Communication is the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. Derived from the Latin word "communis", meaning to share. Communication requires a sender, a message, and a recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication. Thus, communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender.
All communications, intentional or unintentional, have some effect. This effect may not be always in communicator's favor or as desired by him or her. Communication that produces the desired effect or result is effective communication. It results in what the communicator wants. Effective communication generates the desired effect, maintains effect & increases effect. Effective communication serves its purpose for which it was planned or designed. The purpose could be to generate action, inform, create understanding or communicate a certain idea/point etc. Effective communication also ensures that message distortion does not take place during the communication process.
Barriers to Effective Communication
Communication is the key factor in the success of any organization. When it comes to effective communication, there are certain barriers that every organization faces. People often feel that communication is as easy and simple as it sounds. No doubt, but what makes it complex, difficult and frustrating are the barriers that come in its way.
There also can be a lack of determining "knowledge appropriate" communication, as when someone uses ambiguous legal words, or medical jargon, when speaking with another person that lacks understanding in these areas. Effective communication can be achieved only when the words used are brought to a common level of understanding for both parties.
Some of these barriers are mentioned below :-
Physical barriers are often due to the nature of the environment. Thus, for example, the natural barrier which exists, if staff are located in different buildings or on different sites. Likewise, poor or outdated equipment, particularly the failure of management to introduce new technology, may also cause problems. Staff shortages are another factor which frequently causes communication difficulties for an organization.
System design faults refer to problems with the structures or systems in place in an organization. Examples might include an organizational structure which is unclear and therefore makes it confusing to know who to communicate with. Other examples could be inefficient or inappropriate information systems, a lack of supervision or training, and a lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities which can lead to staff being uncertain about what is expected of them.
Attitudinal barriers come about as a result of problems with staff in an organization. These may be brought about, for example, by such factors as poor management, lack of consultation with employees, personality conflicts which can result in people delaying or refusing to communicate, the personal attitudes of individual employees which may be due to lack of motivation or dissatisfaction at work, brought about by insufficient training to enable them to carry out particular tasks, or just resistance to change due to entrenched attitudes and ideas.
Ambiguity of Words/Phrases
Words sounding the same but having different meaning can convey a different meaning altogether. Hence the communicator must ensure that the receiver receives the same meaning. It would be better if such words can be avoided by using alternatives.
Individual Linguistic Ability
The use of jargon, difficult or inappropriate words in communication can prevent people from understanding the message....
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