Chapter 2
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION
SOME POINTS..
Communication is effective only if it creates the
desired impact on the receiver.
 Problems while Communicating

Disturbance/
Noise
Either not put
properly
Message is not
proper
Or not meant for that
audience
STEPS TO RESOLVE COMMUNICATION FAILURE
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Identify the problem
Find the cause
Work on alternative solutions
Opt for the best solution
Follow up religiously
Example:- “Bimonthly” example
WHAT IS NOISE
Any interference in the message sent and
received leads to the production of “noise”.
 Noise here does not mean cacophony(harsh
sounds) but it refers to a break in the
communication process.
 It is like a barrier in the communication.
 This barrier acts like a sieve that filters only
part of the message thus causing undesired
response.

CLASSIFICATION OF BARRIERS

1. INTRAPERSONAL
 Stems
from a person’s attitude, behaviour,
knowledge, education and personality

2.INTERPERSONAL
 Stems
from inappropriate transaction of words
between two or more people.

3. ORGANIZATIONAL
 Refers
to barriers in organizational communication
INTRAPERSONAL BARRIERS
All individuals are unique as we have different
personalities, attitudes, values, knowledge etc
 We react differently to different situations as
our thinking varies.
 Let’s explore the causes that lead to
intrapersonal barriers:
CAUSES OF INTRAPERSONAL BARRIERS
Let’s explore the causes that lead to intrapersonal
barriers:1. Wrong assumptions
2. Varied perceptions
3. Differing background
4. Wrong inferences
5. Impervious categories
6. Categorical thinking

WRONG ASSUMPTIONS
Wrong assumptions occur when sender and
receiver does not have adequate knowledge
about each other’s background.
 Sometimes speaker does not realize the
background, education etc of the receiver.
 To be a good communicator try to put
yourself in the shoes of the receiver..


Example – Doctor and Patient
VARIED PERCEPTIONS
Individuals perceive situations in different ways
 Best way is to step back and take a wider
perspective of the whole situation.


Example: Elephant
and six blind men
DIFFERING BACKGROUNDS
Our background plays a very important role in how
we interpret the message.
 To be a good communicator , the speaker should
know about the background of the audience.
 Example:- A computer company representative
explaining about hardware details about the
hospital management system he plans to install to
groups of doctors

WRONG INFERENCES
Wrong Inference is when we assume something
without knowing the whole truth.
 They are more dramatic than facts and can
cause gossip and rumors.
 Inference should always be supported by facts.
 When presenting inferences you should always
some evidences or facts behind it.

INTRAPERSONAL BARRIERS
Wrong assumptions
 Varied Perceptions
 Differing Background
 Wrong Inferences
 Impervious Categories
 Categorical Thinking

INTRAPERSONAL BARRIERS
Impervious categories
People with a closed mind attitude are called
misoneists. They are against any kind of change or
innovation. They do not agree to any kind of deviation
from their thinking and ideas.
 These people might feel difficulty in communicating
freely.
 People with a open mind would react positively to
information.
 Example:- People being against computerization in
their job.

CATEGORICAL THINKING
People who feel they know it all called
pansophists. These people think they know
everything about a subject and refuse to accept
any further information.
 Example:- You do not to listen in your
orientation programme as you think you know it
all!!!

TO SUM UP…

Good Communication should be: Non
judgmental
 Be empathetic
 Don’t assume anything
 Stick to the subject
 Listen and above all paraphrase ( to explain
something in other words)
INTERPERSONAL BARRIERS
These barriers occur due to inappropriate
transaction of words between two or more
people.
 Two broad categories

Inefficiency in communication skills
Negative aspect nurturing in the climate
COMMON REASONS FOR INTERPERSONAL
BARRIERS
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Limited Vocabulary
Incongruity ( mismatch) of Verbal or Nonverbal message
Emotional outburst
Communication selectivity
Cultural variations
Poor listening skills
LIMITED VOCABULARY
If in your speech or writing,
you are at a loss of words,
your communication will be very ineffective.
 On the other hand, if you have a good
vocabulary and know how to use it properly, you
would be a good communicator

Interpersonal_Barriers_1
INCONGRUITY OF VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL
MESSAGES
The difference between verbal and non-verbal
message can confuse the listener.
 Non-verbal communication enhances verbal
communication.
 Actions speaks louder than words
 One very important aspect o non-verbal
communication is physical appearance

Interpersonal_Barriers_2
GUIDELINES TO IMPROVE APPEARANCE
Dress according to the occasion
 Wear neat and clean clothes
 Choose an appropriate hairstyle
 Wear clean and polished shoes

Interpersonal_Barriers_3
EMOTIONAL OUTBURST
Excessive emotional involvement is harmful to
communication.
 Example:- extreme anger can create an
emotionally charged environment an rational
discussion is not possible.
 Messages can be misinterpreted, ignored or
overreacted to by people displaying such
behaviour.

