MATRIC NUMBER: SMS/007/5722
COURSE CODE: HCM 435
COURSE TITLE: TEXT AND MUSIC
LECTURER: PROFESSOR OYELEYE
20TH FEBRUARY, 2011
Discuss some of the barriers of effective communication.
THE IDEA OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
Over centuries, wars, conflicts, battles have been kicked off because of misunderstanding from both parties. Either someone has not effectively communicated the idea behind a concept to the other, or two ideas are at loggerheads for a main goal and the two ends of the parties cannot reach a successful consensus as to what it really needed. This is why effective communication is the process whereby message transferred from one person to another successfully reaches the receiver and it is properly decoded in the manner intended by the sender. Also, in the case of an organization, Bernard (1960) puts it that it is the cohesive bond between members of an organization which when properly understood and used can lead to peaceful and harmonious interpersonal relationship or cooperation among members. In other words, this simply means the right message to the right person, through the right channel, decoded into the intended meaning. Effective communication is imperative for thriving interpersonal relationship between people, either in an organization or in the society at large. Most of the time, effective communication can help rid traces of conflict. Ascertaining the idea of effective communication, it does not only refer to the transfer of messages from the sender to the receiver but the successful transfer of intended meaning through intended channel to the intended receiver with envisaged feedbacks.
BARRIERS OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
Quite a number of things may be responsible for successful hindering of effective communication flow between two or more parties. However, certain factors may stir up, consequently hindering effective communication flow. In a single word, this is known as NOISE. This is evident in the communication model below: SenderMessage Channel Receiver
NOISE NOISE is any unwanted feature that may consciously, unconsciously, knowingly, unknowingly or calculatedly creep into a particular communication flow, thus causing distortion or break in the transfer of meaning from the encoder to the decoder. Moreover, the proper assessment of the kinds of noise that we have will help in our valuation of the various barriers of effective communication. There are various factors responsible for noise; ranging from physical, cultural, psychological, semantic, or linguistic.
Semantic barriers to effective communication describe the analysis of the kind of meaning passed during a communication flow. This may not only be limited to verbal expressions, i.e. written and spoken words, but also signs and symbols pregnant with meaning. Some of the barriers that fall under this thought include: I. Vocabulary Barriers
This may arise from transmission of equivocal and ambiguous piece of information, as well as adoption of difficult and uncommon technical mumbo jumbo to communicate a simple idea. This can lead to ineffective communication as the receiver will instantly have the problem of navigating through the barrage of incomprehensible words, consequently leading to loss of information which may be as a result of the receiver discarding vital parts of the information received because of incomprehensibility. Also, the problem of interpretation can prevent the receiver not only from understanding the message intended or the precise meaning of the message gotten but also from responding appropriately to the information passed across. This tells greatly on the feedback of the receiver, which may be noticed through constant unsure nudging of the head or a look of uncertainty on the face of the receiver. In the case of an organization, this may be noticed through subordinates consulting themselves for possible meanings others made out of the ambiguous message. A speech filled with ambiguous words will have its audience dozing, or having divided attention, which is a great barrier to successful transfer of information. II. Linguistic Difference
Apart from differences in religious and ethnic inclinations, difference in linguistics can serve as a barrier in two main areas: firstly, each language has different compositions and expressions; what is mentioned simply in a language can mean something else in another language, which leaves us to face the barrier of the sender being able to interpret a particular thought in the manner that the sender will understand. Secondly, the knowledge and language base of the receiver may be lower than that of the sender, as a result making the message-processing pace of the receiver slow.
Different psychological states may also be a barrier to effective communication. This refers to the particular state of mind of both the sender and the receiver. A tired, sorrowful receiver will not decode messages from a motivated sender, especially when it concerns organizational duties. In the same vein, Haralanbos and Holborn’s Sociological explanations about the human mind has made us understand the fact that the human mind can be affected by a number of things happening around him, and at the same time, what is happening in the human mind can affect what is happening around him. So automatically, dissemination of information about playing golf for money to a dull receiver who just lost his mother will have no effect and yield no encouraging feedback.
