Communication is the process of sharing information and ideas with others. Communication can also be defined as a form of human behavior that includes symbolic acts, signs, and gestures. Communication involves the use of various types of language. Barriers to communication must be understood in order to be overcome.
Physical barriers include distance, noise, and physical appearance, among others. For example, if you’re trying to talk to someone far away, they might find it difficult to hear exactly what you are saying. Sometimes this can be overcome by using a phone call or email instead of face-to-face communication; however, these methods of communication are not always convenient or easy to use when someone lives remotely. When talking in person, physical barriers can be overcome by sitting closer together so that there isn’t much distance between each others—this allows people to hear each other better. Seamless communication is thus fostered.
Perceptual barriers include:
- How you perceive the other person or situation, and how they perceive you.
- Your ability to interpret what another person says. If a coworker says, “I’m going out for lunch now”, but you interpret this as “I am going to be late for work”, your interpretation can cause miscommunication.
- The way in which the other person perceives your abilities compared with their own. If someone believes that they are better at communicating than you, it may be problematic communicating with them. However, if both parties believe that they are equally able communicators, communication should flow smoothly.
Emotional barriers are the most difficult to overcome because they can be either positive or negative. Showing positive emotions such as joy or excitement may help communication. Negative emotions, such as anger or fear, on the other hand, maybe a hindrance. Emotions can be caused by factors either external (other people) or internal (our own thoughts).
Let’s take a look at the barriers to communication that confront people language-wise.
People who don’t speak the same language:
When you can’t understand someone, it’s difficult for them to express their thoughts or ideas.
People who don’t understand the same language:
Often when people are talking about something or asking for something if they’re not speaking in your native tongue they find it frustrating to make their point clear before receiving your answer.
People who don’t share the same language:
Some countries have more than one official language. If someone doesn’t speak your first language, this can be a problem when communicating with them. They won’t know what you’re saying unless you switch over to another language; from English to French, or German, etc., depending on where in Canada/America/Europe you are.
Cultural barriers are the most difficult to overcome. They include all the ways in which our culture differs from that of others, influencing how we think, feel, and act. We live in a complex system of values, beliefs, and behaviors that influence our own behavior. Cultural barriers can be difficult to identify because they often go unnoticed or unquestioned until there is a conflict between people of various cultures. Cultural barriers may also be based on stereotypes about others or ourselves that lead us to see others as quite different than ourselves. For example, you might assume that if someone looks Chinese they must be good at math. Or you may believe that Caucasians are lazy workers who don’t care about quality control—these beliefs would act as barriers preventing effective communication between yourself and people who fit those stereotypes!
It is best to remove physical or tangible barriers to communication as soon as possible
It is best to remove the physical or tangible barriers to communication at the earliest possible moment. The following are some of the more common barriers: noise, distance, language (both visual and spoken), lack of time, and technology, such as computers and telephones, which can be unfamiliar to some people.
The more you get to know your audience, the better you can tailor your message to their needs.