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Introduction 
Wrong choice of medium 
Physical barriers 
Semantic barriers 
Different comprehension of reality 
Socio-psychological barriers 
2
 Communication is complete and perfect when the 
receiver understands the message in the same sense 
and spirit as the communicator intends to convey, 
 But practically it has been noticed that such perfect 
and complete communication does not take place 
because of certain obstacles or other factors known as 
communication barriers 
3
 As the process of communication involves sender, channels 
and receiver, the problem of communication usually lies with 
either one or more of the following. 
 Communication barriers may arise at any of the following 
levels: 
1. The sender's level in 
2. Formulating thought, ideas, message 
3. Encoding the message 
4. The receiver's level in 
5. Receiving the message 
6. Decoding the received message 
7. Interpreting the message. 
4
5
 Let us consider the following situations: 
 Suppose, 
 A salesman has to submit a report on the 
comparative sales figures of the last five years. 
 If he writes a lengthy paragraph incorporating the 
information, or talks on the phone, he will fail to 
communicate anything. 
 He should present the figures in a tabular form, or 
preferably make a bar diagram, which will make 
communication an instant process. 
6
 An employee wants to express his regrets to his 
supervisor over his misconduct. 
 In this case, written explanation alone may prove 
to be ineffective. 
 Face-to-face communication will probably be 
the best. 
 Let him speak very little, but let him look sorry 
his supervisor will be satisfied and the whole 
matter will be harmoniously settled. 
7
 A manager wants to compliment an employee for 
a distinguished performance. 
 Shall he send a peon with a memo? The manager 
should choose a medium that transmits his 
compliments with a personal touch. 
 Each communication must be transmitted 
through an appropriate medium. 
 An unsuitable medium is one of the biggest 
barriers to communication 
8
Noise 
 Noise is quite often a barrier to communication. In 
factories, oral communication is rendered difficult by 
the loud noise of machines. 
 Electronic noise like blaring often interferes in 
communication by telephone or loudspeaker system. 
 The word 'noise' is also used to refer to all kinds of 
physical interference like illegible handwriting, dirty 
copies of dupli­cated 
typescript, poor telephone 
connections, etc. 
9
Time and distance 
 Time and distance also act as barriers to the 
smooth flow of communication. 
 The use of telephone along with computer 
technology has made communication very fast 
and has, to a large extent, overcome the space 
barrier. 
 However, sometimes mechanical breakdowns 
render these facilities ineffective. 
10
Faulty seating arrangement 
 Faulty seating arrangement in the room can also 
become a barrier to effective communication, for 
whichever seats the employees may be 
occupying, they definitely want an eye contact 
with one another. 
11
 Word Semantic is basically comes from Greek language it focuses on the 
relation between words phrases signs and symbols. 
Interpretation of words 
 Most of the communication is carried on through words, whether spoken or 
written. 
 But words are capable of com­municating 
a variety of meanings. It is quite 
possible that the receiver of the message does not assign the same meaning 
to a word as the transmitter had intended. 
 The little word 'run' has 71 meanings as a verb, another 35 as a noun, and 4 
more as an adjective. 
12
Bypassed instructions 
 Bypassing is said to have occurred if the sender and the receiver 
of the message interpret different meanings to the same word or 
use different words for the same meaning. 
 An example of how bypassed instructions can play havoc with the 
communication process: 
 An office manager handed to a new assistant one letter with the 
in­struction, 
"Take it to our stockroom and burn it." 
 In the office manager's mind the word "burn" meant to make a 
copy on C.D. As the letter was extremely important, she wanted 
an extra copy. 
 However, the puz­zled 
new employee, afraid to ask questions, 
burned the letter with a lighted match and thus destroyed the only 
existing copy of letter. 
13
Denotations and connotations 
 The literal meaning of a word is called its denotative meaning. It 
just informs and names objects without indicating any positive or 
negative qual­ities. 
