8.3.3  Feedback

Feedback is the mechanism of assessing what has happened to the receivers after the communication has occurred. A communication is said to have feedback when the receiver of the message gives his or her responses back to the sender of the message. The sender must know how well the messages have been received by the receiver and whether they have been understood and acted on. It completes the process of communication.

The effect of feedback is a change in the receiver’s knowledge, attitude and practice or behaviour. There is a positive effect when a desired change in knowledge, attitude or practice occurs, and a negative effect when the desired change does not occur.

  • Think about an occasion when you have been involved in a health message being passed on in your community. Think about what the people receiving the message said to the sender. What sorts of feedback did they give him or her?

  • Feedback comes in all shapes and sizes. Two important types of feedback are approval and questions. If people say how much they have enjoyed the message or event, then the sender will know that they have pitched what they are doing so the audience has enjoyed it — and this is an important element of health communication. If people have asked lots of questions, then it is worth checking are they asking because they want to know more? This is a very good sign that they are engaged. Or is it because they have not understood the presentation?

8.3.2  The rules for selecting channels

8.4  Stages of health communication