BASICS OF COMMUNICATION (4/4)

MODULE: 4

Barriers of Communication

Communication plays a major role in developing a relationship. It can also affect the relationship among the members of a family or management in any institute. Communication influences the effectiveness of instruction, performance evaluation, and the tackling of problems related to discipline. Communication should be always straightforward. There are certain barriers that make it complex, difficult and frustrating. Some barriers of communication are:

  1. Physiological barrier — Physiological barriers to communication are related to the limitations of the human body and the human mind (memory, attention and perception) resulting from individuals’ personal discomfort, due to ill health, poor eye sight or hearing difficulties.
  2. Poor listening skills — Listening to another person id a difficult task. A typical speaker utters about 125 words per minute; a typical listener can receive 400-600 words in a minute. Thus about three fourth of listening time is free time which often side tracks the listener.
  3. Information overload — We are surrounded by a wealth of information. It is essential to stem the flow of information or else it is likely to be misinterpreted or forgotten or overlooked. Consequently, communication may get distorted.
  4. Inattention — At times we do not listen but only hear. For example, if you talk to a person who is absorbed in his work, he will not pay any attention to you; he will only hear you and may not get what you are talking about.
  5. Psychological barrier — Psychological factors such as distrust, unhappy emotions and misconception can jeopardize the process of communication. If a person has personal problems such as worries and stress about a chronic illness, it may impinge on his/her communication with others.
  6. Emotions — The emotional state of a person at a particular point of time affects his/her communication with others as it has an impact on the body language (non-verbal communication). Our emotional state causes physiological changes in our body that may affect the pronunciation, pressure of the speech and tone of the voice of the sender as well as the perception, thinking process and interpretation of information of the receiver during verbal communication.
  7. Poor retention — Human memory cannot function beyond the limit. We cannot always retain all the facts/ information about what is told to us, especially if we are not interested or not attentive.
  8. Physical and environmental distraction — Physical things like the telephone, excessively hot or cold work places, bright lights, glare on computer screens, and loud noises can stand in the way of effective communication.
  9. Social Barriers — Include the social psychological phenomenon of conformity in which the norms, values and behaviour of an individual follow those of the wider group. Social factors such as age, gender, socio economic status and marital status also act as barriers to communication in certain situation.
  10. Cultural barriers — Cultural barriers to communication often arise when individuals in one social group develop different norms, values or behaviour to individuals associated with another group. Cultural difference leads to difference in interests, knowledge, values and tradition. So, these cultural factors are barriers to communication.
  11. Semantic barriers — Language, slang, jargon etc. are some of the semantic barriers.
  12. Linguistic barriers — The use of difficult or inappropriate words in communication can prevent people from understanding the message. Linguistic differences between people can also hinder communication.
  13. Technological failure — Messages not delivered due to technological failure – if the receiver is not in mobile network area and the sender has not activated delivery report in message setting.
  14. Unclear messages — In terms of meaning, grammar and words may act as a barrier to communication.

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