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Helical Model of Communication

In 1967, Frank Dance has proposed the communication model called Dance’s Helix Model for a better communication process. The name helical comes from “Helix” which means an object having a three-dimensional shape like that of a wire wound uniformly around a cylinder or cone. He shows communication as a dynamic and non-linear process.


Dance’s model emphasized the difficulty of communication. Frank Dance uses the form of a Helix to describe the communication process. He developed this theory based on a simple helix which gets bigger and bigger as it moves or grows. The main characteristics of a helical model of communication is that it is evolutionary.

Frank Dance explains the communication process based on this Helix structure and compares it with communication. In the Helix structure, the bottom or starting is very small then it gradually moves upward in a back and forth circular motion which forms the bigger circle in the top and it is still moves further. The whole process takes some time to reach. As like helix, the communication process starts very slowly and defined small circle only. The communicators shared information only with a small portion of themselves to their relationships. Its gradually develops into next level but which will take some time to reach and expanding its boundaries to the next level. Later the communicators commit more and shared more portions by themselves.


When a child is born the only means of communication for him is crying, he cries for everything like hunger, pain, cold etc.. As the child grows the means of communication become wider and broader. He learns to make noises then he learns a language to obtain attention and to fulfil his needs. As a Helix, the process of communication, in this case, started as crying and later it developed into a complex and compound means.

The Helical model of communication is largely dependent on its past. A child learns to pronounce a word in his elementary classes and throughout his life he uses that word in the same way he learnt. Just like that, we used to react to certain things in a certain way in our childhood and such reactions and habits lasts with us forever. The communication evolves in the beginning in some simple forms then the same process of communication functions and develops based on past activities. Thus, his way of communication or his reactions may also different from the past behavior and experiences. It develops further with modifications according to the situations.

Therefore the model concludes that the process of communication is like a continuous curve with some changes or flexibility. The base of the helical curve (lower level) can be affected and/or altered at any time accordingly the experience of an individual.


Frank Dance included the concept of time in his theory. The lifetime experience gained over the issue will always be based on the similar event/incident happened in the past according to him. This theory of communication was subject to a number of experimental researches. Even though this model of communication clarifies everything there is a problem of oversimplification. According to this theory, a communication process is the product of what we learnt.

{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Lemogang Kebareng August 29, 2013, 9:54 pm

    Good stuff.

  • The conversation corner September 7, 2013, 11:17 am

    Thank for sharing nice Article.

  • Fareeha October 29, 2013, 10:49 pm

    Could there be a better example for this theory?

  • Saydie November 24, 2013, 10:44 am

    Thanks !! it’s a complete info. i needed =)

  • jayram kumar December 1, 2013, 6:51 pm


  • Eightylinda March 27, 2014, 7:18 pm

    Thnks.it realy hlp fr me.

  • Paul June 28, 2014, 11:32 am

    Isn’t this a correct communication model? My professor once told us that communication is a two-way process where there will always be a feedback and there is a need for a recipient for the communication to happen. And in this model, there is only one person involved and there is only one-way process.

  • Eljay L. Caralde July 30, 2014, 3:08 pm

    so interesting

  • Moses Mosaic November 5, 2014, 9:56 pm

    Good stuff, but under which view does it fall? Ritualistic or transmission?

  • line clar real December 4, 2014, 9:18 am

    .,. the article really helps me to understand the assigned topic that my teacher was given to me.

  • line clar real December 4, 2014, 9:20 am

    ., is it a kind of a transactional communication., where in there is a transfer of messages?.,

  • Omundi Ronnie December 7, 2014, 4:57 pm

    Its quite a good and interesting staff however, it is only a one way process

  • Annie B January 27, 2015, 10:48 am

    no, this communication process is not done by one way communication. The actual communication process happens when the feedback is achieved by the recipient/s. In this structure the continuous sociability, acceptability , and expansion achieved through the continuing transmission and transcendental experience reached by the communicator or sender. But the unique specificity of this model is rendered here as the movement towards infinity, means, through cognitive knowledge obtained from environment by gaining sustainable experience.

  • JOHNSTOE KIPRONO January 29, 2015, 5:30 pm

    Is this the same as The Spiral Model of Communication?

  • natasha fatima February 6, 2015, 7:29 pm

    yes it is same

  • raymond t smout March 16, 2016, 9:13 am

    Writing to infinity. Nice

  • Dr. C.N.Archana July 25, 2016, 5:08 pm

    Helical can also be applicable in case of Gossip… with no beginning no end concept. How a gossip is born, evolve, grow bigger and bigger with involvement of more and more people… and how gradually it disappears.

  • john e adriko September 6, 2016, 6:58 pm

    just need to go deeper and get the criticisms of this theory to complete my research

  • joshua September 11, 2016, 7:13 pm


  • joshua September 11, 2016, 7:15 pm

    very useful

  • fred muthuri October 24, 2016, 8:06 pm

    researchers need more detailed information. its true to say that communication acts like a spiral going upwards; but you left behind the people involved in this type of communication. you also dint point out the elements that are involved in this type of a model. in my own words ,i can say that a model is a formulae used by people in communication to air out information.
    recheck the package and give us a detailed one.
    good work.

  • Nada Saleh January 1, 2019, 3:10 pm

    What about the criticism of this model ?

  • Edet Asuquo December 27, 2019, 4:03 pm

    For me, communication generally is a cycle of exchange of meaning not spiral nor linear. communication involves two or more people so there must be a sender and receiver(s) with feedback from the receiver at the end of the cycle which will give rise to new information being sent from the sender or a termination of the cycle.

  • Khaled Alyami January 17, 2020, 7:36 pm

    Thank you …

  • J.H.Daniel March 25, 2020, 3:53 pm

    This theory is just like a spark of a matches that begins to burn gradually before the flaming go viral. Though the attempt is good but make it relates. Thanks.

  • Praveen May 18, 2020, 11:43 am

    Thank u. Could you pls give info about Litterer’s model of communication?

  • UMESH December 23, 2020, 4:01 pm

    This is a realy useful for me

  • Md Hammad March 30, 2021, 12:59 am

    Thanks for this nice article and complete example

  • Bwayo benedict March 30, 2021, 5:35 pm

    Make the info more relevant and it’s characteristics be more visible for better understanging

  • Michael Nomak June 8, 2021, 5:45 pm

    So nice,thanks for the article,finally Got the full information was searching for..

  • Lucille August 29, 2022, 8:08 pm

    It’s really helpful to me ,,thanks!!

  • Rupankan Panigrahi February 4, 2023, 7:50 pm

    Good one

  • James Ocan September 24, 2023, 4:13 am

    Thanks for the article,illustrate more examples

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