Many people think communication is easy. It is said that communication can never be one hundred percent complete. Many factors are involved in the communication process and something can always go wrong with one or more of them. It becomes difficult and complex when we put barriers in communication. Recognize barriers to interpersonal communication and examine specific strategies to overcome these barriers.
What do we mean by communication barriers?
The communication process is successful only when the recipient understands the message as intended by the sender. It sounds simple enough, but the sender often thinks they’ve delivered a clear message, only to learn later that the intentions have been totally misunderstood. Many messages we send reach their destination, but many are only partially understood.
The word “barrier” generally has the meaning of an obstacle at different levels. It can be a physical wall or fence, as well as a mental wall or obstruction that impedes thoughts and perceptions. You can improve your chances of communicating successfully by learning to recognize obstacles that are known to disrupt the communication process. The biggest barriers for individuals are circumvention, different frames of reference, lack of language skills, and distractions.
Common Barriers to Communication
You can improve your chances of communicating successfully by learning to recognize obstacles that are known to disrupt the communication process. The most significant barriers for individuals are explained below:
Physical barriers include designated areas where outsiders are not permitted, such as offices with electronic doors that can be opened by access cards. Senior leaders could be seated in separate areas/rooms designed for people of different status. Your organization may have physical access restrictions to a work unit that is physically separated from other such areas. The use of inappropriate channels or media, such as sending long messages over the phone or detailed verbal messages, is also a barrier. The receiver may forget or become confused. Always be clear and precise.
Perceptual barriers are individual ways of perceiving or looking at things around us. In the process of perceiving things, we select information, organize it, and then interpret it in our own way. It can also be a barrier to communication.
Emotional barriers are our fears, mistrust, apprehensions and suspicions of others. We did not often hear in our childhood that children should be seen and not heard, or question or retaliate at elders. As a result, many people hold back from communicating their thoughts and feelings. Psychological factors or personal issues can also hinder communication. Anger, hatred, jealousy, serious worry, grief could influence people’s judgment and prevent them from thinking rightly. Therefore, during labor, avoid these negative feelings.
Cultural barriers cause miscommunication due to the presence of various cultures, each with their own expressions and behaviors. With global communication, it has become common to adopt global etiquette, for example, it is considered rude to burp after a meal, especially in public.
Language barriers occur when we communicate with people who don’t know our expressions, slang or jargon. As extraordinary as the idea is, it will not be understood or fully appreciated unless the communicators involved have good language skills. Each individual needs adequate vocabulary, a command of basic punctuation and grammar, and speaking and writing skills. For example, Indians do not always understand British or American English idioms.
One of the biggest obstacles to clear communication involves words. Each of us attaches a small bundle of meanings to each word, and these meanings are not always similar. Circumvention occurs when people miss each other with their meanings. Circumvention can lead to major miscommunication because people assume that meanings are contained in words. In fact, the meanings are in the people. For communication to be successful, both receiver and sender must attach the same symbolic meanings to their words. Many words in English and other languages have different meanings depending on the context of what is being said. You must be careful not to use words that may confuse the recipient’s mind. Use simple, easy-to-understand words.
Another obstacle to clear communication is your frame of reference. Everything you see and feel in the world translates into your individual frame of reference. Your unique frame is formed by a combination of your experiences, upbringing, culture, expectations, personality, and other elements. As a result, you bring your own biases and expectations to any communication situation. Because your frame of reference is different from that of others, you will never see things exactly like other people.
Distractions as a barrier
Other barriers include emotional interference, physical distractions, and digital interruptions. Crafting an intelligent message is difficult when you feel joy, fear, resentment, hostility, sadness, or some other strong emotion. To reduce the influence of emotions on communication, senders and receivers should focus on the content of the message and try to remain objective. Physical distractions such as faulty acoustics, noisy surroundings, or poor cell phone connection can interfere with oral communication. Likewise, sloppy appearance, poor printing, careless formatting, and typos or spelling errors can disrupt written messages. Also, the technology doesn’t seem to help. Knowledge workers are distracted by multitasking, digital and information overload, conflicting demands, and constant digital availability. Clear communication requires focusing on what’s important and avoiding interruptions.
Preconceived ideas and stereotypes
Human nature being what it is, people often have biases and prejudices. It’s evident in the way they communicate. It acts as a barrier and interferes with your communication. Sometimes you prejudge people before they speak, allowing your opinions and ideas to interfere with what they are trying to say. Stereotypes put people into blocks and form opinions about them. For example, tourists want drugs; Businessmen are crooks; Workers create trouble, politicians are shrewd; Youth is irresponsible. Adopt a positive approach to people and what they say, and avoid these preconceptions.
Poor listening skills
Poor listening skills can prevent us from hearing spoken messages clearly and therefore from responding correctly. Listening means understanding the speaker, not just hearing their words. So listen to what is being said. In fact, one of the traps people are prone to is mental dissipation or wandering of the subconscious mind. The only way to overcome this kind of mind wandering is to make an effort to listen carefully. In addition, not being able to arouse the interest of the listener due to the lack of involvement of the listener in the subject is another obstacle.
Weak verbal skills
It’s like speaking too quickly or too slowly, too loudly or too softly or keeping a monotonous tone of voice. Often you are unable to articulate properly because your lips and facial muscles are tight. To be an effective speaker, your lips, facial muscles, and joint organs must all be flexible. Sometimes the sender may confuse the message by speaking without thinking what he really means. This may confuse the receiver. The speaker is sometimes unconvinced by the topic or unsure of the facts or purpose of the occasion. In fact, in this industry, like perhaps most jobs, you need to know the rules and procedures and be able to explain and justify them. Sometimes you may feel that certain rules are broken by a guest in a hotel for example. How would you handle this situation? A certain degree of firmness and professionalism must be used in dealing with such matters. In fact, you can be both polite and firm at the same time.
In order to avoid these pitfalls, there are several things like learning to like communicating with others. Work on improving your balance and confidence and remember that communication skills need to be constantly developed and you continue to learn through experience and interaction. Your goal should be to effectively communicate your ideas in a clear, confident, creative, interesting and persuasive way.
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Creation date Tuesday, October 6, 2020 Views 4971