Berlo's SMCR Model of Communication

In 1960, David Berlo postulated Berlo's Sender-Message-Channel-Receiver (SMCR) Model of Communication from Shannon Weaver's Model of Communication (1949). He described factors affecting the individual components in the communication making the communication more efficient. This model also focuses on encoding and decoding which happens before sender sends the message and before receiver receives the message respectively.

Components of Berlo's Model of Communication

Berlo's Model has mainly, four components to describe the communication process. They are sender, message, channel and receiver. Each of the component is affected by many factors.

berlo model of communication

S -Sender

Sender is the source of the message or the person who originates the message. The person or source sends the message to the receiver. The following are the factor related to sender and is also the same in the case of receiver:

  • Communication Skills:
    Communication skills of a person is a factor that affects the communication process. If the sender has good communication skills, the message will be communicated better than if the sender's communication skills are not good. Similarly, if the receiver can not grasp the message, then the communication will not be effective. Communication skills include the skills to speak, present, read, write, listening, etc.
  • Attitude:
    The attitude of the sender and the receiver creates the effect of the message. The person's attitude towards self, the receiver and the environment changes the meaning and effect of the message.
  • Knowledge:
    Familiarity with the subject of the message makes the communicated message have its effect more. Knowledge on the subject matter makes the communicator send the message effectively.
  • Social Systems:
    Values, beliefs, laws, rules, religion and many other social factors affect the sender's way of communicating the message. It creates difference in the generation of message. Place and situation also fall under social systems.
  • Culture:
    Cultural differences make messages different. A person from one culture might find something offensive which is very much accepted in another culture.


A message is the substance that is being sent by the sender to the receiver. It might be in the form of voice, audio, text, video or other media. The key factors affecting the message are

  • Content:
    Content is the thing that is in the message. The whole message from beginning to end is the content.
  • Elements:
    Elements are the non verbal things that tag along with the content like gestures, signs, language, etc.
  • Treatment:
    Treatment is the way in which the message is conveyed to the receiver. Treatment also effects the feedback of the receiver.
  • Structure:
    The structure of the message or the way it has been structured or arranged, affects the effectiveness of the message.
  • Code:
    Code is the form in which the message is sent. It might be in the form of language, text, video, etc.


Channel is the medium used to send the message. In mass communication and other forms of communication, technical machines might be used as a channel like telephone, internet, etc. But in general communication, the five senses of a human being is the channel for the communication flow and it affects the effectiveness of the channel.

  • Hearing- We receive the message through hearing.
  • Seeing- We perceive through seeing. We also get non-verbal messages by seeing.
  • Touching- Many of the non-verbal communication happens from touching like holding hands.
  • Smelling- We collect information from smelling.
  • Tasting- Taste also provides the information to be sent as a message.

R- Receiver

Receiver is the person who gets the message sent in the process. This model believes that the thinking pattern and all other factors mentioned above must be in sync to that of the sender for the communication to be effective. The message might not have the same effect as intended if the receiver and sender are not similar. The receiver must also have a very good listening skill. Other factors are similar to that of the sender.

Criticisms of Berlo's SMCR Model:

  • There is no concept of feedback, so the effect is not considered.
  • There is no concept of noise or any kind of barriers in communication process.
  • It is a linear model of communication, there is no two way communication.
  • Both of the people must be similar according to all the factors mentioned above.