Barriers to Communication

This article is a part of Communication Skills piece published earlier.

Barriers to communication happen when the message encoded by the sender is not received in the same mode by the receiver but is distorted.

There are various reasons for barriers to communication. They are –

Preconceived notions – There are few norms which are set by us and we are habitual to it. We carry a certain thought about a person & listen accordingly. We partly listen to the person and get lost in our thoughts. Preconceived notions can be about the person or the topic being discussed. The audience is closed minded and not ready to open up.

Language barrier – Language barrier is caused when the person in communication cannot understand each other language. For example, a technical person talking to an HR person using all technical jargons will lead to miscommunication as the non-technical person will not be able to identify the head or tail of the message. It’s very much necessary that the communicating parties carry the same point of view and are in the same frame of mind, communicate in a language understandable to each other.

Noise – The noise around the office or the working environment can act as a barrier to communication. Outside noise breaks the listening capability of individuals and thus lead to miscommunication.

Knowledge Barrier – Knowledge barrier is caused by differences in the knowledge level of two people communicating with each other. If a knowledgeable person is communicating with a person with less intellect, the communication will not be effective until and unless they talk to each other in the same frame of mind and understand the concept.

Physical Barrier – Physical barrier can be a listening disability or improper health or low voice. A person with the listening disability can overhear and receive wrong information. A person with improper health conditions too face the listening problem as they are not ready to listen and they do very selective listening and discard the rest of the message. If the communicating person is talking in a low voice which is inaudible till the last chair, a barrier is bound to set in as the person hears only half of the spoken stuff. .

Emotional Barrier – Emotional barrier is caused by changing emotions. The way of communication changes with the mood of the person. When we are in a happy mood we communicate differently rather than when we are sad. Inferiority complex or ego can lead to barriers in communication.

Stress – Stress serves as a barrier to communication. If the boss is stressed and communicates to his team to do a certain work. He may leave something due to stress and information overload. This would be disastrous as there is miscommunication.

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