What Is Two-Way Communication? - Definition, Systems & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is Two-Way Communication?
  • 0:56 Two-Way Communication Systems
  • 2:11 Examples
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Susan Fenner

Susan has an MBA in Management from the University of North Alabama. She teaches online and campus-based Business courses.

When you send information to another person, either face-to-face or through some other means, how do you know that your message was received and understood? Let's take a look at two-way communication and how it is used in the business world.

What Is Two-Way Communication?

'Can you hear me now? How about now?' Who can forget that iconic commercial for wireless phone service where the hapless signal tester is wandering the countryside looking for feedback? His quest for a response to his message is an attempt to engage in two-way communication with the person on the other end. Let's look at a simple model for two-way communication.

Two-way communication is when one person is the sender and they transmit a message to another person, who is the receiver. When the receiver gets the message, they send back a response, acknowledging the message was received. The model looks like this:

Two-way communication model

Two-way communication is essential in the business world. Messages are transmitted between employers, employees, customers, and other stakeholders, and feedback is required to be certain that the message was received and understood.

Two-Way Communication Systems

Many businesses and municipal services rely on two-way communication systems to stay in touch with their employees on site and in the field. Some of the most common examples of two-way communication systems are the radio, telephone, and computer-aided dispatch systems used by police, fire, and emergency response personnel. These systems allow dispatchers and supervisors to keep in touch with individuals and to coordinate the activities of groups of responders.

Two-way communications systems are also routinely used in the construction and building trades, public transportation, the trucking industry, and aviation by commercial and non-commercial pilots, just to name a few.

Two-way communication systems vary greatly in sophistication and special features. They range from simple handheld two-way transceivers that use a single dedicated channel to more complex systems that allow a large number of users to share several channels. The type of system chosen depends on many factors, such as the intended use, the location, the number of users, the frequency band, and the cost of the system. Regardless of the type of system chosen, the one common feature is that all of the components must be compatible and work together to support a common purpose.

Examples

Jack is an on-call service technician for a large medical supply company. At 3:00 a.m., he is awakened to the sound of his BlackBerry signaling an incoming email. The email from the dispatcher alerts him to an emergency call from a local hospital. The anesthesia cart in the operating room is malfunctioning, and there is an operation scheduled for 7 a.m. that morning. Jack sends an email back to the dispatcher letting them know he received the service call, and then he phones the client to get the details and to let them know he's on the way.

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