Barriers to communication


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Barriers to communication

  2. 2. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION Communication is one of the most common and essential human activities. Perfect communication takes place when the receiver understands the message exactly in the same way the sender intends.
  3. 3. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION Quite often miscommunication arises due to one barrier or the other. Barrier or problems can arise at any stage of the communication.
  4. 4. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION Problems/ barriers/breakdown may arise at any of the following levels. THE SENDER’S LEVEL IN— Formulating/ organizing thought, ideas, message. Encoding the message
  5. 5. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION THE RECEIVER’S LEVEL IN Receiving the message. Decoding the received message Understanding/ interpreting the message
  7. 7. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION  How often you have said, “I meant to say this and not that?  Even with the best intentions, communication barriers crop up and our written and spoken messages are misunderstood.
  8. 8. TYPES OF BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 1. Intrapersonal Barrier 2. Interpersonal Barrier 3. Organizational Barrier 4. Semantic Barrier
  9. 9. INTRA-PERSONAL BARRIER  Individuals are unique because of their idiosyncrasies (habit).  This is mainly because of differences in experience, education, value and personality.
  10. 10. INTRA-PERSONAL BARRIER  Each of us interpret the same information in different ways as our thinking varies.
  11. 11. WRONG ASSUMPTIONS  Many barriers stem from wrong assumptions.  For example- When a doctor tells his patient that he has to take some medicine only ‘SOS’ he is creating a barrier in their communication.  Here the doctor has made a wrong assumption about his patient’s level of knowledge.
  12. 12. WRONG ASSUMPTIONS  Wrong assumptions are generally made because the sender or the receiver does not have adequate knowledge about each other’s background.  A skilled communicator keeps these issues in mind to prevent them from becoming barriers.
  13. 13. SELECTIVE PERCEPTION  Selective perception means that the receivers selectively see and hear depending upon their needs, motivation, background experience and other personal characteristics.  While decoding the message they project their own interest and expectation in the process of communication further leading to a particular kind of feedback.
  14. 14. Differing Background  People vary in terms of their education, culture, language, environment, age, sex, financial status etc.  Our background plays significant role in how we interpret the message.  A computer company representative would not make much sense to a group of doctors if in his presentation he goes into details of hardware.
  15. 15. Differing Background  To enhance your communication skills, it is necessary to know the background of your audience.  Use language understood by the receiver to avoid ambiguity and reduce multiple meanings in your communication.  The multiple meanings of a word increases the problem of communication barriers.
  16. 16. WHEN WRITING OR SPEAKING  Think of your audience. How well do they understand the language?  Select your words with care, specially technical terms.  Words must be suited to your audience’s language skills.
  17. 17. WHEN WRITING OR SPEAKING  If you have to use slightly difficult or unfamiliar words, try to explain these as part of your communication.  Don’t fall into the trap, however of oversimplifying your language, your audience could get put off if you use words that sound babyish/ kiddish.
  18. 18. WRONG INFERENCES • Communication quite often breaks down or becomes an embarrassing affair if we keep acting an assumption without caring to seek clarification.
  19. 19. WRONG INFERENCES • For example—a customer writes to us that he/ she would be visiting our office on a particular day without caring to write/ telephone that he/ she would like to be picked up assuming that we will do that as a routine, it would be regarded as a case of incomplete communication. • It may lead to loss of goodwill.
  20. 20. WRONG INFERENCES • For example—You have returned from a business trip and you find that two of your colleagues are absent. They do not turn up for several days. Since there is a recession on, you draw an inference that they have been laid off. The fact is that they have been promoted and sent to another department.
  21. 21. WRONG INFERENCES • This is an example of fact-inference confusion. • It has happened because you failed to distinguish between what actually exists and what you had assumed to exist.
  22. 22. WRONG INFERENCES • When presenting any inference in the course of your work, you could use qualifiers such as ‘evidence suggest’ or ‘in my opinion’ to remind yourself and the receiver that this is not yet established as fact.
  23. 23. CLOSED MIND • The expression ‘closed mind’ refers to thinking tendency of the people that they know everything about the issue and therefore refuse to accept any further information on that topic. • People who feel that they know it all are called Pansophists.
  24. 24. CLOSED MIND • This type of thinking can pose a major barrier, leading to failure in communication. • In such instances, the receivers refuse information because of their ‘know it all attitude’.
