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Learning objectives:
Given explanations, demonstration examples and handouts, at the end of this
element an instructor trainee shall be able to:-
- Defne communication barrier
- Name types of communication barriers
- Describe each type of communication barrier
- Explain ways of overcoming communication barriers.
A message must be interpreted and understood in the same manner as the
sender meant it, otherwise it will not achieve the desired results and a
communication breakdown will occur. Barriers occur because communication
is handled by human beings who are diferent mentally, emotionally and
perceptional. All these human diferences plus the social, cultural and
environmental diferences may cause problems in conveying and receiving of
What is already in the mental flter afects the meanings that a person places on
messages and to some extent determines the new idea that the person chooses
to accept or reject.
What is communication barrier?
It is anything that obstructs communication from being efective.
1.Noise Barriers
Noise is any external factor that interferes with the efectiveness of
communication. The term is derived from noise or static efects in telephone
conversations or radio wave transmission. It may cause interference in the
process of communication by distracting or by blocking a part of the message or
by diluting the strength of the information. Some of the sources contributing to
the noise factor are: -
(a)Poor Timing
The teacher must know when to communicate. A message that requires action
in the distant future may be forgotten by the time action is to be taken.
Similarly, a last-minute communication with a deadline may put too much
pressure on the receiver and may result in resentment. A message must be sent
at an appropriate time to avoid these problems.
(b)Inappropriate Channel or Medium
A poor choice of channel of communication can contribute to the
misunderstanding of the message. The teacher must decide whether the
communication would be most efective if it is written, by a telephone call, a
face-to-face conversation, or a combination of these modes. If the
communication has been initiated through a telephone call, then it may be
necessary to confrm the message of the call by putting it in writing. The face-
to-face communication generally emphasizes the strength of the message,
because it is supported by non-verbal gestures of eye contact, hand gestures,
facial expressions, tone of voice.
c)Improper or Inadequate Information
The information must be meaningful to the trainee. It must be precise and to
the point. Too little or too much information endangers efective
communication. Ambiguity or use of words that can have diferent
interpretations should be avoided.
d)Physical Distractions
The teacher must recognize that in the case of face-to-face communication, any
distractions can interfere with the process. Telephone interruptions, walk-in
visitors, or attending to other matters can interfere with efective
communication. These external disturbances must be minimized or avoided
when possible.
e)Organizational/Institutional Structure
The organizational structure should be such that the chain of command and
channels of communication are clearly established and responsibility and
authority are clearly assigned. Communication may be blocked, chaotic, or
distorted if the channels are not clear, the passages are blocked, or there are
bottlenecks or dead ends.
f)Information Overload
Dynamic changes are continuously occurring in our life, in our society, and in
our organizations/institutions. Thus a mass of information to be processed
occurs. Overload occurs when individuals receive more information than they
are capable of processing. The result could be confusion in processing of
information or some important information may be laid aside for the purpose of
g)Network Breakdown
Network breakdown may be intentional or due to information overload and time
pressures under which a communication has to be acted upon.
2.Semantic Barriers
These barriers occur due to diferent in individual interpretations of words and
symbols. The words or paragraphs must be interpreted with the same meaning
as was intended. The choice of a wrong word or a comma at a wrong place in a
sentence can sometimes alter the meaning of the intended message.
3.Feedback Barriers
Feedback is the only way to ascertain how the message was interpreted.
Feedback closes the communication loop and is important for efective
communication. It is equally important to pay attention to feedback. Feedback
may be for the purpose of communicating the results of an action or it may be
for asking questions about the communication for further clarifcation.
4.Culture Barriers
Cultural diferences can adversely afect the communication efectiveness,
especially for multi-national companies and enterprises with a multi-ethnic
work force.
Perception relates to the process through which we receive and interpret
information from our environment and create a meaningful word out of it.
Various people may perceive the same situation diferently. Hearing what we
want to hear and ignoring information that conficts with what we know are
convinced is true can totally distort the intent or content of the message. Some
of the perceptual situations that may distort a teachers assessment to trainees
and people resulting in reduced efectiveness of communication are:
1.A teacher/principal may perceive trainees/people as stereotypes, rather
than individuals. For example, he may perceive women to be less
efcient INSTRUCTORS and old people less hard working or lacking
drive and creativity.
2.A teacher may make a total assessment of a person based on a single
trait or incident. A pleasant smile may make a positive frst impression.
Punctuality or loyalty alone may cause a favorable perception in the
mind of the teacher/principal. This is known as the halo efect. The
teacher may also make a total assessment of a person based on one
incident. This is known as a critical incident.
