Barriers to Effective Communication and Techniques to Overcome Them

Barriers to Effective Communication and Techniques to Overcome Them


Barriers to Effective Communication and Techniques to Overcome Them

Doug Robert in his journal Effective Communication defines Communication as the process of passing information from one person to another through a medium to reach a common understanding. Effective communication skills are important to a business success and are used to overcome the communication barriers and convey a clear and concise message. When barriers occur in organizations, stakeholders are at the risk of wasting both money and time to straiten the distorted message. Lack of effective communication hampers organization from productively conducting its operation and establishing long lasting relationships with customers (Roberts, 2011 p.457). According to Thibeaux, Tillotson & Falls, a considerable barrier in communication may occur when there are misunderstandings between the administration and its employees thereby preventing employees from expressing their opinions. Identifying barriers is the initial step to improving communication in an organization. This can be achieved by the use of a process called encoding (the process of organizing and selecting symbols to represent a message) (Thibeaux, Tillotson &Falls 2).

The following are the barriers to an effective communication and ways to overcome them as stated in the articles, Effective communication and Imposition of Diversity-The Imposition of Diversity-Training through Top down Management Communication, Language barriers may hinder organizations from attaining success. They include, Lack of essential communication skills and poor communication channels. Lack of essential communication skills occurs when the receiver misinterprets the message due to the sender’s failure to use the precise words in constructing the message. Grammar used may also prevent the receiver from properly encoding the message (Roberts, 2011 P.458). Poor communication channels are also barriers to effective communication. Senders may choose unsuitable channels to communicate. For instance, providing detailed information over the phone may be exasperating to the receiver as he or she is required to note down each important detail of the conversation. During this process, the receiver may forget some information and omit crucial details (Thibeaux, Tillotson &Falls 4).

Organizations should ensure that their structure is simple. The structure of an organization should not be complex, as this will deter effective communication. There should be a model that extents control within an organization. The simpler the organizational structure, the more effective the communication is, within the organization. Avoiding information overload is also a solution to communication barriers. Managers should come up with ways to strategize their work (Roberts, 2011 P.460). They should share their tasks with other employees to avoid work overload. This can be achieved through spending quality time with subordinates and giving feedbacks to their grievances. To ensure that there is effective communication in business, employers and employees should focus on giving positive feedback. Suppose the content of the message is negative, then constructive feedback should be given, as this will ensure great understanding of the message between managers and subordinates (Thibeaux, Tillotson & Falls 7).

Hahn in his article overcoming communication barriers in Organizations: Creating competent communicators discusses the communication barriers and their solution as follows-; Psychological barriers may also affect business success. Factors such as distrust, people’s state of mind, filtering, misperception and unhappy emotion can jeopardize an effective communication process. Cultural barriers are caused by conflicting perceptions in how business should be carried out Culture shapes the way we behave. They affect decision making in an organization as managers or human resource managers have different values, norms and behavior. Diverse cultural perceptions may lead to difference in knowledge, tradition and interests in an organization thus affecting day-to-day organizational operations. Another barrier to effective communication is semantic barrier. Use of jargon, slang brings misunderstands in the way messages are encoded as they are barriers to effective communication. Organizational barriers like technological failure, complexity in the way an organization is structured and time pressures also hinder appropriate business communication. For instance, messages may be delayed due to technical failure (Hahn, 2013 P.362). Sometimes employees work in haste to meet deadlines and may therefore shorten the formal communication channel, which may bring confusion among the supervisors thus distorting the message.

Other techniques as stated by Hahn include proper selection of communication channels, elimination of noise barriers, use of simple language without the use of jargons and slang, and elimination of differences in perception (cultural differences). He adds that allowing enough time so that there is no time pressure for the senders of the message and ensuring sufficient personal space can be an effective solution to communication barriers .Competent managers should build up awareness for all communication barriers and look for effective measures to cope with them. The percentage time spent by employers communicating with employees is said to increase the level of responsibility among employees (Hahn 368). Therefore, managers should spend time building strong relationships with the subordinates as it increases the chances of effective communication thus eliminating all the barriers. This can be achieved through meetings, involving workers in the main decision making process, e-mails, and facilitating communication through social networking.


Hahn M. (2013). Overcoming communication barriers in Organizations: Creating competent communicators. The Australian Management journal, 23(4): 361-370.

Roberts D. (2011). Effective communication. The Canadian Veterinary 52(5): 457-480.

Thibeaux, Tillotson & Falls (2006). Imposition of Diversity: The Imposition of Diversity-Training through Top down Management Communication. Journal of Diversity Management, 1(2):1-12.

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