Words like 'table', 'book', 'accounts', 'meeting' 
are denotative. 
 In contrast, connotative meanings arouse qualitative judgments 
and per­sonal 
reactions. 'Honest', 'competent', 'cheap', 'sincere', 
etc., are connota­tive 
words. 
 One such word is 'cheap'. Look at the fol­lowing 
two sentences: 
 “They gave us cheap stuff.” 
 “At this shop, they sell things cheap.” 
 In the first sentence 'cheap' refers to quality and has an 
unfavorable connotation, in the second one it refers to prices and 
is used favorably. 
14
 The reality of an object, an event, or a person is 
different to different people. 
 Reality is not a fixed concept; it is complex, infinite 
and continually changing. 
 Besides, each human being has limited sensory 
perceptions and a unique mental filter. 
 No two persons perceive reality in identical manners. 
 On account of different abstractions, inferences, and 
evaluations, they figure out reality in a different way. 
This may sometimes lead miscommunication. 
15
Abstracting 
 Abstracting may be defined as the process of 
focusing attention on some details and omitting 
others. 
 In numerous cases, abstracting is both necessary 
and desirable, for it may save us valuable time, 
space and money but at the same times it is 
observed that the message gets deviated. 
16
Slanting 
'Slanting' is giving a particular bias or angle to the 
reality. 
 In slanting, we are aware of the existence of other 
aspects, but we deliberately select a few and make 
them representative of the whole. 
 Unfortunately, the aspects that we select are 
usually unfavorable. 
If a man is accustomed to heavy drinking, we call 
him as a drunkard and tend to forget that he might 
also be a good friend, a loyal employee and a 
kind-hearted man. 
17
 If one ex-ecutive of a firm is held guilty for a 
fraud, we begin to suspect every other ex-ecutive 
and the image of the firm is spoiled. 
 The overcome this barrier, we should try to be 
objective in our observations and assessments 
and we should try to avoid the mistake of judging 
the whole by what might be only a frac-tion of it. 
18
Inferring 
 What we directly see, hear, feel, taste, smell or can im-mediately verify and confirm 
constitutes a fact. 
 But the statements that go beyond facts and the conclusions based on facts are called 
inferences. 
 (1)When we see a person giving us a smile we infer that he or she is impressed. 
 (2)If rains fail, we can infer that prices will go up. 
 Some of these inferences are fairly reliable. 
 While drawing inferences, we should carefully distinguish between facts and 
assumptions and make sure that our inferences are based on verifi-able facts. 
19
Personal attitude and opinion 
 Personal attitude and opinion often act as barriers to effective communication. 
 If an information agrees with· our opinions and attitudes, we tend to receive it 
comfortably. It fits comfortably in the filter of our mind. But if information disagrees 
with our views or tends to run opposite to our accepted beliefs, we do not react favorably. 
 If a change in the policy of an organization proves advantageous to an employee he 
welcomes it as good; if it affects him adversely, he rejects it as the folly of the Director. 
20
Emotions 
 Emotional state of mind play an important role in 
the act of communication. 
 If the sender is confused, worried, excited, afraid, 
nervous, his thinking will be blurred and he will 
not be able to organize his message properly. 
 The state of his mind is sure to be reflected in his 
mes-sage. 
21
Closed mind 
 A person with a closed mind is very difficult to 
com-municate with. He is a man with deeply 
inbuilt prejudices. 
 And he is not prepared to reconsider his 
opinions. 
 He is the kind of man who will say, "Look, my 
mind is made up. I know what I know 
 . And I do not want to know anything else. So 
just don’t bother me." 
22
Status consciousness 
Status consciousness exists in every organiza-tion. 
Subordinates are afraid of communicating upward 
any unpleasant informa-tion. 
 They are either too conscious of their inferior 
status or too afraid of be-ing insulted. 
Status-- conscious superiors think that consulting 
their juniors would be compromising their dignity. 
