Barriers to Effective Communication
For the convenience of study the different barriers can be divided into four parts:
(1) Semantic Barriers,
(2) Psychological or Emotional Barriers,
(3) Organizational Barriers,
(4) Personal Barriers.
• (1) Semantic Barriers
There is always a possibility of misunderstanding the feelings of the sender of the message or getting a wrong meaning of it. The words, signs, and figures used in the communication are explained by the receiver in the light of his experience which creates doubtful situations. This happens because the information is not sent in simple language. The chief language related barriers are as under: (i) Badly Expressed Message: Because of the obscurity of language there is always a possibility of wrong interpretation of the messages. This barrier is created because of the wrong choice of words, in civil words, the wrong sequence of sentences and frequent repetitions.
(ii) Symbols or Words with different Meanings:
A symbol or a word can have different meanings. If the receiver misunderstands the communication, it becomes meaningless. For example, the word ‘value’ can have the following meanings:
(a) What is the value of computer education these days?
(b) What is the value of this mobile set?
(c) I value our friendship.
(iii) Faulty Translation:
A manager receives much information from his superiors and subordinates and he translates it for all the employees according to their level of understanding. Hence, the information has to be molded according to the understanding or environment of the receiver. If there is a little carelessness in this process, the faulty translation can be a barrier in the communication.
(iv) Unclarified Assumptions:
It has been observed that sometimes a sender takes it for granted that the receiver knows some basic things and, therefore, it is enough to tell him about the major subject matter. This point of view of the sender is correct to some extent with reference to the daily communication, but it is absolutely wrong in case of some special message.
(v) Technical Jargon:
Generally, it has been seen that the people working in an enterprise are connected with some special technical group who have their separate technical language. Their communication is not so simple as to be understood by everybody. Hence, technical language can be a barrier in communication. This technical group includes industrial engineers, production development manager, quality controller, etc.
(vi) Body Language and Gesture Decoding:
When the communication is passed on with the help of body language and gestures, its misunderstanding hinders the proper understanding of the message. For example, moving one’s neck to reply to a question does not indicate properly whether the meaning is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
(2) Psychological or Emotional Barriers
The importance of communication depends on the mental condition of both the parties. A mentally disturbed party can be a hindrance in communication. Following are the emotional barriers in the way of communication:
(i) Premature Evaluation:
Sometimes the receiver of information tries to dig out meaning without much thinking at the time of receiving or even before receiving information, which can be wrong. This type of evaluation is a hindrance in the exchange of information and the enthusiasm of the sender gets dampened.
(ii) Lack of Attention:
When the receiver is preoccupied with some important work he/she does not listen to the message attentively. For example, an employee talking to his boss when the latter is busy in some important conversation. In such a situation the boss may not pay any attention to the talk of the subordinate. Thus, there arises psychological hurdle in communication.
(iii) Loss by Transmission and Poor Retention:
When a message iş received by a person after it has passed through many people, generally it loses some of its truth. This is called-loss by transmission. This happens normally in case of oral communication.
Poor retention of information means that with every next transfer of information the actual form or truth of information changes. According to one estimate with each transfer of oral communication the loss of information amounts to nearly 30%. This happens because of the carelessness of human behavior, Therefore, lack of transmission of information in its true or exact form becomes a hindrance in communication.
For successful communication the transmitter and the receiver must trust each other. If there is a lack of trust between them, the receiver will always derive an opposite meaning from the message. Because of this, communication will become meaningless.