Barriers to effective communication in an organization

Barriers to effective communication in an organization

Communication is one of the essential factors that lead to the thriving of business, alongside teamwork, cooperation, and several others. Communication issues develop hardships and difficulties for most organizations. The principal barriers to effective communication include gender differences, language, physical separation, cultural diversity, and status differences. The fact remains that when an organization identifies their communication issues, they can find resolutions that will result in a drastic improvement in the working conditions, organizational culture, and sales.

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Here we will offer you the factors that affect the communication process. Effective communication acts as a lifeline of every business. This is because if anything goes astray, it can cost the organization.

Communication barriers

Here are some of the factors that hinder communication and some of the ways to overcome them.

1. Cultural barriers

Culture is socially transmitted beliefs, arts, behavior, languages, traditions, ideas, rituals, architectures, norms, and signs. These cultures are shared and learnt among social groups with similar religion, nationality, or even ethnicity. Political opinions, age, life priorities, and reference frames are also among the culture barriers as well.

Cultural diversity is a communication barrier because of the different cultural mindsets. The languages, symbols, and signs are different as well. This means that culture forms the way individuals behave and think. When individuals belonging to a different culture meet, communication becomes an issue. How do you overcome cultural barriers? What you should do is to take the obstacles as a cross-culture that allows you to learn new ideas, new perspectives, and as gaps for creativity.

2. Noise

Noise is the foremost barrier to effective communication. It is a random or a persistent disturbance that reduces, confuses, or obscures the clarity and interpretation of a message. There are numerous forms of communication noise. They include:

  • Physical interruptions - caused by people
  • Technology interruptions such as a new email and a ringing telephone
  • The inclusion of unsystematic approach or irrelevant material to any subject matter
  • External noise –it is caused by distracting activities that are ongoing nearly like traffic noise

To overcome noise barrier, you have to close doors and windows, identify where the sound is coming from, get rid of physical distraction sources such as phones, omit wordy or irrelevant written document materials, and ensure that the technology at the organization is working effectively.

3. Wrong assumptions

Assuming things to be true even without proof or question to seek for clarification is among the communication barriers in an organization. We should avoid acting impulsively on assumptions and try to maintain the goodwill. Here is one of the communication barriers examples, if a client writes to an organization that he/she would love to visit them at the office without mentioning that she/he wants them to pick him/her up. The organization staff will assume that the client will manage to get to the office all by her/himself, it will not maintain its goodwill. To tackle this barrier, you have to make efforts to put yourself in your listener’s shoes.

4. Poor listening

It is a severe communication barrier as most individuals are interested in talking, especially about themselves or what concerns them. Most are too much involved with themselves to the extent of not practicing a little patience when it comes to listening. The words the speaker will say will go to waste at the end of it all. The fact remains that we are all aware of the vitality of listening though very few individuals practice active, emphatic, and patient listening. To overcome the cropping up of communication issues, we have to pay closer attention.

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5. Lack of plans

Most people take communication lightly; just like a casual affair. This is the reason as to why we tend to send unplanned messages. For instance, you can present your message with graphs and tables rather than giving ill-planned and long-winding lectures. Unanticipated message presentation makes an individual to give miscommunication. We should also choose an appropriate place and time necessary for proper and effective communication.

6. Emotion

Defining emotions is hard though the fact remains that they are fundamental to passing of information and human beings. Feelings are among the barriers of verbal communication that influence both the decoding and encoding of messages. If you receive a message when you are emotionally worked up, you will give it a different meaning compared to when you are composed and calm. Avoid anger; it is the worst enemy and emotion of effective communication.

7. Socio-psychological barriers

For communication to be effective, the communicator and the listener should be emotionally well with no mental disturbance. We all have unique minds. Furthermore, communication doesn't work like numbers or in machines. This clearly states that the message matters as much as the speaker and the listener. For instance, a boss sends particular information to an employee he/she does not trust making the communication to be ineffective.

READ ALSO: Everyday words used in Ghanaian communication

8. Semantic problems

Semantic is the as the study of meaning; the issues that arise from transmission or expression of meaning. Written or oral communication is based on words while words are limited to numbers and you can use them in unlimited ways. Some of the examples of semantic barriers include usage of slang, poor language, and jargon. For instance, if a nurse goes to deliver health education to cardiac patients, he/she should avoid using idioms like ‘anticoagulants,’ ‘coronary artery disease,’ ‘C-reactive proteins,’ and ‘homocysteine.’ The patients will keenly listen though they will not understand. To overcome this communication barrier, the nurse could have used simple terms and words such as ‘certain chemicals that are in our bodies.’ In this way, the patients will understand and benefit from the health education talk.

9. Loss or dilution by transmission

When a message passes on from one individual to another, the communication gets diluted. A series of transmission makes the communication to suffer on the way. To overcome this, the message has to undergo special care so that it can reach the intended individual without getting diluted.

10. Lack of sufficient time for adjustment

Individuals respond to changes in very different ways. This means that we all need time for adjustment to any proposal or news for a change. The primary purpose of effective communication is to effect change. An example of how to overcome such interpersonal communication barriers is if an employee shift or duty changes, then he or she should be given time for adjustment.

11. Offensive styles of communication

If you use an offensive method to portray your message, it will undoubtedly result in ineffective communication. Aggressive style is one of the communication barriers that are very sensitive. For instance, if an employer offensively sends information, the workers will become very defensive resulting in a strained relationship. To overcome this communication barrier, an organization should adopt the using of stern but kind and persuasive style.

12. Selective perception

Selective perception means a receiver who selectively hears and sees depending on his/her background, experience, needs, and almost all personal characteristics. It is where a receiver protects his/her decoding for their expectation and interests in the communication process. Selective perception leads to ineffective communication because of the kind of feedback the receiver may get.

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13. Poor retention

Fact remains that your memory can’t function beyond a certain limit. Therefore you can quickly forget information or events. We mostly forget things when we are not attentive or when we are not interested, which leads to ineffective communication. What is likely to arise is the necessity for the repetition of the message. To overcome this communication breakdown, you can communicate the same message via using more than one medium.

14. Goal conflicts

Conflict can only be present when there is an expression struggle. Goal lashes of organization units and sub-units can lead to ineffective communication. It is vital for you to be aware that passing on information should forever serve as ‘conflict-reduction’ exercises while the goal conflict should act as a ‘communication reduction’ mechanism. The different units of an organization that internalizes most of their goals results to the bifurcation or splitting of interests. Fact remains that when most people commence competing for their fulfillment, communication will suffer a breakdown.

15. Information overload

When there is an unchecked inflow of messages, it becomes a communication barrier. This is because you get bogged down with loads of information that may frustrate you leading you to make many errors that can cost the organization. The feedback will also be delayed and most likely selective.

16. Filtering

It means that the message sender manipulates the info so that it can favor the receiver. For instance, an employee may filter some information to make his/her boss happy. What is the net result? The communication will break down, the boss will not be aware of the objective, and most important information.

Yes, communication barriers are numerous, but with attention and care, any organization can overcome most of them. Ensure that the barriers to effective communication are less so that the organization can have chances of achieving its objectives and goals.

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