Status-consciousness proves to be a very serious 
barrier to face-to-face communication. 
23
The source of 
communication 
 If the receiver has a suspicion about or prejudice 
against the source of communication, there is 
likely to be a barrier to communication. 
 People often tend to react more according to 
their attitude to the source of facts than to the 
facts themselves. 
24
 If a statement came out from the grapevine, the 
manager will not give credibility to it, but the 
same statement coming from a trusted supervisor 
will immediately be believed. 
25
Inattentiveness 
 People often become inattentive while receiving a 
message in particular, if the message contains a new 
idea. 
 The human mind usually resists change, as the 
change make things uncertain. It also threatens 
security and stability. 
 So the moment a new idea is presented to them, they 
unconsciously become inattentive. 
26
Faulty transmission 
A message is never communicated from one per­son 
to another in its entirety. 
This is true in particular of oral messages. 
If a decision has been taken by the Board of 
Directors, it must be in the form of a lengthy 
resolution. 
This resolution cannot be passed on to the factory 
work­ers 
in the same form. 
 It has to be translated in simple language so that 
they may easily understand it. 
27
 But translation can never be perfect. In the 
process of interpretation, simplification and 
translation, a part of the mes­sage 
gets lost or 
distorted. 
 A scientific study of the communication process 
has revealed that successive transmissions of the 
same message are de­creasingly 
accurate. 
 In oral communications, something in the order 
of 30 per cent of the information is lost in each 
transmission. 
28
Poor retention 
Poor retention of communication also acts as a 
bar­rier. 
Studies show that employees retain only 
about 50 per cent of the information 
communicated to them. 
The rest is lost. Thus if information is 
communicated through three or four stages, very 
little reaches the destina­tion, 
and of that very little 
also only a fraction is likely to be retained. 
Poor retention may lead to imperfect responses, 
which may further obstruct the communication 
process. 
29
Unsolicited communication 
 Unsolicited (unasked) communication has to face 
stronger barriers than solicited communication. 
 If I seek advice, it should be presumed that I will 
listen to it. 
 But if a sales letter comes to me unso­licited, 
it is not 
very sure that I will pay much attention to it. 
 But practically it has been noticed that such perfect 
and complete communication does not take place 
because of certain obstacles or other factors known 
as communication barriers. 
30
 Communication is complete and perfect when the 
receiver understands the message in the same 
sense and spirit as the communicator intends to 
convey. 
31
32

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Communication barriers

  • 1.
  • 2. Introduction Wrong choice of medium Physical barriers Semantic barriers Different comprehension of reality Socio-psychological barriers 2
  • 3.  Communication is complete and perfect when the receiver understands the message in the same sense and spirit as the communicator intends to convey,  But practically it has been noticed that such perfect and complete communication does not take place because of certain obstacles or other factors known as communication barriers 3
  • 4.  As the process of communication involves sender, channels and receiver, the problem of communication usually lies with either one or more of the following.  Communication barriers may arise at any of the following levels: 1. The sender's level in 2. Formulating thought, ideas, message 3. Encoding the message 4. The receiver's level in 5. Receiving the message 6. Decoding the received message 7. Interpreting the message. 4
  • 5. 5
  • 6.  Let us consider the following situations:  Suppose,  A salesman has to submit a report on the comparative sales figures of the last five years.  If he writes a lengthy paragraph incorporating the information, or talks on the phone, he will fail to communicate anything.  He should present the figures in a tabular form, or preferably make a bar diagram, which will make communication an instant process. 6
  • 7.  An employee wants to express his regrets to his supervisor over his misconduct.  In this case, written explanation alone may prove to be ineffective.  Face-to-face communication will probably be the best.  Let him speak very little, but let him look sorry his supervisor will be satisfied and the whole matter will be harmoniously settled. 7
  • 8.  A manager wants to compliment an employee for a distinguished performance.  Shall he send a peon with a memo? The manager should choose a medium that transmits his compliments with a personal touch.  Each communication must be transmitted through an appropriate medium.  An unsuitable medium is one of the biggest barriers to communication 8
