Communication Skills & Potential Communication Barriers

General Communication Skills

Cultural Differences:
In different cultures certain words & gestures mean different things. In Britain, a nod of the head can mean "yes", or can be seen as an acknowledgment or greeting. Here are some things to be aware of:

- Using a finger/hand to call someone over can be seen as insulting or offensive,

- For some cultures eye-contact is considered disrespectful & rude,

Sometimes a situation will require you to use a communication tool in order to communicate with your recipient. These tools can include:

- Mobile devices

- Video chat software

- Social Media


This relates to body language and how the audience is presenting themselves.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills relate to signs, body language and verbal communication.

Interpersonal skills include:

- Methods (Tools used when communicating with someone face-to-face EG – Signing, Verbal exchanges)

- Language (The type of language you use, positive/negative, etc)

- Active engagement (Using a range of methods when talking face-to-face that ensures the recipient stays focused on the conversation)

- Questions (Open, Closed, Direct – the types of questions that can aid the communication process)

- Speed of Responses (This depends on the method of communication & relates to how fast you respond to a request for communication)

Written Communication Skills

Things related to written communication:

Grammar & Spelling:

Correct punctuation and grammar can tell the person you are communicating with a lot about you. Present yourself well by using good grammar & punctuation and ensure that you proof read large documents.


When sending a written message it is important to format it properly; this is usually dependent on whether the document is formal or informal.


This relates to how well-suited the content you're sending is. if your message needs to be written formally then you shouldn't include things like slang.


This is completed by another person to ensure that all written documents are checked for spelling, punctuation & grammar, structure and overall relevance.

Barriers to Effective Communication

General Barriers

- Cultural barriers (This can link to either a work culture or a culture of society)

- Physical barriers (Physical barriers are the easiest type of barrier to spot but can still be difficult to overcome. They can include removable barriers such as partitioning walls, "pod" walls and doors, as well as non-removable barriers like solid walls)

- Psychological barriers (The psychological state of the receiver will influence how the message is received. This includes the general mood of the receiver EG - angry, happy, sad, etc)

- Systematic barriers (This links to patterns of behaviour, policies or practices which are part of an organisation)

- Lack of knowledge (If the sender fails to include specific information the receiver may struggle to understand the message)

- Expectation (People often hear what they wish to or expect to hear rather than what is actually being said. This can result in people jumping to incorrect conclusions.

Interpersonal Barriers

Interpersonal barriers relate to the moods of the people trying to communicate, the quality of the communication (whether it is good or poor), emotional barriers and non-verbal barriers.

Attitudinal barriers:

These include behaviours and perceptions that prevent people from being able to communicate well and effectively. They may come about as a result of personality conflicts, lack of motivation or personal issues.

Emotional barriers:

Emotional barriers come about when people struggle to express their emotions effectively. This may involve certain issues being off-limits for discussion completely.

Non-verbal barriers:

These relate to long distance communication and come about when no face-to-face communication takes place. It can arise as a result of not being able to see and interpret facial expressions and physical reactions.

Written Communication Barriers

- Language barriers

- Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling

- Slang & Jargons

Language barriers are an increasing problem within global companies. They can be overcome by the use of translation software, although it can still be difficult to work with.

Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar are often an issue within informal messages. It can lead to the receiver misinterpreting what is being said.

Jargons and Slang are often used in what should be a formal message. They can result in the receiver not understanding the message. It can also lead to what should be a formal message becoming informal & inappropriate.