ASSOCIATION DIFFERENCE FACTORS
I. Ethnic/Cultural Differences
Differences in cultural backgrounds is another factor to be considered in discussing barriers of effective communication. Ogunbameru (2002)’s sociological explanation of the origin of most misunderstandings and conflict starts from traceable difference in cultural or ethnic inclinations. Parties of different cultural origins will have different fashion adoptions, different natural mind-sets, and with the advent of the information technology, if they peradventure speak the same language, the difference in accents will linger, which is already communicating a fact to the receiver even before the intended message is passed. An Arab speaking English would have been given away by his accent and his mode of dressing in front of a US Naval officer even before he introduces himself; and because of differences in ethnic backgrounds i.e. east and west, communication between the two of them is being distorted and also broken, consequently discarding any possible meaning calculated by the Arabian, including an information that would end terrorism in the world. II. Gender Differences
Another Ogunbameru (2002)’s description of gender psychology creates another dimension to the barriers of effective communication. It is explained that females tend to use more words during their explanation, owing to the fact that they have a low toleration span than men. Meaning that effective communication can be barricaded between a man and a lady has the man would filter the information from the lady, leaving out some messages which may have their own significant meanings. Also, gender bias between a man and woman may be another gender-inclined barrier of effective communication. A particular mid-set towards the opposite gender may cause the potential sender (who is of the opposite sex) to have a bias mind, creating a platform whereby the intended meaning is either skipped or misinterpreted. An example of Buchi Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood describes the fact that the author has a particular negative notion towards men because of the way he painted them in her novel. All the male characters in the book are painted as either irresponsible or unworthy of good things; this leaves potential male readers on the edge of losing interest in the message being passed across, and the meaning of the women’s struggle motherhood discarded.
Disability in the human physical components may also serve as a barrier in effective communication. In the case of physical disability, normal information transmission may not properly convey the intended message. Symbols and signs may not be the best bet for someone with optical disorder, or even blindness. The message passed would either take time for processing or not even gotten at all. Likewise, someone with psychological disorder will not basically get the meaning of a normal-man speech about politics.
Some environmental and climatic factors may also have a way to negatively affect effective communication flow. A sunny afternoon, a stormy weather, and so on may be responsible for effective communication flow. In the case of mass communication transmission, a stormy may be responsible for a broadcast station’s transmission of news messages to their audiences, because of the destructive energy from lightning sparks and thunderbolts. This may also affect the communication on the internet between two family members or business associates in two faraway lands trying to broker a deal. Also, a physics lecturer may have little or no attention from his students especially on an exhaustive and sunny afternoon, because it has been scientifically proven that the brain tends to work slowly as regards calculations, consequently hindering the students from effectively receiving from the lecturer.
OTHER COMMON FACTORS
I. Communication Overload
This may happen either as a result of information overload or channel overload. This situation arises when the message received is too enormous to be processed by the receiver, causing a delay in timely response. On the other hand, channel overload refers to the insufficiency of the necessary channel of information to disseminate enough information. Information overload is described by Adewusi et al (2000) a situation of stacking oodles of information up the receiver’s brain to the extent that the receiver discards greater part of the information or in some cases all the messages due to frustration. In the case of an organization, a frustrated secretary with a table filled with paper works from his boss tend to have his response delayed or even lose some parts of the information. II. Ignorance
This barrier may either be on the part of the sender or the receiver. An information sender without proper knowledge of the media he uses will end up having problem in getting his message across; on the other hand, an ignorant receiver will get not any meaning out of the message from the sender. An illiterate sender trying to pass information across to a professor with heavy vocabulary will certainly end up with the problem of speaking sensibly; likewise a geographic sender trying to explain cosmological alignments to a linguist cannot communicate effectively with him. III. Subjective Pressure
This may be caused by bad state of health, insomnia, mental stress, or even amnesia. It will create a whole new environment that may affect how the message is either passed or also decoded. IV. Unwanted External Stimuli
In the case of verbal expression, external stimulus may affect or even distort effective communication flow between the sender and the receiver. This ranges from disturbing persons present, loud unwanted sound waves (noise pollution), hazardous environmental things like smoke, fog, war and so on.
I. Adewusi et al (1999): Communication in the Workplace. Ede: Lolson Faith Nigeria Enterprises. II. The Encarta Encyclopaedia and Dictionaries: Microsoft Corporation. 2009. New York III. The Encyclopaedia Britannica. Revised 2009 Edition. London IV. R. Iyer, M. Ostendorf, and M. Meteer. Analysing and Predicting Language Model Improvements. In Proceedings IEEE Workshop on Speech Recognition and Understanding, 1997. V. R. Kneser, J. Peters, and D. Klakow. Language Model Adaptation Using Dynamic Marginals. In Proceedings Eurospeech, 1997. VI. Ogunbameru (2002): Sociological Essentials. Ibadan: Evans Publishers.