L33T Index

Barriers of effective communication

Introduction to barriers

Often when communicating whether it’s through social media, to someone in person or a written message, there can be a barrier. This is when something stops them from receiving this message or it's distorted and not understood correctly. Barriers can affect all forms of communication. General, interpersonal and written communication have there own barriers that could affect them.

General communication

Some barriers that can affect general communication skills are:

  • Cultural barriers
  • Physical barriers
  • Physiological barriers
  • Systematic barriers
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Expectation

All these can affect the way you communicate and may need you to take some steps to overcome them.

Physical barriers

Physical barriers are one the more obvious barriers to spot when communicating. Picture yourself in an office doing your daily tasks when you are stumped and need to ask your college how to do something your not entirely sure of. However, the office you are in is big and there are cubicles with boards splitting each pod that you work in up. You start speaking to him/her and they are unsure what you are trying to ask. This is because the board is distorting your voice. You are unable to communicate effectively through it.

To overcome this you could stand up and go to them to stop this blocking your voice and body language or you could simply email them. Some work places to overcome such problems have removed the use of boards at each side of your pod to allow effective communication between colleges.

Interpersonal communication

As we touched on earlier interpersonal communication skills evolve around face to face contact and the body language you show when communicating. This can be the hardest of all the barriers to over come. It's about how you show yourself to other people and how they judge you. Some other barriers affecting interpersonal are:

  • Attitudinal barriers
  • Emotional barriers and taboos
  • None verbal- barriers

None verbal barriers

Speaking to someone but not being able to see them is less effective than being able to see there body language. However, if the person is in front of you the following can come across as bad:

  • Inappropriate posture
  • Lack of eye contact
  • inappropriate expressions
  • Being distracted

Being distracted when someone is talking, swinging on your chair for example, can cause the person to think your aren't interested or ignorant. A lack of eye contact can come across as your shy or not confident. These can be big barriers to communicate as effectively as possible. The best way to overcome none verbal barriers is to sit up right and show active listening by looking them in the eye and nodding ever so often. This will show your professional, confident and are actively listening.

Written communication

Written communication barriers can come in many forms, some are obvious and others you wouldn't usually be aware of till highlighted. Some of these barriers are:

  • Language barriers
  • Layout/Format
  • Slang/Jargon
  • Dyslexia

As you can see there is quiet a few different barriers when coming to written communication which can effect how well we communicate to one an other.


Slang/Jargon can be a big barrier when trying to communicate with someone effectively. If you use slang when trying to send an email for instance, they might not know what you mean. With England being such a diverse country there's loads of different slang that goes about in different parts of England. For example 'Mardy' is a word common in Derby and Nottingham but other people won't know the meaning of this. It is always important that we use proper English when trying to do written communication to prevent this from happening. Jargon is also a big problem. Try putting yourself in someones shoes and there using technological terms that lets say a lawyer would use. You wouldn't have a clue what they mean. Always try to be as clear, and simple as you can when communicating to someone who doesn't particularly know what you mean.

Author: Kane Lemon