  • 9. Noise  Noise is quite often a barrier to communication. In factories, oral communication is rendered difficult by the loud noise of machines.  Electronic noise like blaring often interferes in communication by telephone or loudspeaker system.  The word 'noise' is also used to refer to all kinds of physical interference like illegible handwriting, dirty copies of dupli­cated typescript, poor telephone connections, etc. 9
  • 10. Time and distance  Time and distance also act as barriers to the smooth flow of communication.  The use of telephone along with computer technology has made communication very fast and has, to a large extent, overcome the space barrier.  However, sometimes mechanical breakdowns render these facilities ineffective. 10
  • 11. Faulty seating arrangement  Faulty seating arrangement in the room can also become a barrier to effective communication, for whichever seats the employees may be occupying, they definitely want an eye contact with one another. 11
  • 12.  Word Semantic is basically comes from Greek language it focuses on the relation between words phrases signs and symbols. Interpretation of words  Most of the communication is carried on through words, whether spoken or written.  But words are capable of com­municating a variety of meanings. It is quite possible that the receiver of the message does not assign the same meaning to a word as the transmitter had intended.  The little word 'run' has 71 meanings as a verb, another 35 as a noun, and 4 more as an adjective. 12
  • 13. Bypassed instructions  Bypassing is said to have occurred if the sender and the receiver of the message interpret different meanings to the same word or use different words for the same meaning.  An example of how bypassed instructions can play havoc with the communication process:  An office manager handed to a new assistant one letter with the in­struction, "Take it to our stockroom and burn it."  In the office manager's mind the word "burn" meant to make a copy on C.D. As the letter was extremely important, she wanted an extra copy.  However, the puz­zled new employee, afraid to ask questions, burned the letter with a lighted match and thus destroyed the only existing copy of letter. 13
  • 14. Denotations and connotations  The literal meaning of a word is called its denotative meaning. It just informs and names objects without indicating any positive or negative qual­ities. Words like 'table', 'book', 'accounts', 'meeting' are denotative.  In contrast, connotative meanings arouse qualitative judgments and per­sonal reactions. 'Honest', 'competent', 'cheap', 'sincere', etc., are connota­tive words.  One such word is 'cheap'. Look at the fol­lowing two sentences:  “They gave us cheap stuff.”  “At this shop, they sell things cheap.”  In the first sentence 'cheap' refers to quality and has an unfavorable connotation, in the second one it refers to prices and is used favorably. 14
  • 15.  The reality of an object, an event, or a person is different to different people.  Reality is not a fixed concept; it is complex, infinite and continually changing.  Besides, each human being has limited sensory perceptions and a unique mental filter.  No two persons perceive reality in identical manners.  On account of different abstractions, inferences, and evaluations, they figure out reality in a different way. This may sometimes lead miscommunication. 15
  • 16. Abstracting  Abstracting may be defined as the process of focusing attention on some details and omitting others.  In numerous cases, abstracting is both necessary and desirable, for it may save us valuable time, space and money but at the same times it is observed that the message gets deviated. 16
  • 17. Slanting 'Slanting' is giving a particular bias or angle to the reality.  In slanting, we are aware of the existence of other aspects, but we deliberately select a few and make them representative of the whole.  Unfortunately, the aspects that we select are usually unfavorable. If a man is accustomed to heavy drinking, we call him as a drunkard and tend to forget that he might also be a good friend, a loyal employee and a kind-hearted man. 17
  • 18.  If one ex-ecutive of a firm is held guilty for a fraud, we begin to suspect every other ex-ecutive and the image of the firm is spoiled.  The overcome this barrier, we should try to be objective in our observations and assessments and we should try to avoid the mistake of judging the whole by what might be only a frac-tion of it. 18
