A map also models certain aspects of the territory it depicts. In some ways, language is a model of both external reality and of our subjective experience of it. Modeling is a natural process, and we use modelsphysical models, visual models (drawings), and verbal models (language that describes and/or explains)to help understand complex subjects.
Most models of the communication process are based on the Stimulus-Response model of behavioral psychology. A sender has an idea or perception, which he or she encodes into a message. The message is decoded by the receiver who provides feedback. If the communication is successful, it results in the transfer of meaning.
Other researchers, most notably Michael Reddy [see Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 10-11] have pointed out that the words we use to describe communication suggest that we think of ideas as objects, language as a container, and communication as sending the container to another person.
The principal problem with the transmission model of the communication process is that it creates the false impression that effective communication is "simply" a matter of packaging ideas carefully. This is not the case.
When the sender has decided on a meaning, he or she encodes a message, and selects a channel for transmitting the message to a receiver or receivers. The message and the channel become new sensory data for each receiver, who then uses his or her own filters to determine meaning.
The message delivered face-to-face may be interpreted much differently than the same words delivered over the telephone or in writing. For this reason, it is important to remember that the meaning of a message is the response it elicits. How the receiver responds is a much better indicator of what was communicated than what you said or what you think you meant.