What are the common barriers to effective communication? Suggest measures to overcome them.
Barriers in Communication
Sometimes the information that reaches the receiver is not in the manner that the sender had intended. That is, at times there arises misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the information as it is passed from the sender to the receiver. This creates barriers in the effective flow of communication. Barriers to communication can be classified as follows.
1. Semantic Barriers: Semantic barriers of communication relate to the use or understanding of language. Sometimes it happens that certain words, sentences or phrases remain ambiguous or difficult to understand. Thereby, they are likely to get misinterpreted. Such barriers in communication that arise out of ambiguity or difficulty in understanding of words and sentences are known as semantic barriers. For example, sometimes while giving out instructions the senior or specialist uses technical vocabulary that might be difficult to understand for the subordinates. Similarly, at times two or more words have the same pronunciation (such as access and excess), that results in confusion regarding the correct interpretation of the word.
2. Psychological Barriers: Sometimes psychological factor such as frustration, anger, fright may also obstruct effective communication. For example, out of frustration over a certain matter, an individual’s mind may be preoccupied and he may not be able to attentively grasp the information given to him. Similarly, due to preconceived notions regarding a conversation, an individual might derive conclusions even before the information is completed.
3. Personal Barriers: Sometimes personal factors related to the sender or the receiver act as a hurdle in communication. For example, often in formal organisations, superiors do not share such information that they fear will harm their authority. Similarly, due to lack of trust on their subordinates, they may not be willing to pay attention to the information provided by them. In a similar manner, subordinates may lack the incentive to communicate freely with the superiors. Thus, in such cases effective communication is hindered due to personal factors pertaining to the sender and the receiver.
4. Organisational Barriers: In formal organisational structures, barriers to communication arise due to such factors as authority, rules, regulations, relationships, etc. For example, if an organisation follows long vertical chains of communication, it might result in delay in the flow of information. Similarly, a highly centralised organisational structure obstructs free communication.
Measures to overcome Barriers in Communication
The following are some of the measures that can be adopted to overcome various barriers of communication.
(i) The communication should take place as per the understanding level and capabilities of the receiver. That is, it must be ensured that the receiver is clearly able to understand the information.
(ii) The language, tone and content of the information should be appropriately chosen. It should be easily understandable and should not harm anybody’s sentiments.
(iii) For the communication to be effective proper feedbacks must be taken from the receiver. That is, he must be encouraged to respond during the conversation.
(iv) It must be ensured that the information is complete in all respect and nothing is left ambiguous.
(v) The core idea of the communication must be clear between the sender and the receiver. That is, it must be conveyed properly what the communication is about.
(vi) The sender of the information should also be a patient listener. He should be open to communication from the other end as well.