The communication barriers to effective communication are defined as those obstacles that may arise in the communication process, hindering the proper completion of the same or deformation of the original message.

As communication is a process of transmission of ideas and concepts that involves a sender, a receiver and a physical channel through which the message is transmitted, on occasions, said process may be affected or influenced by barriers that do not allow the message is interpreted correctly by the recipient to whom it is addressed.

Communication barriers are one of the reasons that cause the communication process to fail since they are all those alterations that try to impede, modify, or abruptly distort the messages that they are trying to transmit.


Types of communication barriers

Communication is a process through which information and the common understanding is passed from one person to another. If the message sent is not arriving complete, is received distorted, or simply does not arrive, a communication barrier is said to exist.

Among the factors or barriers that hinder good communication are the following:

  • Physical: interference that occurs in the communication environment and can be avoided (environmental noises, walls, glass, curtains) that distort or impede the understanding of the message.
  • Psychological: referring to the emotionality or personality of the sender and receiver that predisposes him in some way to a specific communication (nervous, scared, distracted).
  • Semantics: they have their origin in the limitations of the language or signs used in the communication process (ambiguous messages, excessive information).
  • Physiological: deficiencies or physiological defects that affect any sense partially or totally (deafness, aphonia, blindness).
  • Distortion arc: the difference between what is expressed consciously or verbally and what is unconsciously transmitted non-verbally, which creates confusion in the receiver.

Strategies to avoid communication barriers

As you already know, communication is a process that takes place in a given period of time, so it is necessary to keep several elements in mind to avoid barriers that may interfere and thus be able to communicate effectively.

Here are some useful strategies to avoid barriers in the communication process.

  • Be sure to communicate clear messages and in language that is understandable to the recipient. Avoid expressions that can obstruct communication.
  • Pay maximum attention because communication, which is an active process, requires the attention of all involved.
  • Control emotions that can affect communication and therefore send a different message to the one we want to send.
  • Use feedback to make sure the message is understood correctly.
  • Maintain consistency between verbal and non-verbal language and ensure that codes are common. Assume the differences and verify that the receiver handles the same codes and the same senses.
  • Plan the communication moment to avoid noise and interference to ensure that the message is received correctly.

Characteristics of Effective Communication

To avoid barriers or interference during the communication process, it must be effective. Failures in skill management can lead to misunderstandings or confusing information for recipients. Therefore, effective communication must have the following characteristics:

  • Clarity of the message: it is better to use short and simple sentences, as well as an active voice over a passive one. If several messages have to be transmitted then it is convenient to separate them.
  • Be concrete: the message must be well-founded, with certain bases. A tangible argument is much easier to understand.
  • Focus and attention: it is essential to focus well on the information while sending or receiving it because if you lose the focus of the information you can also lose the main parts of the message.
  • Be concise: time is an essential parameter in communication. A person’s normal attention span is only a few minutes. If you present the message too long, you may miss what is important or the key to it.
  • Consistency: it is important to present the information with the logical relationship that must exist between the parts or elements of the message. Taking care that there is no contradiction or opposition between them.
  • Emotional awareness: It is perhaps the most important aspect of effective communication. Emotions guide all situations and the important thing is to stay emotionally stable.
  • Listening to understand: communication not only means presenting or generating information, but it also means receiving it. A good listener is also aware of non-verbal communication, as it is the only way to correctly interpret the message.
  • Be courteous: The presenter must be honest, respectful, considerate, and kind to the recipient.

Finally, it is important to remember that a barrier is an obstacle that occurs during the communication process. However, this barrier is not an impediment to communicate because they can be controlled, but sometimes we ourselves cause it by not planning and controlling those possible interferences.

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