Communication Barriers

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Communication is the exchange of information between individuals based on a common system of signals, behaviors and signs. There are many types of communication barriers that prevent the message from being conveyed to the recipient, which diminish the effective exchange of ideas or thoughts and can cause frustration. Barriers to communication can be personal, physical, semantic and cultural.

Personal Barriers

Personal communication barriers are based on the beliefs and outlook of a person. If a person has a negative worldview, for instance, then all communication that occurs will be filtered according to that. If a boss communicates to an employee that he must take care to spell check before handing in a memo, the employee with a negative personal view may receive the construction as negative and become angry or fearful for his job. Bias is another type of personal barrier. For example, if a person is biased against all doctors, she will not receive feedback from a doctor positively and may ignore the doctor's advice. Social class, education and gender are additional types of personal barriers.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers include noise that is independent of the individuals communicating. This creates distraction. Examples of physical barriers to communication include road construction, loud music, texting while conversing, poorly arranged desks and uncomfortable meeting places. Physical barriers also affect written communication; for example, a written letter that is smudged or faded.

How to Overcome Barriers to Effective Communication

Effective communication is both simple and complicated. On the one hand, effective communication is simply a matter of listening respectfully, in the way we would like others to listen to us. On the other hand, we each have our own agenda, which inhibits our ability to fully listen to someone with conflicting objectives. Overcoming barriers to effective communication involves finding common ground...
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