  25. 25. CLOSED MIND • The clue to detect this barrier is the use of words like—all, always, everybody, everything, every time and their opposites like none, never, nobody and nothing. • To avoid this barrier use phrases like ‘it appears to me’ or ‘the evidence indicates’.
  26. 26. CLOSED MIND • If your data is insufficient, it is better to admit that you are unaware of the rest of the information rather than stone walling. (obstruct with evasive/ ambiguous answers)
  27. 27. IMPERVIOUS CATEGORIES (not responsive or resistant) • We react positively to information only if it is in consonance with our views and attitudes. • Conversely, when we receive information that does not conform to our personal views, habits and attitudes or appears unfavorable to us, we tend to react negatively or even disbelieve.
  28. 28. IMPERVIOUS CATEGORIES • People who are very rigid in their opinions may face problems in communicating effectively. • For example– one of your fellow students may think that only students of sc. are good at reasoning, such people fall into impervious categories because they may not be able to accept any deviation from their points of view.
  29. 29. INTER-PERSONAL BARRIERS • Intrapersonal barriers stem from an individual’s attitude or habits whereas Inter-personal barriers occur due to inappropriate transaction of words between two or more people.
  30. 30. LIMITED VOCABULARY • During your speech, if you are at loss of words, your communication will be very ineffective and you will leave a very poor impression on your audience. • If you have a varied and substantial vocabulary, you can create an indelible impression on your listeners.
  31. 31. INCONGRUITY OF VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL MESSAGES • Ignoring non-verbal cues or misinterpreting them can result in the message being completely misunderstood. • For example– In a small speech CEO conveys the message that he is very delighted to have a new manager appointed in his office. However the expression on his face shows just the opposite of what he is saying.
  32. 32. INCONGRUITY OF VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL MESSAGES • The stark difference between the verbal and non-verbal aspects of his communication leaves his listeners feel confused and puzzled. • Your non-verbal cues should consistently match with your verbal message, adding to their effectiveness and enhancing your image as a competent and interesting communicator.
  33. 33. EMOTIONAL OUTBURST • Encoding and decoding of messages depend to quite some extent on one’s emotional state at a particular time. • Extreme emotions like jubilation or depression are likely to hinder effective communication. • A message received when one is angry is likely to be interpreted in a very different manner than one is calm and composed.
  34. 34. EMOTIONAL OUTBURST • Extreme anger can create such an emotionally charged environment that rational discussion is just not possible. • Positive emotions like happiness and excitement also interfere in communication but to lesser extent than negative feelings.
  35. 35. COMMUNICATION SELECTIVITY/ FILTERING • If you are a receiver in communication process, and you pay attention only to a part of the message, you are imposing a barrier known as communication selectivity. • In such a situation the sender is not at fault.
  36. 36. COMMUNICATION SELECTIVITY/ FILTERING • For Ex– In a meeting, held by the Chairman of a company he called all his executives from various divisionsProduction, Marketing, Finance etc. • During the meeting he discusses various topics but he will not be able to get across the entire message to each one of the participants, unless he gets their individual attention.
  37. 37. COMMUNICATION SELECTIVITY/ FILTERING • If the Production Manager and the Marketing Manager pay attention only to matters related to their respective areas, they may not be able to get the total perspective of what the chairman is conveying.
  38. 38. COMMUNICATION SELECTIVITY/ FILTERING • Communication selectivity may act as a barrier in written forms of communication as well. • When you read a story, if you read only certain parts and omit others, you are posing this barrier.
  39. 39. CULTURAL VARIATION • In International environment, cultural differences often cause communication problems. • The same category of words, phrases, symbols, actions, colors mean different things to people of different countries/ cultural background.
  40. 40. CULTURAL VARIATION • For ex– In western countries black color is associated with death and mourning while in the east white is the color of mourning. • Your success whether as a student or as a professional, lies in knowing the business practices, social customs and etiquette of a particular country.
  41. 41. POOR LISTENING SKILLS • Misunderstanding and conflicts can be mitigated if people listen to the message with full attention. • In order to become a good listener we have to learn to rise above our egos, keep our eyes and ears open and empathize with others.
  42. 42. POOR LISTENING SKILLS • One can be a good listener by paying proper attention to the speaker through non-verbal responses and asking questions at the appropriate moment. • Do not jump to conclusions hastily but maintain your composure and allow the speaker to finish before interpreting his message.
