., affect the communication process. That’s because the communicators are unable to see each other’s facial expressions and body language. This may create misunderstandings between the communicators.
- Noise or distortions can also impede smooth communication between different parties. A faulty telephonic line, a noisy or crowded place, and multiple participants speaking simultaneously in business meetings affect the communication process.
- Lack of attention or interest from any of the communicators negatively affects the quality of communication.
- Negative interpersonal relationships also reduce the effectiveness of transactional communication.
The transactional communication model involves real-time communication between the communicators who act as senders and receivers simultaneously. It helps communicators to get instant feedback and properly understand what is being said.
If communicators can minimize communication barriers such as noise pollution, personal biasness, personality differences, and social & cultural differences, then transactional becomes more effective.