Barriers of communications

Barriers of  communications

Stephen R Covey, in his popular book, 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People', said 'Seek first to understand�then to be understood'. Communication ...

bar2Stephen R Covey, in his popular book, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", said "Seek first to understand�then to be understood".

Communication barriers in our day to day routine can have a serious affect on the functioning of personal and professional relationship. Through effective communication most of the problems can be solved. Communication is a simple art and yet ego, language, cultural differences, unwillingness to change, ignorance and other behavioural disorders make communicating effectively a problem.

'Communication is a process of transferring information from one entity to another'. However, it is not just transferring; It's an art of first understanding other persons listening ability, culture, using right words and then transferring it.

Here are a few communication barriers and tips to overcome them.

Language barrier In any language, people develop their own jargons and other catch words that denote a completely different meaning than what it means in other languages. The best way to avoid misunderstanding is use words that are simple and cannot be interpreted in different ways.

To cite an example, "he left us" could mean he moved to another organisation or he has been fired from work or he ran away or he is no more. Therefore, use the right word instead of our colloquial languages.

Cultural barrier Several factors such as body language, personal space, voice modulation, attire, age factor, job status, gender roles and appearance are influenced by the culture that one belongs to and this could lead to miscommunication at many fronts. With liberalisation and globalisation, there is bound to be cultural diversity in the workplace and it could also lead to communication barriers.

To cite an example, in India some people nod their heads horizontally to say "no" and vertically to say "yes" , whereas in some parts of the country, people nod their heads horizontally to say "yes" and as well as "no" with a little speed difference. Slow motion is "yes" and the fast one is "no".

Community and caste barrier: Different religions, different races, different sects, black and white differences, different castes create major communication barrier in the work place. People are not as open with others as they were earlier. In the interest of the nation and individuals, this attitude has to be altered.


Word barrier A bank manager working in a rural branch had to go to a hospital for his wife's treatment. He sent a telegram to the head office, "Wife is sick going to a hospital, please send substitute". The head office boss was confused and misunderstood the message. Drafting of a message, particularly in English, needs to be clear. Below are examples of funny signboards in English.

An advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest methodists

At the main gate of a private school: No trespassing without permission.

Outside an elevator of a hotel in Paris: Please leave your values at the front desk.

From the "Soviet Weekly": There will be a Moscow exhibition of arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and scuptors. these were executed over the past few years.

Emotional barrier: Positive emotions make you do things better. Negative emotions will not only disturbs the relationship, but also conveys negative communication. The dangerous negative emotions are anger, frustration, jealousy, revenge and prejudice. Those who are accustomed to communicating in a sarcastic manner can alter their attitude and avoid negative emotional barriers.

Authority barrier:

People with authoritative personality sometimes have a negative reputation because they are perceived as being too rigid and lacking empathy toward others. Senior managers those who say "I know everything" are ineffective at providing effective performance feedback.

It is imperative that they understand what goes on around them and make sure that they (managers) are understood. Some managers are unwilling to listen to their supervisors and employees. This sends negative message to employees that their opinions are neither appreciated nor valued. Stay humble while communicating. Remember that arrogant talk kills professional relationships and careers.

Stress barrier

All of us undergo certain amount of stress in our day to day life. One of the major communication barriers experienced across the world is stress. A person under immense stress may find it difficult to understand the message, leading to communication distortion. A wise person can practice the techniques of managing stress and make his job enjoyable. Overcoming communication barriers is possible if one knows what is causing miscommunication.

India some people nod their heads horizontally to say "no" and vertically to say "yes", whereas in some parts of the country people nod their heads horizontally to say "yes" and as well as "no" with little speed difference

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