The process of communication has multiple barriers. The intended communique will often be disturbed and distorted leading to a condition of misunderstanding and failure of communication. The Barriers to effective communication could be of many types like linguistic, psychological, emotional, physical, and cultural etc. We will see all of these types in detail below.
The language barrier is one of the main barriers that limit effective communication. Language is the most commonly employed tool of communication. The fact that each major region has its own language is one of the Barriers to effective communication. Sometimes even a thick dialect may render the communication ineffective.
As per some estimates, the dialects of every two regions changes within a few kilometers. Even in the same workplace, different employees will have different linguistic skills. As a result, the communication channels that span across the organization would be affected by this.
Thus keeping this barrier in mind, different considerations have to be made for different employees. Some of them are very proficient in a certain language and others will be ok with these languages.
There are various mental and psychological issues that may be barriers to effective communication. Some people have stage fear, speech disorders, phobia, depression etc. All of these conditions are very difficult to manage sometimes and will most certainly limit the ease of communication.
The emotional IQ of a person determines the ease and comfort with which they can communicate. A person who is emotionally mature will be able to communicate effectively. On the other hand, people who let their emotions take over will face certain difficulties.
A perfect mixture of emotions and facts is necessary for effective communication. Emotions like anger, frustration, humour, can blur the decision-making capacities of a person and thus limit the effectiveness of their communication.
Physical Barriers to Communication
They are the most obvious barriers to effective communication. These barriers are mostly easily removable in principle at least. They include barriers like noise, closed doors, faulty equipment used for communication, closed cabins, etc. Sometimes, in a large office, the physical separation between various employees combined with faulty equipment may result in severe barriers to effective communication.
Cultural Barriers of Communication
As the world is getting more and more globalized, any large office may have people from several parts of the world. Different cultures have a different meaning for several basic values of society. Dressing, Religions or lack of them, food, drinks, pets, and the general behaviour will change drastically from one culture to another.
Hence it is a must that we must take these different cultures into account while communication. This is what we call being culturally appropriate. In many multinational companies, special courses are offered at the orientation stages that let people know about other cultures and how to be courteous and tolerant of others.
Organisational Structure Barriers
As we saw there are many methods of communication at an organizational level. Each of these methods has its own problems and constraints that may become barriers to effective communication. Most of these barriers arise because of misinformation or lack of appropriate transparency available to the employees.
Certain people like to be left alone. They are the introverts or just people who are not very social. Others like to be social or sometimes extra clingy! Both these cases could become a barrier to communication. Some people have attitude issues, like huge ego and inconsiderate behaviours.
These employees can cause severe strains in the communication channels that they are present in. Certain personality traits like shyness, anger, social anxiety may be removable through courses and proper training. However, problems like egocentric behaviour and selfishness may not be correctable.
Different people perceive the same things differently. This is a fact which we must consider during the communication process. Knowledge of the perception levels of the audience is crucial to effective communication. All the messages or communique must be easy and clear. There shouldn’t be any room for a diversified interpretational set.
Certain disorders or diseases or other limitations could also prevent effective communication between the various channels of an organization. The shrillness of voice, dyslexia, etc are some examples of physiological barriers to effective communication. However, these are not crucial because they can easily be compensated and removed.
Technological Barriers & Socio-religious Barriers
Other barriers include the technological barriers. The technology is developing fast and as a result, it becomes difficult to keep up with the newest developments. Hence sometimes the technological advance may become a barrier. In addition to this, the cost of technology is sometimes very high.
Most of the organizations will not be able to afford a decent tech for the purpose of communication. Hence, this becomes a very crucial barrier. Other barriers are socio-religious barriers. In a patriarchal society, a woman or a transgender may face many difficulties and barriers while communicating.