  • 19. Inferring  What we directly see, hear, feel, taste, smell or can im-mediately verify and confirm constitutes a fact.  But the statements that go beyond facts and the conclusions based on facts are called inferences.  (1)When we see a person giving us a smile we infer that he or she is impressed.  (2)If rains fail, we can infer that prices will go up.  Some of these inferences are fairly reliable.  While drawing inferences, we should carefully distinguish between facts and assumptions and make sure that our inferences are based on verifi-able facts. 19
  • 20. Personal attitude and opinion  Personal attitude and opinion often act as barriers to effective communication.  If an information agrees with· our opinions and attitudes, we tend to receive it comfortably. It fits comfortably in the filter of our mind. But if information disagrees with our views or tends to run opposite to our accepted beliefs, we do not react favorably.  If a change in the policy of an organization proves advantageous to an employee he welcomes it as good; if it affects him adversely, he rejects it as the folly of the Director. 20
  • 21. Emotions  Emotional state of mind play an important role in the act of communication.  If the sender is confused, worried, excited, afraid, nervous, his thinking will be blurred and he will not be able to organize his message properly.  The state of his mind is sure to be reflected in his mes-sage. 21
  • 22. Closed mind  A person with a closed mind is very difficult to com-municate with. He is a man with deeply inbuilt prejudices.  And he is not prepared to reconsider his opinions.  He is the kind of man who will say, "Look, my mind is made up. I know what I know  . And I do not want to know anything else. So just don’t bother me." 22
  • 23. Status consciousness Status consciousness exists in every organiza-tion. Subordinates are afraid of communicating upward any unpleasant informa-tion.  They are either too conscious of their inferior status or too afraid of be-ing insulted. Status-- conscious superiors think that consulting their juniors would be compromising their dignity. Status-consciousness proves to be a very serious barrier to face-to-face communication. 23
  • 24. The source of communication  If the receiver has a suspicion about or prejudice against the source of communication, there is likely to be a barrier to communication.  People often tend to react more according to their attitude to the source of facts than to the facts themselves. 24
  • 25.  If a statement came out from the grapevine, the manager will not give credibility to it, but the same statement coming from a trusted supervisor will immediately be believed. 25
  • 26. Inattentiveness  People often become inattentive while receiving a message in particular, if the message contains a new idea.  The human mind usually resists change, as the change make things uncertain. It also threatens security and stability.  So the moment a new idea is presented to them, they unconsciously become inattentive. 26
  • 27. Faulty transmission A message is never communicated from one per­son to another in its entirety. This is true in particular of oral messages. If a decision has been taken by the Board of Directors, it must be in the form of a lengthy resolution. This resolution cannot be passed on to the factory work­ers in the same form.  It has to be translated in simple language so that they may easily understand it. 27
  • 28.  But translation can never be perfect. In the process of interpretation, simplification and translation, a part of the mes­sage gets lost or distorted.  A scientific study of the communication process has revealed that successive transmissions of the same message are de­creasingly accurate.  In oral communications, something in the order of 30 per cent of the information is lost in each transmission. 28
  • 29. Poor retention Poor retention of communication also acts as a bar­rier. Studies show that employees retain only about 50 per cent of the information communicated to them. The rest is lost. Thus if information is communicated through three or four stages, very little reaches the destina­tion, and of that very little also only a fraction is likely to be retained. Poor retention may lead to imperfect responses, which may further obstruct the communication process. 29
  • 30. Unsolicited communication  Unsolicited (unasked) communication has to face stronger barriers than solicited communication.  If I seek advice, it should be presumed that I will listen to it.  But if a sales letter comes to me unso­licited, it is not very sure that I will pay much attention to it.  But practically it has been noticed that such perfect and complete communication does not take place because of certain obstacles or other factors known as communication barriers. 30
  • 31.  Communication is complete and perfect when the receiver understands the message in the same sense and spirit as the communicator intends to convey. 31
  • 32. 32