Week 1: Model of Communication

Part of:
Context and Communication

Just because communication is inevitable, doesn’t mean that we are all inevitably good at it.

This course is aimed to teach you how to be a better communicator; with a particular focus on deep and difficult conversations. We’ll accomplish this in four parts:

  • Part 1: Model of Communication (you are here)
  • Part 2: Empathic Communication
  • Part 3: Body Language
  • Part 4: Context and Calibration

To begin, we need a model of communication. This will be our map to allow us to break down a complicated, informal, mostly intuitive human activity into smaller pieces that we can then examine to become better communicators. The model we will be using is the Transactional Model of Communication, which is a good model for our purposes of examining two individuals attempting to share meaning.



  • Record and review a conversation. (You may have to get consent to record.) Write a few paragraphs about it. What messages were you sending with your words, your tone of voice, your body language? Did your conversation partner behave the same way you did? How did you express feedback to each other? What were some sources of noise in your conversation? What role did the context play in the conversation?
  • Write a paragraph about a time you were confused while communicating. Where do you think the disconnect happened? “Your strength as a Rationalist is noticing your confusion.”


Discuss the patterns you’ve noticed in your conversations. Do you think having a model of the parts of communication is helpful?


Share a better model for communication, or point out a useful consideration the transactional model doesn’t cover.


On the topic of encoding thoughts to words: Words as Mental Paintbrush Handles

Community Notes

This section contains links and information that Guildmembers found helpful.

No notes available.

Write a Note

You must be signed in to write a note.