The Transactional Model of Communication

Estimated read time 7 min read

Have you ever heard of the transactional model of communication? It is an important tool for understanding how people interact with each other, both in terms of verbal and nonverbal communication.

In this blog post, we will discuss what the transactional model of communication is and how it works. We will look at how it applies to both face-to-face and online interactions, as well as how it can help us better understand the communication process.

So keep reading to learn more about the transactional model of communication and its uses.

What is The Transactional Model of Communication?

The Transactional Model of Communication is an interpersonal communication model which suggests that communication is a continual process in which individuals alternate between sending and receiving messages. Psychologist Wilbur Schramm first proposed it in 1954, and it is based on the idea that communication is an exchange of messages between two or more people.

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This model emphasizes the interactive nature of communication and highlights how both parties involved in the conversation are affected by the messages sent and received. It also suggests that the effectiveness of communication depends on how both parties respond to each other’s messages.

How Does The Transactional Model of Communication Work?

The transactional model of communication is a process that involves two or more individuals exchanging messages with the purpose of creating understanding. In this model, the parties involved in the communication act as both senders and receivers at different times, creating an exchange of messages. This exchange takes place in a cyclical manner, meaning that the sender’s message will affect the receiver and vice versa.

The transactional model of communication is composed of three components: content, context, and channel.

  1. Content: Content refers to the actual message being communicated.
  2. Context: Context is the physical and psychological environment in which communication takes place.
  3. Channel: channel is the method used to send the message (verbal, non-verbal, written, etc.).

These components interact with each other to create the conversation.

For example, when two people are having a conversation, they must take into account all three components in order to effectively communicate. The content of their conversation (i.e., what they are saying) will be affected by the context (i.e., where they are having the conversation, how well they know each other, etc.) and the channel (i.e., if they are speaking face-to-face or over the phone).

The same holds true for any type of communication. All three components must be taken into consideration in order to communicate and create understanding between parties effectively.

Find the Best 5 Elements of The Transactional Communication Model

This model views communication as a dynamic, circular exchange between sender and receiver. The 5 main components of the transactional model are;

  1. Communicator: The communicator is the person who is sending you the message or calling you.
  2. Message: This is the content of the communication. It could be verbal, written, or nonverbal.
  3. Channel: This is the method or medium through which the message is transmitted. Examples include email, telephone, face-to-face conversation, etc.
  4. Receiver: This is the person or group of people receiving the message.
  5. Context: This is the environment in which communication takes place. It includes the cultural, physical, and emotional factors that affect how messages are received and interpreted.

By understanding each of these components of the transactional model, we can gain a better understanding of how communication works and how to create effective communication strategies for any situation.

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Factors Affecting Transactional Model

The Transactional Model of Communication is a two-way, interactive process where both the sender and receiver are actively engaged in the communication process. As such, there are several factors that can affect the effectiveness of this model.


The context of communication has a significant impact on how it is interpreted. A message that may be seen as funny or entertaining in one context may be seen as offensive in another. It is important to take into account the environment in which a message is being sent and received when using the Transactional Model.

Interpersonal Relationships

The relationship between the sender and receiver of a message has a major effect on how well the message is understood. If there is a strong level of trust and respect between the two parties, then it will be easier for the receiver to accurately interpret the sender’s message.


Perceptions can also have a large effect on communication using the Transactional Model. Different people will interpret messages differently depending on their own values, beliefs, and life experiences.

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It is important to take into account these individual differences when communicating with others.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Transactional Model of Communication

The Transactional Model of Communication has some major advantages over other communication models. It is highly effective in complex communication situations, as it allows for multiple messages to be sent and received simultaneously. Additionally, the model allows for feedback from the receiver so that the sender can adjust the message accordingly. It also encourages a more open dialogue between parties, as each person can express their own thoughts, feelings, and reactions.

Despite these advantages, the transactional model of communication also has its disadvantages. As with any type of communication, there is a potential for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of messages. Additionally, the model requires both parties to be actively engaged in the conversation. Without both sides being willing to listen and respond, communication can become muddled and ineffective. Finally, this model relies heavily on nonverbal cues, which are often difficult to interpret accurately.

Overall, the transactional model of communication has many advantages, but also comes with certain risks. As long as both sides are open and willing to communicate, it can be a powerful tool for effectively communicating complex messages. However, if there is a lack of understanding or willingness to engage, then it can lead to ineffective communication and confusion.


The transactional model of communication is a useful tool to help us understand the complexities of how messages are transmitted, received, and interpreted in our everyday interactions. It provides an understanding of how context and perception affect the way messages are understood.

This model helps to explain why we often interpret the same message in different ways and why misunderstandings can occur.

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Q: What is the purpose of the transactional model of communication?

Ans: The transactional model of communication is used to explain how communication works between two or more people. It is based on the idea that communication involves both sending and receiving messages, and that all parties involved have a role to play in understanding the communication process.

Q: How does the transactional model of communication differ from other models?

Ans: The transactional model of communication differs from other models of communication in that it focuses on the interaction between the parties involved rather than just the sender or receiver of the message. In this model, both parties are seen as equally responsible for understanding and interpreting the message.

Q: How does noise affect the transactional model of communication?

Ans: Noise is any external factor that interferes with the successful transmission and reception of a message. Noise can take many forms, including physical, psychological, or technological obstacles. In the transactional model of communication, noise can prevent a message from being understood, leading to miscommunication or misunderstanding.

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