Barriers of Communication

9 minute read
Barriers of Communication

Communication can be simply defined as the process of convening a message from one medium to another through Verbal, Nonverbal, Written, and Visual modes. Thus making the world a global village. But have you noticed how at times you miss out on essential discussions on a video conference due to poor signal? Or how you are not able to communicate your emotions to a friend/colleague? The major reason for this is having poor communication skills which can ultimately act as a barrier to effective communication. So, In this blog, we will explore, explain and discuss the various barriers of communication with examples and case studies.

Credit: TriduumLearningLabs

What are the Barriers of Communication?

Before going ahead with the list of communication barriers, let’s first try to understand and discuss the definition of barriers of communication. They are nothing but things or factors that prevent a message from being received. They can be physical, such as loud music, or emotional, such as when someone is too furious or afraid to listen to what another person is saying. Culture, language, and social standing can all be impediments to successful communication.

Common Barriers of Effective Communication

Regardless of the type of communication, there are certain types of barriers of effective communication.

  • Disinterest in one’s job
  • Inability to listen to others
  • Lack of transparency and trust
  • Different communication style
  • Confict in workplace
  • Cultural difference and language

List of Communication Barriers

Post understanding and explaining the barriers to communication, let’s quickly look at common types or the list of communication barriers to effective communication. Enlisted below are the various types of barriers of communication that hamper effective communication: 

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Physiological
  • Personal
  • Language
  • Attitudinal
  • Organisational
  • Cultural barriers or cultural differences 
  • Emotional barriers and taboos

Let’s now understand and discuss the barriers of communication that are mentioned above in little depth.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers are a result of disturbances in our surroundings which leads to ineffective communication. Its examples include inadequate equipment such as outdated computers, Internet connectivity, background noise, poor lighting, fluctuating temperatures, etc. Basically, climate, distance, and the time gap between the sender and receiver are the major causes of concern when it comes to the barriers in effective communication.

Psychological Barriers

Sometimes, strong emotions like anger or sadness, nervousness, personal grudges, etc can affect our mental well-being, thus, making communication less than effective. Such inner faring emotions are known as emotional noise or Psychological Barriers and it is one of the powerful barriers to communication. 

Semantic or Language Barriers

As the name suggests, one of the main barriers is Semantic barriers in communication. You may find it a minor obstacle, but people who speak the same language can have difficulty understanding each other. Furthermore, this gap widens with a change in the region, country, and generations. The professional jargon and regional colloquialisms can pinch communicators with even the best intentions.  

Example of Semantic Barrier

Following are the main types of semantic barriers of communication:

  • Bad Expression Bad expression states use of wrong words while conveying any message. Messages which are not properly formulated or are misinterpreted consumes a lot of time as it requires a lot of effort to make it correct. The clarification just reduces the impact of the message.
  • Faulty Translation of the messages – This happens when a recipient receives the message as per his own level of understanding. To have an intended response its better to mold the message according to the understanding level of the person.
  • Unclarified Assumptions – There are also assumptions which gets created while conveying a message due to certain things. In the case of special message, if the assumptions are unknown and vague to the receiver then the communication might be adversely affected.

Physiological Barriers

When the physical condition of either the receiver or the sender is not well, it leads to a barrier in communication. Ill-health, poor eyesight, having hearing difficulties, etc are some examples of physiological obstacles to effective communication. 

Cultural Noise 

People often fall into assumptions based on their peer’s cultural backgrounds and the associated stereotypes, and this hampers effective communication. Examples of cultural noise include non-verbal cues, knowledge, language, behaviours, customs, etc. For example, if you intend to communicate with a person from Saudi Arabia, having less knowledge about their cultural and political scenarios can act as a barrier. 

Problems with Structural Design 

Companies or institutions can have unclear organizational structures making communication difficult. For instance, if the roles and responsibilities of a newly recruited employee are not specified to both, he and his colleagues, discrepancies can arise in communicating effectively. Poor communication systems, lack of supervision, and employee training can be considered as an obstruction to effective communication. 

Lack of Common Experience 

Among others, the lack of common experience is one of the most observed barriers to communication. While it is a great idea to use examples or stories to explain or enhance a point,  however, if one is unable to relate to these examples because of a lack of knowledge or shared experiences, then this process will be completely ineffective. 

Ambiguity while Communicating 

The unnecessary usage of jargon, proverbs, difficult vocabulary or technical terms can often lead to ambiguity and unclear transmission of information. This can eventually lead to misinterpretation. For instance, an article on “Causes of Inflation” in the newspaper may be useful to some, but others might get confused with the technical terms used. 

Information Overload

Among others, information overload is one of the common barriers to communication. Be it from online sources or that from offline resources, it takes time to process large quantities of information. Further, too many details can overwhelm as well as distract the reader from forming a basic understanding. 

Poor Listening Skills

This is equally one of the most common barriers to communication. Often, people don’t listen to a conversation fully and end up making an assumption. This can also be due to Physical barriers or differences in opinions.   

