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Helix Model of Communication

Prathamesh is a Professional Career Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Platform Skills Trainer who has trained over 2.5k students till date.


Frank Dance proposed the Dance's Helix Model of communication in 1967. The term "helical" comes from the word "helix," which refers to a three-dimensional object such as a wire wound uniformly around a cylinder or cone. According to Frank Dance, Communication is dynamic in nature and a nonlinear process. Helix is compared to the evolution of communication that occurs throughout a person's life, from birth to the moment of existence.

What is this theory about?

This model was created in order to improve the communication process. He came up with this theory based on a basic understanding of how the Helix works. The bottom or beginning of the Helix structure is very small, then it gradually moves upward in a back and forth circular motion, forming the larger circle at the top, and it continues to move further. The entire procedure takes time. Similarly, any communication between strangers begins with a very brief exchange of information. As communication improves, so does the sharing of ideas and knowledge, which progresses to the next level. In a nutshell, Bottom of the Helix is the communication between two strangers. Communication between similar identities who are well versed in each other is at the top of the Helix. From bottom to top, the size of the Helix indicates the sharing of content in communication with one another over time.


Let us use the example of a new born baby to illustrate how the Helix model of communication is basically communication improvisations from the moment of birth to the moment of existence. When a new-born baby cries, it is communicating to his or her parents that the child is alive. The child then cries for a few years whenever he or she requires anything, such as food or attention. As he matures, his communication becomes more complicated. His childhood learnings are reflected in his pronunciations, facial expressions, and word usage.

Bottom of the Helix is the stage where a child cries for anything when compared to the Helix. As a child grows into an adult, the Helix becomes increasingly larger. The spiral widens as the communication becomes more complex. It continues to grow steadily as his life progresses.

His past behaviour and experiences are reflected in his communication. As the person encounters situations in his future life, he or she will change accordingly.

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This model is a simplified communication process based on Frank's theory's concept of time. In the specific instances in which his mind compares and feels the same, every individual communicates as a replica of his previous situational behaviour. However, oversimplification is the problem faced by this model.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Prathamesh Sunil Nadkarni


Azmat Shaikh on August 14, 2021:

Superb and very informative article

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