Communication Barriers

Communication is a process by which you convey your message to someone or a group of people. And if the message is conveyed clearly and unambiguously, then it is known as effective communication. In effective communication, the message you had send would reach the receiver with very little distortion. However, a communication becomes successful only if the receiver understands what the sender is trying to convey. When your message is not clearly understood you should understand that you are facing a barrier to communication. Barriers to effective communication could cause roadblocks in your professional and personal life and it could be one of the major hurdles in achieving your professional goals.

  • Listening barriers:

Interrupting the speaker
Not maintaining eye contact with the speaker
Rushing the speaker to complete what he/she has to say
Making the speaker feel as though he/she is wasting the listener’s time
Being distracted by something that is not part of the on going communication
Getting ahead of the speaker and completing his/her thoughts
Ignoring the speaker’s requests
Topping the speaker’s story with one’s own set of examples
Forgetting what is being discussed
Asking too many questions, for they sake of probing

  • Barriers while speaking:

Unclear messages
Lack of consistency in the communication process
Incomplete sentences
Not understanding the receiver
Not seeking clarifications while communicating

  • Perceptual and Language Differences

Perception is generally how each individual interprets the world around him. All generally want to receive messages which are significant to them. But any message which is against their values is not accepted. A same event may be taken differently by different individuals. For example : A person is on leave for a month due to personal reasons (family member being critical

The linguistic differences also lead to communication breakdown. Same word may mean different to different individuals

Buzzwords, jargon and slang are very specialized. Using them will always prevent some portion of the potential audience from understanding your message. That includes people who might benefit from your message, if it were presented in a way they understood.

  • Information Overload

Managers are surrounded with a pool of information. It is essential to control this information flow else the information is likely to be misinterpreted or forgotten or overlooked. As a result communication is less effective

  • Time Pressures

Often in organization the targets have to be achieved within a specified time period, the failure of which has adverse consequences. In a haste to meet deadlines, the formal channels of communication are shortened, or messages are partially given, i.e., not completely transferred. Thus sufficient time should be given for effective communication

  • Distraction/Noise

Communication is also affected a lot by noise to distractions. Physical distractions are also there such as, poor lightning, uncomfortable sitting, unhygienic room also affects communication in a meeting. Similarly use of loud speakers interferes with communication

  • Emotions

Emotional state at a particular point of time also affects communication. If the receiver feels that communicator is angry he interprets that the information being sent is very bad. While he takes it differently if the communicator is happy and jovial (in that case the message is interpreted to be good and interesting)

  • Complexity in Organizational Structure

Greater the hierarchy in an organization (i.e. more the number of managerial levels), more is the chances of communication getting destroyed. Only the people at the top level can see the overall picture while the people at low level just have knowledge about their own area and a little knowledge about other areas

  • Poor retention

Human memory cannot function beyond a limit. One cant always retain what is being told specially if he is not interested or not attentive. This leads to communication breakdown

  • Lack of Common Experience

If you are using technical terms or other language your audience does not understand, you will miss the mark. Even an audience that should be sympathetic to you could end up providing negative feedback because you chose to speak only to your own level of knowledge or experience rather than considering theirs.

  • Gender Barrier

It has been demonstrated in studies that women communicate more on a regular basis than men do. Though both sexes have both kinds of communicators, women are more likely to be right-brain communicators — abstract and intuitive. Men are more likely to be left-brain communicators — linear and logical. Depending on your own makeup, this could be a barrier. Both men and women have to learn how to communicate in a way that allows both sexes to receive and understand the message.

  • Lack of Credibility

If it’s evident that you’re speaking strictly from book knowledge, rather than personal experience, or if your audience does not see how what you are saying could possibly be true, this creates a credibility problem. The audience will suspect that you don’t know what you’re talking about. As a sender, you need to make sure that the stories you tell don’t lead the audience to question your credibility and authenticity.

  • The other barriers include:

An individual’s subjective viewpoint towards issues/people, which leads to assumptions.
An emotional block, which can lead to an attitude of indifference, suspicion or hostility towards the subject.
An emotional block or bias that is based on a third party’s view point, or on what you have read/heard.
Words can have different meanings to different people, thus blocking communication.
Use of negative words



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