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Barriers to Effective Communication

Barriers to effective communication.

There are many reasons why interpersonal communications may fail.   In many communications, the message (what is said) may not be received exactly the way the sender intended.  It is very important that the communicator seeks feedback to check that their message is clearly understood.

 

The skills of Active Listening, Clarification and Reflection may help but the skilled communicator also needs to be aware of the barriers to effective communication and how to avoid or overcome them.

 

There are many barriers to communication and these may occur at any stage in the communication process.  Barriers may lead to your message becoming distorted and you therefore risk wasting both time and/or money by causing confusion and misunderstanding.

Effective communication involves overcoming these barriers and conveying a clear and concise message.

 

Common Barriers to Effective Communication:

  • The use of jargon.  Over-complicated, unfamiliar, technical terms or slang.
  • Emotional barriers and taboos.  Some people may find it difficult to express their emotions and some topics may be off-limits or taboo.
  • Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver.
  • Differences in perception and viewpoint.
  • Physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties.
  • Physical barriers to non-verbal communication.  Not being able to see the non-verbal cues, gestures, posture and general body language can make communication less effective.
  • Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents.
  • Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping.  People often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is actually said and jump to incorrect conclusions.
  • Cultural differences.  The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do the way in which emotions are expressed.  For example, the concept of personal space varies between cultures and between different social settings.

 

Please remember these barriers because you will need to know what they are, for the quiz.

 

Xcite™ believes a skilled communicator must be aware of these barriers and try to reduce their impact by continually checking understanding and by offering appropriate feedback.

 

A Categorisation of Barriers to Communication

 

Language Barriers

Clearly, language and linguistic ability may act as a barrier to communication.  However, even when communicating in the same language, the terminology used in a message may act as a barrier if it is not fully understood by the receiver(s).  For example, a message that includes a lot of jargon or slang and abbreviations will not be understood by a receiver who is not familiar with the terminology used.

Regional colloquialisms and expressions may be misinterpreted or even considered offensive.

 

Psychological Barriers

The psychological state of the receiver will influence how the message is received.  For example, if someone has personal worries and is stressed, they may be preoccupied by personal concerns and not as receptive to the message as if they were not stressed.

Stress management is an important personal skill that affects our interpersonal relationships.

Anger is another example of a psychological barrier to communication, when we are angry it is easy to say things that we may later regret and also to misinterpret what others are saying.  More generally people with low self-esteem may be less assertive and therefore may not feel comfortable communicating - they may feel shy about saying how they really feel or read negative sub-texts into messages they hear.

 

Physiological Barriers

Physiological barriers may result from the receiver’s physical state.  For example, a receiver with reduced hearing may not grasp to entirety of a spoken conversation especially if there is significant background noise.

 

Physical Barriers

An example of a physical barrier to communication is geographic distance between the sender and receiver(s).  Communication is generally easier over shorter distances as more communication channels are available and less technology is required.  Although modern technology often serves to reduce the impact of physical barriers, the advantages and disadvantages of each communication channel should be understood so that an appropriate channel can be used to overcome the physical barriers.

 

Systematic Barriers

Systematic barriers to communication may exist in structures and organisations where there are inefficient or inappropriate information systems and communication channels, or where there is a lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities for communication.  In such organisations, individuals may be unclear of their role in the communication process and therefore not know what is expected of them.

 

Attitudinal Barriers

Attitudinal barriers are behaviours or perceptions that prevent people from communicating effectively.  Attitudinal barriers to communication may result from personality conflicts, poor management, resistance to change or a lack of motivation.  Effective receivers of messages should attempt to overcome their own attitudinal barriers to facilitate effective communication.

 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about barriers to effective communication.

 

Xcite™hopes you can take something away from this lesson and apply it in your life.

 

 

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Contact Info

24 Degas Street

Brisbane QLD

Australia

1300 789 737

sales@xciteadvertising.com.au

Mon - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

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