Communication Barriers

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Shannon’s Communication Model
• Communication is impaired by noise factors or ‘barriers’
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Barriers to Effective Communication
1.
Language Barriers
2.
Cultural Barriers
3.
Individual Barriers
4.
Organisational Barriers
5.
Interpersonal Barriers
6.
Attitudinal Barriers
7.
Channel Barriers
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Barriers to Effective Communication
1. Language Barriers
 Different languages, vocabulary, accent, dialects
 Semantic gaps are words having similar pronunciation but
multiple meanings – these can easily be misunderstood
 Poorly expressed message, incorrect interpretation and
unqualified assumptions
 The use of difficult or inappropriately technical terms
2. Cultural Barriers
 Can create boundaries and separate people from each
other in such a way as to prevent understanding
Age
Beauty
Gender
Economic
Position
Cultural
Background
Ethics
Assumptions
Motives
Social Status
Education Temperament
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Popularity
Priorities
Political
Views
Health
Barriers to Effective Communication
3. Individual Barriers
 May be a result of an individual's perceptual and personal
discomfort
 Even when two people have experienced the same event
their mental perception may be different and acts as a barrier
 Style, selective perception, halo effect, poor attention, poor
retention, defensiveness, close mindedness, insufficient
filtration
 Can result from unrelated external forces, stress and
personal change
4. Organisational Barriers
 Organisational culture, values, protocols, rules, regulations,
accepted norms and behaviours
 Physical set up of work stations
 Communication tools and working facilities
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Barriers to Effective Communication
5. Interpersonal Barriers
– Lack of knowledge of non-verbal clues like facial expression, body
language, gestures, postures, eye contact
– Managers
 Lack of trust in staff
 Different priorities from employees
 Lack of understanding of employee expectations
 Authority and power imbalance
 Fear of losing of control
– Staff
 Lack of trust in Manager or Employer
 Lack of motivation and co-operation
 Fear of consequences
 Information overload
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Barriers to Effective Communication
6. Attitudinal Barriers
 Limitation in physical and mental ability
 Differences in intellect, understanding and perceptions
 Lack of trust and fear of consequences
7. Channel Barriers
 Inappropriate selection of communication channel
 Inappropriately structured message – eg too long, no
summary, no clear outcome
 Lack of access to communication media
 Impacts clarity, accuracy and effectiveness
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Overcoming the Barriers - Do’s
• Allow employees access to resources, self expression
and idea generation
• Express your expectations to others
• Avoid absolute words such as "never", "always", "forever
• Avoid “Yes….But”
• Be a good, attentive and active listener
• Filter the information correctly before passing on to
someone else
• Establish direct communication channels
• Eliminate intermediaries
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Overcoming the Barriers - Do’s
• Maintain eye contact if culturally acceptable
• Use specific and accurate words which are easily
understood
• Try and view the situations through the eyes of the speaker
• Provide summaries and key messages if information is very
detailed or complicated
• Oral communication must be clear and not heavily
accented
• Explain technical concepts and provide definitions
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Overcoming the Barriers - Do’s
• Ask for clarification and paraphrase
to confirm understanding
• Break down hierarchies and chains of command
• Foster congenial relationships between staff and managers
• Focus on purposeful and well focused communication
• Seek and act on feedback
• Keep an open mind
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Overcoming the Barriers – Don’ts
• Be a Selective Listener - this is when a person hears
another but selects not to hear what is being said or to
hear a different message
• Try to “win” and score points or prove the other person
wrong
• Daydream
• Use long chain of command for communication
• Use technical jargon or unusual words
• Jump to conclusions
• Interrupt the speakers and distract them by asking too
many irrelevant questions
• Digress off the main topic
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