Barriers to effective communication

Business studies study module

Communication is said to be complete only when the recipient gets the message the way the sender intends it to be. When information is not received the way it was intended then it has been distorted. Distortion of a message is brought about some communication barriers which may exists in the path of the message between the sender and the recipient. Some of these barriers are:

  • Language used:the language used the sender should be known (understood) the recipient so that communication can take place
  • Poor Listening: the effectiveness of communication will depend on the willingness of the recipient to listen keenly .listening require careful attention and concentration. It may however be the task of the sender of the message to attempt to gain the attention of the listener. Through his/her choice of words and expression among others.
  •  Negative Attitude: Attitude refers to the feelings of the communicating parties towards each other. It is important that there exists a mutual feeling of trust and respect between the parties concerned in order to avoid bias .If there is mistrust and prejudice then there may be deliberate or unintentional misunderstanding of the message involved.
  • Poor Timing: poor timing leads to breakdown in communication , therefore for effective communication to take place the message must  be sent and received at an appropriate time, eg  a message sent when one is in a hurry may not  be properly received or delivered
  • Wrong medium: the medium used to communicate must be appropriate for the message being conveyed otherwise there may breakdown in communication e.g. one may not convey a confidential message over the telephone effectively
  • Prejudgment: our understanding of the message is often conditional our earlier experiences and knowledge this may make one individual  draw premature conclusion e.g. a student who  always fail in a subject and this time round has improve may be failed the teacher  because he has always failed in the past .
  • VII. Ambiguities: it occurs when the sender express in a manner which leads to wrong interpretation. When the receiver interprets the message differently it automatically leads to communication breakdown.
  • VIII. Emotional responses: emotional responses such as those resulting from hunger or excitement may lead to distortion of message.
  • Unclear System within the organization: if the channels of passing information in an organization are not clear then the message will not get to the right people for whom the messages intended
  • Noise: it refers to any disturbing sounds which interfere with concentration or listening ability of the recipient of the message the presence of noise may make it impossible for any message to be received in the right way.
  • Unfamiliar Non-verbal signals: lack of understanding of non-verbal sign may be a barrier to effective communication.



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