  43. 43. NOISE • Noise can be defined as any unplanned interference in the communication environment, which causes hindrance in the transmission of message. • Noise occurs primarily at the transmission level which distorts interpretation or the decoding part of the communication process.
  44. 44. NOISE • Noise can be classified as channel and semantic. • In written communication, illegible hand writing can be termed as channel noise.
  45. 45. CHANNEL NOISE • Channel noise is any interference in the mechanics of the medium used to send a message. • For ex- Channel noise is distortion due to faulty background, noise in telephone lines, or too high a volume from a loud speaker. • Channel noise develops externally.
  46. 46. SEMANTIC BARRIERS • Semantic barriers arise due to problems in language. • Language is the most important tool of communication but its careless use can be dangerous.
  47. 47. SEMANTIC NOISE • Semantic noise is generally internal, resulting from errors in the message itself. • For ex– on the sender’s part encoding may be faulty because of the use of confusing or ambiguous sentence structure.
  48. 48. SEMANTIC NOISE • At receiver’s level reception may be inaccurate because of inattention. • Semantic noise are faulty grammar, misspellings and incorrect punctuation. • One must aim at simplicity, clarity and brevity so as to minimize the chances of different interpretations.
  49. 49. ORGANIZATIONAL BARRIERS  Rigid hierarchical structure usually restricts the flow of communication.  This is because there are numerous transfer points and each of these points has the potential to distort, delay or lose the message.  To obviate (prevent/avert) this, there should be a direct contact between sender and receiver with minimum transfer stations.
  50. 50. TOO MANY TARNSFER STATIONS • When messages pass on from one person to another in a series of transmission they are likely to become less and less accurate. • The message gets distorted at each level because of poor listening or lack of concentration.
  51. 51. TOO MANY TARNSFER STATIONS • Some employees may filter out a part of the message which they consider unimportant.
  52. 52. FEAR OF SUPERIORS  In rigidly structured organization, fear or awe of the superiors prevents subordinates from speaking frankly.  To avoid speaking directly to their boss, some employees may either shun all communication with their superiors or they may present all the information that they have.
  53. 53. FEAR OF SUPERIORS  Sometimes out of fear employees do not communicate available information.  It may result in sending partial information.  Fear of full disclosure or non-disclosure misleads a superior.  In written communication this results in bulky reports, where essential information is clubbed with important details.
  54. 54. USE OF INAPPROPRIATE MEDIA • Some of the common media used in organizations are graphs, charts, telephones, fax machines, computer presentations, e-mails, slides, teleconferencing and video-conferencing. • While choosing the media you should therefore keep in mind the advantages, disadvantages and potential barriers to communication.
  55. 55. USE OF INAPPROPRIATE MEDIA • Telephone, for instance would be an ideal medium for conveying a confidential information. • Typed letters which provide permanence are preferable for information which requires to be stored for future reference.
  56. 56. USE OF INAPPROPRIATE MEDIA • Usually a mix of media is best for effective communication. • For ex- a telephone call to book an order to be followed by a confirmatory letter ensures that there is no possible misunderstanding of the message.
  57. 57. INFORMATION OVERLOAD  One of the major problems faced by organization today is the availability of huge amount of data which the receiver is unable to handle.  Receiver should receive only that amount of facts and figures at one time that he/ she can absorb.
  58. 58. INFORMATION OVERLOAD  The usual results of information overload are fatigue, boredom and disinterest.  People respond to this kind of information in many ways.  Firstly, they may disregard certain information.
  59. 59. INFORMATION OVERLOAD  Secondly, they are likely to make errors when they become overwhelmed with too much information.  Thirdly, they may delay responding to information at least for the time being.  Fourthly, they may become highly selective in their response.
  60. 60. INFORMATION OVERLOAD  Very often, vital information gets mixed up with too many irrelevant details and therefore goes ignored by the receiver.  To reduce information overload in an organization, screening of information is mandatory.
  61. 61. INFORMATION OVERLOAD  Major points should be highlighted, leaving out all irrelevant things.  This kind of reducing can reduce the problem of information overload to a great extent.
  62. 62. TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 1. Create an open communication environment. 2. Always keep the receiver in mind. 3. Avoid having too many transfer stations. 4. Do not communicate when emotionally disturbed. 5. Be aware of diversity in culture, language etc.
  63. 63. TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 1. Use appropriate non-verbal cues. 2. Select the most suitable medium. 3. Analyze the feedback.