L33T Index Newsletter

Barriers to Effective Communication - Joseph Whitehouse

Barriers to General Communication

A barrier to effective verbal communication would be if the person that the speaker is trying to talk to speaks a different language and cannot understand what the speaker is trying to tell them. On a professional level, if you were giving a speech or speaking to colleagues it would be unlikely that you would have to deal with someone who does not speak the same language as you, and if you were you would most probably be briefed about it beforehand so that you would be able to deal with it effectively.

This would be a very hard barrier to overcome because it basically prevents any verbal communication – other than very simple terms – from happening. A way that the speaker could try to overcome it would be to try and get a translator to help them or use other types of communication, such as gestures or drawing pictures if that would help. However, the speaker should ensure that he does not come across unprofessional or insulting to the listener. You could also literally show them what you are trying to tell them, this would incorporate the use of body language.

Barriers to Interpersonal Communication

A barrier to understand body language, would be if you couldn’t physically see the speaker. This could happen if you were taking a conference call or just a normal phone call to a colleague.

Without being able to see the speaker it does not allow you to see non-verbal cues such as gestures to what the speaker is trying to show you or describing, posture and general body language. Without a mixture of all these things then a listener may get confused about what they are being a told.

A way a listener could overcome this could be ask the speaker to clarify something if they don’t quite understand what was said, or failing that ask someone else what they think. If a speaker was really unconfident about verbally communicating without being able to see the speaker they should try to practise as verbal communication with this barrier is almost unavoidable at an office work space.

A speaker could overcome this barrier by making sure what they are saying makes sense without the use of body language or their hands, this would mean that they would need to be very clear in their wording and be sure to be speaking in a skill based language that the listener will understand, by not using too much technical jargon if the listener is not very confident with it.

Barriers to Written Communication

A barrier to effective written communication could be not ensuring that your communication type, whether it be a letter an email or even just a text message actually makes sense and isn’t a flurry of words typed down in a nonsensical way. The best and most effective way to do this would be to proof read everything before sending it off. Often you forget to type a word which renders the rest of the sentence meaningless and a quick proof read will quickly help you identify this mistake.

Another way you can get over this barrier would be to use the spell checker function which comes with most programs that are used for mass typing. Using this will highlight and words that are spelt incorrectly.

If you cannot produce written communication that is literate then it will often make people doubt your credibility, makes you look unprofessional and would dissuade someone to trust you or want to reply. This would be a very bad scenario as it would limit how you could contact with people majorly, seeing as written communication is amongst the best ways to get a lot of information across relatively easily.