4.Communication Barriers

In order for a company to function productively, it should improve its communication effectiveness. The information transmitted among employees must be sufficiently received and interpreted. However, this is not always the case since employees come from various educational, social, and cultural backgrounds. As a result, communication barriers exist. Consider the following barriers:

  • Noise:

 Communication theorists refer to two types of noise that get in the way of communications. This noise may be external or internal.

External Noise:

external noise refers to the physical sounds that stand in the communication. For example, if someone is talking while someone around you is printing documents and you cannot hear, then external noise-the printer is clocking the communication channel.

Internal Noise:

Internal noise comes from different backgrounds, experiences, and perceptions, which cause a person to interpret a communication in a certain way. In other words, internal noise is a learned response-learned through environment, culture, and the significant people in a person’s life. Consider this example; Majed and Wasfee see a group of office workers laughing together. Majed thinks, What a great place to work; the employees enjoy their work and cooperate with each other to get the job done. On the other hand, Wasfee thinks, I bet that department is extremely inefficient; no one is working. They are just standing around telling jokes. Majed’s perception is interpretation is that if you are having fun you can’t be working. Internal noise has affected how Majed and Wasfee have responded to the situation.

  • Language Usage

The language we use often prevents clear communication. Words by themselves have no meaning, they have meaning only because people have agreed upon a particular meaning. you may say, “but what about the dictionary? Doesn’t it contain the correct meaning of words?”  Yes, it contains the correct meaning as agreed on by etymologists (specialists in the study of words). This meaning can be called the objective meaning of a word, and we use the dictionary to determine this meaning. But meanings change with time and situations. New words come into existence, and other words become obsolete because of their lack of usage.

Another problem with the English language is that words may mean different things to different people. meaning of words is often subjective because meanings are based on our experiences and background.

  • Evaluation

The tendency to evaluate other people often gets in the way of communication. The following conversation occurred between Nadeeb and Omar. Nadeeb took the TOFFEL examination for the first time two years age. The first year Nadeeb got 350 words. The second years, he passed the examination by 550 words. Omar is taking the examination for the fist time next month.

Nadeeb: Omar, I just heard that you are going to take the TOFFEL exam next month. Good luck !

Omar: Thanks, but i feel quite confident. I don’t think I will have any trouble passing the exam. I have taken several review courses and have been studying all year.

Nadeeb: If I were you, K don’t think I would be so confident. It is really a tough exam.

What has Nadeeb done? He has immediately evaluated Omar. Nadeeb’s experience has led him to believe that the examination is difficult; he has trouble believing that anyone can be so confident. He probably did not even hear Omar say that he has been studying for a year and has taken several review courses. One of the major barriers to communication is the tendency to judge and to approve or disapprove of the person making the statement. this evaluation is made from the listener’s frame of reference and experience. if What is being said agrees with the listener’s experience, the listener tends make a positive evaluation of the person making the statement. However, if what is being said doesn’t agree with the listener’s experience, then a negative evaluation occurs.

What can be done to prevent or reduce the tendency to evaluate other people? you need to listen with understanding What does this mean?, It means seeing ideas from the other person’s point of view and trying to sense how the other person feels. If you listen with understanding, you may begin to comprehend the idea as the speaker comprehends it; you may have the courage to listen with understanding, communication will be improved greatly. You may even find that you have learned and grown in the process.

  • Inference

People sometimes jump to conclusions or infer things that are not true. People often make an inference, fail to recognize that inference has been made, and proceed to act upon the inference as if it were a certainty.

The first step in correcting inference problems is to be aware that you may be making an inference. Know the difference between an inference and an observation. Ask yourself, Did I observe this event or did I infer that it happened? And, if you inferred that it happened, what are the probabilities that your inference is correct/ Certainly there are times when you personally cannot observe an event, and it is necessary for you to infer its occurrence. But it is important to recognize inferences and to realize that inferences aren’t always correct.

  •  Allness

Communication theorists refer to a communication problem called allness which occurs when an individual presumes that what he or she says or knows is complete, absolute, and allinclusive. An individual cannot take one characteristic, idea, or detail and assume that he or she knows all or has said all there is to say about a person, subject, or concept> However, that is exactly what we do sometimes in communicating. Or two people may take different details from a given situation and assume that they know all there is to know. Then When these two people begin to talk about the situation, tremendous communication problem results.

What can you do to alleviate this communication problem? Be aware that you can never say or know everything about anything. Realize that you select and omit details when you communicate. IN listening to others, you should use questioning and restatement techniques to be sure all essential information is obtained. If you are talking or writing, make a habit of adding mentally and “etcetera” to remind yourself that you don’t have all the information.

  • The Time and Space Barriers

Both time and space may serve as barriers to effective communication. The same problem may occur when you geographically separate department or functions organization. The telephone may not provide the answer, the line may be busy when the call is placed. Memorandum sometime provides the answer to the space barrier.