Interpersonal_Barriers_4
GUIDELINES FOR AVOIDING EMOTIONAL
OUTBURST
It is important to maintain ones’ composure in
all kinds of communication
 Viewing issues from different perspectives
helps to develop rational thinking
 If confronted such negative thinking, it is
important that you do not retaliate( react).
 Usually in emotional outburst situation, volume
increases so it is good to keep the volume in
check.

COMMUNICATION SELECTIVITY
If you are a receiver in any communication and
you listen /pay attention to only a part of the
messages, you are imposing a barrier known as
Communication Selectivity.
 Here receiver is at fault and not the sender.
 This can also be part of written communication.

Interpersonal_Barriers_5
CULTURAL VARIATION
Business practices, social customs and
etiquettes of a particular country should be
taken into consideration when communicating
with people across the globe.
 This has become very important as nowadays
businesses are happening across national
boundaries.

POOR LISTENING SKILLS
We should just not HEAR but LISTEN when we
are the receiver in a communication process.
 Listening requires careful attention and
accurate decoding of the message.

Interpersonal_Barriers_6
NOISE IN THE CHANNEL
Noise is any unwanted signal which acts as a
hindrance in the flow of communication.
 Example- Disturbance in telephone lines, dim
typescripts, illegible handwriting, noisy place
etc…

Interpersonal_Barriers_7
ORGANIZATIONAL BARRIERS
Every organization has it’s communication
techniques and communication climate.
 Irrespective of it’s size, all organizations have
communication policies.
 These policies are referred as PROTOCOL.
 The complexity and structure of this protocol
can cause communication barriers.

MAIN ORGANIZATIONAL BARRIERS
1. Too many Transfer points
 2. Fear of Superiors
 3. Negative Tendencies
 4. Information Overload

TRANSFER STATIONS/
POINTS
Transfer stations are points at
which communication is passed.
 More the transfer stations, more is the likelihood
of message being distorted or lost
 For effective communication, we should have less
transfer points.
 In organizations, having rigid hierarchy, transfer
points are more.
 To have less transfer points, there should be direct
contact between sender and receiver.

OrganizationalBarriers_1
WHY DO MESSAGES GET DISTORTED AT
TRANSFER POINTS?
1. Poor Listening
 Lack of concentration
 Person’s tendency to leave out part of the
message

OrganizationalBarriers_1
FEAR OF SUPERIORS
In rigidly structured organization, subordinates
would be fearful of the superiors and would not
talk frankly.
 On the other hand, in an open environment
people will speak freely and will have active
participation during meetings with their
seniors.

OrganizationalBarriers_2
FEAR OF SUPERIORS

In written Communication
 Rigid
Environment – Employees might give all
information that they have in fear and end up giving
too bulky reports.
 Such unfocussed reports can be a wastage of time.
 Open Environment – Communication will flow
effectively in the organization.
OrganizationalBarriers_2
NEGATIVE TENDENCIES
Negative tendencies can arise due to improper
management of groups in an organization.
 Groups can be formal or informal.
 There can be conflict of ideas between group
members and non-group members.
 Example:- Extra-curricular activities group in
class being opposed by others.
 But good managers can use these groups for
the effective working of the organization.

OrganizationalBarriers_3
USE OF INAPPROPRIATE MEDIA

What are the different types of media that can
be used in an organization for communication?
 Graphs
and Charts, email, telephone,
presentations, teleconferencing, video-conferencing
etc
 Some factors to consider while choosing a
medium: time,
cost, type of message, intended audience
OrganizationalBarriers_4
WHEN TO USE WHAT?

What would you choose??
 1.
Conveying confidential information
 2. Declaring company outing
 3. Giving offer letter to a candidate
 4. Applying for leave
OrganizationalBarriers_4
INFORMATION OVERLOAD
Availability of huge amounts of data which the
receiver is unable to handle.
 Results in

 Fatigue
 Disinterest/Boredom
 Vital
information can get lost
 Quality of information goes down
OrganizationalBarriers_5
INFORMATION OVERLOAD

What can be done to avoid information
overload?
 Screening
of information
 Major points to be highlighted
 Information should be directed only to those who
are affected by it.
 Example:- Calendar of events for students should
not include teacher’s department meeting
schedule!!
OrganizationalBarriers_4
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Open environment
Keep receiver in mind
Avoid too many transfer points
Do not communicate when emotionally disturbed
Be aware of cultural diversity
Use appropriate non-verbal cues
Select suitable medium
Analyze feedback
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