Barriers to Effective Communication
There are many barriers to effective communication. Each form of communication, written, oral, or electronic, has its own benefits and drawbacks, and at times the message is not received by the recipient in the way the communicator intended. Barriers to communication can occur at any stage of the communication process, distorting the message. Skills such as active listening and reflection may help, but these skills must be employed by the recipient. The communicator is ultimately responsible for lowering the possibility of a distorted message.
Barriers to effective communication can be classified into six main categories. Language barriers can exist, not only among individuals who do not speak the same language, but even between two or more people with the same native tongue. Terminology, including the use of jargon, may impede communication. Psychological barriers can influence how a message is sent or received. A person who is angry, or under a significant amount of stress may cause misinterpretation. The physical barrier of geographic distance can distort meaning. Generally, communication is more effective over short distances. However, modern technology is helpful in reducing such barriers.
Other categories that serve as barriers to effective communication include physiological ones. An individual with hearing loss, for example, may not be able to hear a verbal communication effectively. Attitudinal barriers, such as a resistance to change, may prevent communication. Finally, systematic barriers within an organization, such as inefficient communication channels, can be a major barrier to effective communication.