Barriers To Communication

Barriers of Communication

Table of Contents:-

  • Introduction to Barriers of Communication
  • Impact of Communication Barriers on Managerial Success
  • Major Barriers of communication
  • Tips to Overcome Barriers of Communication

Introduction to Barriers of Communication

Communication is the means through which individuals achieve understanding and experience meaning. However, there may be some barriers of communication systems that prevent the message from reaching the receiver correctly. 

Communication is the process by which meaning is perceived and an understanding of the message is reached. It is the exchange of ideas, information and factors between the sender and receiver. Not all communications are effective; they become ineffective when there is a delay in transmission or distortion in the meaning of the message.

The barriers of communication, arising from the message losing its original form, are referred to as communication barriers between the sender and receiver. Ineffectiveness arises from barriers within the communication systems that hinder the message from reaching the receiver. These barriers impact the design of the message (including form, style, meaning, and order) and its transmission (considering the time of delivery and message interpretation). Transmission-related barriers to communication can detrimentally affect the message in various ways. At times, the damage is so extensive that it completely alters the form of the message, leading to unfavourable outcomes.

If the information sent by the sender reaches the receiver exactly in the same form as intended, it is considered successful communication. However, achieving this outcome is not always possible. If the sender’s message does not reach the receiver as intended, there must be some hindrance or barrier. Communication barriers can lead to message distortion, preventing the true spirit of the message from being conveyed to the receiver. This distortion undermines the basic purpose of communication.

Impact of Communication Barriers on Managerial Success

Communication barriers in the way of transmission harm the message in many ways. At times, the damage is so extensive that it completely alters the form of the message, resulting in unfavourable outcomes.

There has been a lot of improvement in the communication network in recent times, but there is still much space for enhancement. Communication barriers that exist distort the message and directly hinder the success of managers in the performance of their functions. Poorly communicated messages create misunderstanding and friction and adversely affect employee morale.

A large number of managerial problems are the result of incorrect communication. Good communication requires anticipating and overcoming barriers. Barriers to communication range from a bad microphone to an emotional attitude that prevents the recipient from fully understanding the intended message. (E.g., a child unwilling to pay attention to a reason until his demand is met).

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Major Barriers of communication

We will discuss major barriers of communication, which are listed below:

Language barriers

The inability to communicate effectively in a language known to both the sender and receiver is a major barrier to effective communication. If a person uses inappropriate words while conversing or writing, it could lead to misunderstanding between the sender and the receiver. Different vocabulary, languages, accents and dialects represents national/regional barriers.

Semantic barriers

Semantics is the study of how words convey their meaning. The semantic gap is words with similar pronunciation but multiple meanings. Inappropriate, difficult wording, and poorly explained or misunderstood messages can be confusing. In business life, to deal with realistic situations, semantic barriers arise from the inability to read the recipient’s mind. If the sender knows the recipient’s level of understanding, fine. If not, it’s an obstacle. A good communicator tries to remove all kinds of ambiguity and misrepresentations of words. A good communicator tries to read the words between the lines.

Cultural barriers

Cultural barriers arise as a result of a misunderstanding caused by cultural differences between sender and receiver. These differences can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations that can hinder effective communication. It can be the reason for outright conflict, but more often, it creates stress in the workplace.  

Cultural barriers usually exist between religions, countries, castes, colours, etc. Age, gender, education, social status, economic position, cultural background, temperament, health, beauty, popularity, religion, political belief, ethics, values, motives, assumptions, aspirations, rules/regulations, standards, and priorities can separate one person from another and create a barrier.

Individual barriers

These barriers may arise due to an individual’s perceptual and personal discomfort.  Even when two persons have experienced the same event, their mental perception may or may not be identical which acts as a barrier. Individual barriers to effective communication include Style, selective perception, halo effect, selective perception, poor attention and retention, closed-mindedness, defensiveness and insufficient filtration. These barriers can hinder effective communication, exchange of information, ideas and collaboration within an organization or a team. 

Organisational barriers

Factors such as poor organisational culture, climate, stringent rules, regulations, status, relationships, complexity and inadequate facilities or opportunities for growth and improvement within the organization cause organizational barriers. The nature of the internal and external environment like poor lighting, large working areas, physically separated places from other areas, staff shortage, outdated equipment and background noise are physical organisational barriers that hamper communication in an organisation.

Good communication is essential in every workplace. However, it can face challenges when dealing with superior-subordinate relationships, where the free flow of communication is not possible. This barrier can hinder effective communication in any workplace. The complexity of the organizational structure and multiple managers make it difficult to convey information properly. As a result, distorted information leads to miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Physical barriers

One of the major barriers of communication in the workplace affects both verbal and non-verbal communication. Large work areas within an organization may physically separate from others by additional spaces, manifesting as physical barriers. Other distractions that could cause a physical barrier in an organisation environment are noise, design problems, technical problems, or background noise.