3.A teacher may assume that his trainees perception about things/lessons
may be similar to his own. A teacher who accepts added responsibility
and challenges with enthusiasm may expect the same from his fellow
teacher and trainees. This perception limits the teachers ability to
efectively respond to and deal with individual diferences and difering
views of work situations.
The institute (INSTRUCTORS) management must realize these diferences
in perceptions and take steps to understand the environment. A
successful teacher will be aware of the impact of factors that afect
perception. A successful teacher will also possess the ability to infuence
or change the perceptions of others, where necessary, so events and
situations are interpreted as accurately and objectively as possible. For
example, a trainee may resist a message simply because the trainee has
not developed a trust in the teacher due to past experiences. If the
trainees was promised a pass on certain subjects and did not receive the
promised rewards, he may tend to ignore the communication wherever
possible. Accordingly, the teacher must take steps to eliminate such
negative perceptions among the trainees.
6.Sender Credibility
When the sender of the communication has high credibility in the eyes of the
receiver, the message is taken much more seriously and accepted at face value.
If the receiver has confdence, trust, and respect for the sender, then the
decoding and interpretation of the message will lead to a meaning that is closer
to the intended meaning of the sender. Conversely, if the sender is not trusted,
then the receiver will scrutinize the message heavily and deliberately look for
hidden meanings or tricks and may end up distorting the entire message.
7.Words with many meanings
Many words in the English language have a diferent meaning when used in
diferent situations. Accordingly, a teacher must not assume that a particular
word means the same thing to all people who use it.
Attitudes are set of beliefs and feelings that individuals have about specifc
ideas, situation, or other people
Each of us has attitudes towards school jobs, other people, movies, politicians,
sports team, and almost everything else that might be a part of our lives.
Attitudes afect how we communicate with others in a variety of ways. For
example suppose you have two trainees. You like one trainee a great deal and
have a high regard for his/her capabilities and dedication to be
institution/center. That means you have a positive attitude towards him/her.You
strongly dislike the other trainee,however,and question his/her capabilities and
dedication-negative attitude.If the frst trainee asks for extra time of to visit a
sick friend,you may respond in a favorable way convey feelings of concern.But a
second trainee asks for time of for the same reason,you may deny the request
and may even question his/her truthfullness.Attitudes about the receiver afect
the senders encoding processes,and attitudes about the sender afect the
receivers decoding processes.
It is very important for the institutions (INSTRUCTORS) to recognize and
overcome barriers to efective communication for operational situations,
designing proper message, selecting appropriate channels for communicating
these messages, assisting receivers in decoding and interpreting, and providing
an efcient and efective feedback system. Some of the steps are as follows:
1.Talk and listen better, for facts as well as feelings.
2.Plan your messages well before transmitting them and have a clear objective.
3.Learn to choose your words better soon that your meanings are clear and do
not ofer others.
4.Encode and decode message appropriately tell it right, tell enough, tell soon
enough and tell often enough.
5.Try to be more understanding of each others point of view.
6.consider the feelings, needs and expectations of the recipient
7.Give feedback and seek feedback from others.
8.Dont overload recipient with unfamiliar jargons.
(a)Feedback and Upward Communication
Feedback helps to reduce misunderstanding. Information is transferred
more accurately when the receiver is given the opportunity to ask for
clarifcations and answers to clarifcations and answers to any questions
about the message. To-day communication, though is more time
consuming, leads to trust and openness, which then builds a healthy
relationship and contributes to communicate efectively. Keeping an open
door policy and providing opportunities for trainees/workers to give
suggestions strengthens upward communication. They should be taken
seriously by trainees/INSTRUCTORS/Principal through acknowledging
them and taking appropriate action.
(b)Improve Listening Skills
Listening is the other half of talking. It is also a very important part of the
total communication process. Listening is an active mental process and
goes beyond simple hearing. Good listening lead to better understanding
and good relationships with each other.
(c)Develop Writing Skills
Clearly written messages can help avoid semantic and perception barriers.
Well-written communication eliminates the possibility of misunderstanding
and misinterpretation. In writing messages, it is necessary to be precise, to
make the meaning as clear as possible so that it accomplishes the desired
(d)Avoid Credibility Gaps
Communication is a continuing process. The goal of communication is
understanding and trust. accordingly, institute management must sincere
and earn the trust of the trainees workers. Institute management should
not only be sensitive to the needs and feelings of the trainees and workers,
but also support promises by actions. The word of the institute
management should be as good as a bond. Only then can an atmosphere of
congeniality accrue, which enhances the communication process. According
to recent studies, openness and an atmosphere of trust build health
relationships and close any credibility gaps, thus contributing to
communication efectiveness.