Physical Barriers

The objects present around in the environment or the conditions that are ongoing around us act as physical barriers in communication. These may be technological or naturally occurring events that hamper the message. The most common examples of physical barriers would be Doors, Walls, Windows, Glass Walls, etc. You might have experienced that whilst conveying a message from a room when the door is locked, it is difficult for the receiver to understand what all is said because of the door is a barrier. Let’s have a look at some of the main physical barriers of communication- 


You will come across plenty of barriers present in the environment. It is often difficult to overcome such barriers to have fluent communication. For example, during heavy rainfall, if you are present on the streets it would be difficult for you to either convey or understand the message that is conveyed by a person present on the other side of the street. 

Ignorance of Medium

Often people use signs or symbols to communicate or convey a particular message. Communications of this type are often hampered due to ignorance. If the other person lacks knowledge of the medium that is used to send the message, then, there are chances that the receiver is not able to fully understand the message. 


Distance is one of the most common barriers of communication but it can be resolved in the simplest ways. You might have come across that the employees of a particular team or project in organizations are often made to sit together so that they can communicate effectively. 

Organizational Barriers of Communication 

For an organization to work smoothly, it is vital that a chain of fluent communication runs between all the employees. In spite of adopting various measures to combat the organizational barriers of communication, there are situations that often take place due to miscommunication barriers. Let’s go to the below-mentioned points and analyze what are the main barriers in organizations- 

  • Information Overload: The transfer of excessive information often leads to being a barrier in communication. 
  • Timing: Time is a major barrier when it comes to communicating something important. If the message is not sent/ received at a particular time, it can lead to delay in the functioning of the organization.
  • Information Gaps: Whenever a piece of information is being passed through multiple sources, information gaps occur. It is observed that often few pieces of information are lost and only parts are retained at some levels.
  • Cultural Differences: The organisations that are involved in the overseas business of in fine cultural difference a difficult barrier to overcome. 

How to Overcome Barriers of Communication?

Now that we have very well understood the various barriers of communication and their types, now is the time to get a hold of practices that will help us in overcoming such barriers. You can follow the below-mentioned pointers to reduce or eradicate barriers in communication- 

  • Using clear and common language that the other person can understand
  • Before initiating communication, cross-checking whether it is the ideal time to communicate or not 
  • Conveying things in a simpler form and in one-by-one manner 
  • Opting a barrier or distraction-free location for communication
  • Cross-checking whether the receiver has understood the message in the right sense 
  • Acknowledging any emotional feedback by the receiver

Barriers of Communication Notes

Case Study on Barriers of Communication

Given below is a case study on barriers to communication that will you better understand and explain the communication barriers: (Courtesy: Research Gate)


What are the main barriers of communication? OR What are the common barriers of communication? 

Although the hurdles to successful communication may vary depending on the context, the following are some of the main barriers of communication:
Linguistic Barriers
Psychological Barriers
Emotional Barriers
Physical Barriers
Cultural Barriers
Organizational Structure Barriers or organizational Barriers
Attitude Barriers
Perception Barriers

What is the meaning of barriers of communication? OR Explain the barriers to communication OR What is the meaning of barriers to communication?

To comprehend or explain the barriers to communication, it is necessary to first grasp the necessity and importance of effective communication. In short, communication is essential not just for conveying information and facts, but also for establishing and strengthening relationships. To express ideas, sentiments, thoughts, and emotions in a clear and understood manner, communication should be brief and direct. Having said that, communication obstacles hinder us from accurately receiving and accepting the messages used by others to express their information, thoughts, and ideas.

What are the 10 barriers of communication process? 

Here are the 10 barriers in communication process, effective communication, and persuasion:
Physical and physiological barriers 
Emotional and cultural noise 
Nothing or little in common 
Lack of eye contact
Information overload and lack of focus 
Not being prepared, lack of credibility 
Talking too much 
Trying too hard, seeming desperate 
Lack of enthusiasm

What are the different socio-psychological barriers to communication?

To be effective, communication must be free of barriers that hinder the free flow of information. The most challenging communication hurdles are social and psychological issues. These include the following:
Attitude and opinions 
Status difference
Closed mind 
Poor retention
Premature evaluation 

What are the mechanical barriers of communication?

A mechanical barrier of communication is caused by a flaw in the machinery or instruments used to convey the message. Mechanical communication obstacles include loud communication machines or instruments, a lack of communication instruments, transmission interruption, and power outages.

Hence, to effectively communicate with an individual or a larger audience, one needs to identify and look for plausible solutions to barriers in communication. Not just limited to communicating information verbally, one also needs to pay special attention to written communication. This skill is assessed at various fronts, including your Statement of Purpose [SOP]/Personal Essay for university admissions. If you also feel confused about what information to add, consult the experts at Leverage Edu who will assist in writing an impressive SOP that not only highlights your academic and professional achievements but also lays emphasis on how you will be an asset to the university you wish to study in!

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