Attitudinal barriers

Attitudinal barriers can arise due to a variety of factors, such as overconfidence, poor management, lack of motivation, and behavioural problems of the people. Limitations in physical and mental ability, intelligence, understanding, preconceived notions and distrusted sources divide attention and create a barrier that hinders people’s opinions and attitudes. 

Emotional Barriers

Emotional barriers can impact a person’s ability to communicate with ease and comfort. This barrier arises due to a lack of emotional intelligence, which can hinder one’s understanding and respect for the emotions of others. To effectively communicate, it is important to overcome emotional barriers and develop the necessary skills to navigate emotional complexities.

Barriers To Communication

Gender Barriers

Gender barriers represent differences in how men and women behave, including various choices and decision-making styles. Women, for instance, often prefer discussing problems verbally. Overcoming gender barriers is essential for maintaining equality in the workspace.

Fear of Mistakes

Mistakes are a natural part of the process of communication. Practice is the best way to reduce errors; we can engage in exercises to improve our communication skills. We should always try to learn from our own mistakes.

For example, if we send an email with some mistakes, there’s no need to fear. Instead, rewrite the email with a message like, “Sorry for the mistake. Please ignore the previous email and consider the revised version below.” In the given example, the email can be rewritten.

Perceptual Barriers

Perceptual barriers are barriers that hinder a person from making accurate predictions about others, often influenced by expectations. It depends on how we analyze the things around us to perceive information accurately. The best way to overcome such barriers is to seek positive solutions.

Lack of Focus and Eye Contact

A lack of focus and eye contact may result in a loss of interest from listeners or the audience. This lack of focus can be attributed to various factors, such as alcohol, improper sleep, stress, long working hours, etc.

Tips to Overcome Barriers of Communication

The tips to overcome the barriers of communication are given below:

1. Be mindful of tone, language, and pitch

While communicating a person should ensure that his voice is audible to the listener and does not cause harm to the feelings of other users. A person should try to maintain a courteous and respectful approach in verbal interactions. This involves being mindful of the choice of words, one’s tone and overall behaviour. It promotes a positive and constructive atmosphere during the communication.

2. Try to make the content attractive

To ensure effective communication, content should be clear, precise, and free from excessive technical or difficult words. It should also avoid overly brief paragraphs. The content should be appealing and pleasant. Additionally, it is important to check for grammar, spelling, and errors in both verbal and written communication.

3. Suitable time

A person should always check whether the current time is suitable for communication or not. Talking to a sad or uninterested person may not result in effective two-way communication, as the other person might not respond appropriately.

4. Focus on listening skills

Listening skills are essential for both the sender and the listener. A person should always try to communicate with a positive attitude, patience, clarity, and attention. Good listening skills also help listeners extract maximum information from the content or message.

5. Look for feedback

Communication is a two-way process. A person should ensure that the receiver has properly understood the message provided by us. In face-to-face communication, facial expressions can easily depict whether the receiver has correctly interpreted the message or not. However, in other types of communication, they should always try to seek feedback.

6. Maintain eye contact

Proper eye contact refers to maintaining a balanced and suitable level of eye connection during a conversation. It means looking directly into the eyes of the other person while communicating, without staring or avoiding eye contact.

Proper eye contact reflects a person’s interest and attention towards others. It is one of the essential skills for effective communication. It shows the interest, engagement, and attentiveness of a person contributing to a more meaningful and successful exchange of information.

7. Work on body language

Sitting and standing positions depict a person’s positive attitude and interest in communication. Therefore, individuals should sit and stand straight without unnecessary hand movements, and they should avoid slumping their shoulders during communication. Body language, posture, and facial expressions are essential parts of the communication process. Individuals should know how to control their body language.

8. Avoid distractions

Communication is more effective with fewer or no distractions. Individuals should not focus on people passing nearby, opening and closing doors, or other people talking on mobile phones, etc. Such distractions can affect our attention and presence in the conversation.

9. Practice verbal communication skills

If someone lacks confidence in speaking in public, they can practice beforehand. Taking speech classes is an effective way to improve verbal communication.

10. Avoid working under pressure

Immense work pressure can adversely affect individual performance. A person should try to manage their workload from the beginning so that they can effectively handle both work and communication. This will help them manage tasks without feeling pressured in the end.

11. Focus on our weaknesses

Effective communication involves managing every aspect, whether formal or informal. A person should consistently work on his weaknesses. Seeking suggestions can also help identify areas for improvement in their communication.

12. Identify and eliminate the source of noise

Noise is a barrier in the communication process that causes a disturbance, leading to problems in the effective transmission of a message. People need to overcome these sources to avoid disturbance, ensuring that the intended message reaches the receiver without distortion. It is essential to identify the factors causing interference and should try to remove such sources of noise to improve the clarity of the message.

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