Barriers to Communication
Communication is a process by which message is conveyed to someone or a group of people. And if the message is conveyed clearly, then it is known as effective communication. A communication becomes effective and successful only if the receiver understands what the sender is trying to convey. When the message is not clearly understood one should understand that he is facing a barrier to communication. Barriers to effective communication may cause major hurdles in achieving professional goals. There are a wide number of sources of interference that can enter into the communication process. In a work setting, it is even more common. Since interactions involve people who have years of experience; that is why communication becomes complicated due to the complex relationship that exists at work. A few barriers of effective communication are given below:
(i) Physical Barrier
Physical barriers are often due to the nature of the environment. These may be caused by a number of factors like noise, poor lighting, long distance between the senders and receivers overload information, too cold or too hot weather. Noisy transmission and inconsistency in the message will be the major physical barriers.
(ii) Language Barrier
Language barriers include lack of common language, language of computer/law, specific language, use of difficult or inappropriate words, short forms, incomplete sentence, loosely structured sentence and paragraph etc. These deficiencies lead understanding between the sender and a receiver. *he choice of words or language in which a sender encodes a message will influence the quality of communication. It is very important to note that no two people will attribute the exactly same meanings to the same words.
(iii) Cultural Barrier
Effective communication requires deciphering the basic values, motives, aspirations and assumptions that operate across geographical lines. We live in cross-cultural situations and such barriers do exist. Sometimes the non localised vocabulary and typical accent of that particular area prove to create the greatest hindrance in effective communication.
(iv) Emotional Barrier
One of the chief barriers to effective communication is the emotional barrier. Feelings of fear, resentment, jealously, suspicion, anger, anxiety, and stress mar the message of communication. Whether you are a sender or receiver, it is necessary to avoid these emotions. Selective hearing and ignoring the non-verbal dues given by the communicator cause barrier in understanding what the communicator wants to.
(v) Physiological Barrier
Physiological barriers may be caused from individuals’ personal discomfort, caused, by ill health, poor eyesight or hearing difficulties etc. Defensiveness, distorted perceptions, guilt distortions from the past can be the major cause of barriers to effective communication.
(vi) Wrong Channel
There are three media of communication: spoken, written and non-verbal and several channels- face to face conversation, telephone, radio, television, letters, memos, e-mail, news papers, report, notice and soon. If the choice of the channel or medium is not right, the impact of the message is lost. To wish “Good morning.” An oral channel for this message is highly appropriate. Writing “Good Morning!” on a chalkboard in the machine shed is less effective than a warm oral greeting.
(vii) Badly Presented Message
Proper presentation of information is also important to aid understanding. If a person who sends information is not well versed in the topic under discussion and is not able to structure his ideas accurately and efficiently, this will lead to a barrier to effective communication.
(viii) Over/Under Communication
The quantum of communication should be just right. Neither should there be excess information nor should it be too scanty. Excess information may confuse the receiver and scanty information would make him grope for the actual intent of the message. How we perceive communication is affected by the past experience and the organizational relationship people have.
Above-mentioned barriers are not insurmountable. Care and constant practice on the part of the sender and receiver can remove these barriers.
Guidelines to Remove Barriers
• To know the people to whom we have to communicate.
• “Learn to look at things” from others perspective.
• Seek and offer feedback.
• Choose the right medium, the right channel.
• Talk less, listen more.
• Mind your tone.
• Plan the communication carefully, especially the difficult one.
• Create an open communication environment.
• Always keep the receiver in mind.
• Avoid having too many transfer stations.
• Don’t communicate when you are emotionally disturbed.
• Be aware of diversity in culture, language.
• Use appropriate non-verbal means.
• Select the most suitable medium.
• Analyse the feedback.
Internal v/s External Communication
• It takes place within the organisation or people working in the same organization.
• It can be oral or written, visual or audio-visual, formal or informal, upward or downward.
• Its purpose is to inform, instruct, develop, motivate, persuade, direct, control and warm people in the organisation.
• Few examples of internal communication are: Memos, reports, proposals, performance appraisal, training, counselling, notices, minutes of the meeting etc.
• External communication flows outward; with the people working outside the organisation.
• It usually takes place with the customers, suppliers, general public, media personnel, outside agencies, authoritative bodies, competitors and the government.
• Different channels are used to communicate externally such as letters, notices, brochures, demonstrations, telephone calls, press release, press conference, publicity films, , product launch events etc.
• External communication’s main purpose is to form a positive image of the company outside, so therefore, it is very important to make it clear, intelligible and appealing.
7C’s of Business Communication
It means the message has to be complete; it bring desired results; no chance of lawsuits; it provides necessary information and answer all the question give something extra, when required.
It means to be brief, fewest possible words; benefits-saves time and expense, more interesting.
Following are the suggestions to achieve conciseness
(a) Avoid wordy expressions,
(b) include only relevant information,
(c) avoid unnecessary repetition, and organise the message well, e.g.,
The message has to be crystal clear which can be achieved through appropriate length of sentences.
Choosing precise, concrete, familiar and simple words. Constructing effective sentences and paragraphs no pompous words. e.g., demonstrate-show viz-see, compensate-pay at a later date-at the present moment-now.
Accuracy of facts, figures and words otherwise no credibility will be there, no outdated information should be given in business communication.
Specific, definite and vivid rather than vague and general.Use concrete expressions-use specific facts and figures. Put action in your verbs (not passive voice), choose vivid image building words.
(vi) Consideration A message with the intended receiver in mind; focus on ‘you’ instead of T and’we’; show audience benefit, emphasize positive pleasant facts, show empathy, e.g.,
• I was happy to hear that my letter of September 10 provided you sufficient information/thank you for your assurance that you have sufficient information.
Avoid gender bias Chairperson/Chairman Police/Policeman, Sir/Madam, Gentleman/Ladies use plural forms-including both the genders- All the members cast their vote.
The manager talked to his customer/the manager talked to the customers.
Avoid negative words-fear, mistake, disagree, wrong, damage.
Thank, generosity, Apologies for mistake, avoid irritating expressions, use non-discriminatory expressions;equal treatment-regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin and physical features.