Barriers To Effective Communication – And How To Overcome Them

by Diane M. Hoffmann, ph.d./th.

Just as multi-faceted communication itself is, the barriers to effective communication can be just as wide and deep. They can be physical or psychological, individual or social.

Some people have problems communicating which in turn brings the worse in others. If you have two people with good communication skills relating to each other, the conversation or the relation can be just as effective, wonderful and enjoyable as it can be. But the moment you pair one good communicator together with one bad, you create barriers to effective communication.

Some of the barriers are tangled into a problem of individual attitude. This can be the result of rebelling against poor communication coming from management in a work place environment, or parents at home, or a spouse, or friends in other personal areas.

Some people may have psychological problems from personal health or struggles. Communication barriers can come from language misunderstandings stemming from cultural differences, etc. They can be linguistics which is the use or misuse of uncommon or difficult words. They can be from types of personality which is a major player in creating barriers to effective communication.

All these can be found within personal, interpersonal, social, organizational, etc., making for a myriad of barriers to effective communication that one can avoid only through learning and training.

Some of the difficulties might be from a lack of sensitivity either from a sender or a receiver’s point of view, or a lack of basic communication skills, or a lack of knowledge on a subject matter that one might be too proud to admit.

Other communication difficulties may be from emotional instabilities such as anger, hostility, resentfulness, fear, mood swings. All of these create conflicts and barriers to effective communication. As you can see, there is no limit to this subject list.

But the good news in all of it is that something can be done about overcoming these barriers. There is room for improving our communication skills, no matter at what level we are. Even a professor in communication can have problems communicating, because of one or another of the areas listed above.

The barriers to effective communication could be called just as well, the problems to effective communication. So we need to ask ourselves, what are the problems that I’m finding in communicating with others? As we list the problems, it is important to recognize which side those problems belong to. You might have a problem communicating with someone at work because he/she can’t communicate.

Communication is a two-way street. If you are the only one communicating, it will be pretty difficult to resolve the problems. Then what do you do? Send the individual to a communication course? Teach them how to communicate every time there is a misunderstanding, a conflict or no communication at all? They may not be too receptive to the idea.

Sometimes, the only thing we can do in such cases is to ignore, give understanding, forgive and work around it. But with the problems or barriers to effective communication that fall squarely on us, the thing to do is to start working on them through taking courses and seminars, reading books, etc. Then the next most important factor is to put what we learn into relentless practice – one problem or barrier at a time./dmh

Article Copyright(c)Diane M. Hoffmann. You may print this article making sure to include the following bio without any changes.

Diane M. Hoffmann is the founder of Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications and author of the 296-page printed book "Contextual Communication, Organization and Training". Diane also provides a 2-part e-book version of her printed book, "Improve Communication, Verbal and Nonverbal" and "Improve Communication, Organization and Training" as well as many free articles which can be seen at her blog at

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