Barriers of Communication: What is Communication? and Effective Ways to Improve Communication

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Barriers of Communication

Barriers of Communication: What is communication? What are the skills one needs to inculcate for effective communication? Communication can be simply defined as the process of conveying 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.

In this blog, we will explore, explain and discuss the various barriers to communication with examples and case studies. Let’s delve into the details of it!

What is Communication?

The act of exchanging information, ideas, sentiments, or messages with another person or group through a variety of means and media is known as communication. It is a key component of human connection and is essential for passing understanding and meaning from one person to another. For communication to be effective, it must be made sure that the intended audience receives and understands the message. Both verbal and nonverbal cues, such as body language, gestures, and facial expressions, as well as various media and technological tools, can be used to communicate. It is crucial in all facets of life, from intimate connections and professional contacts to instruction, healthcare, and the exchange of ideas and cultures.

Also Read: 5 Reasons You Are Not Getting Hired

How to Communicate Effectively?

Effective communication is essential in various aspects of life, including personal relationships, professional settings, and everyday interactions. Here are some key principles and tips to help you communicate effectively:

  1. Clarity and Conciseness:
    • Be clear and concise in your message. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complex language.
    • Organize your thoughts before speaking or writing to ensure your message is straightforward.
  2. Active Listening:
    • Pay close attention to the speaker or writer. Avoid interrupting and genuinely listen to what they’re saying.
    • Provide feedback to confirm your understanding and show that you are engaged in the conversation.
  3. Empathy:
    • Try to understand the perspective and feelings of the other person. Empathetic communication fosters trust and rapport.
    • Use phrases like “I understand how you feel” to acknowledge their emotions.
  4. Non-Verbal Communication:
    • Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. These non-verbal cues can convey as much information as words.
    • Maintain eye contact, use open body language, and avoid crossing your arms, which can be seen as defensive.
  5. Respect and Courtesy:
    • Treat others with respect and politeness. Use “please” and “thank you” in appropriate contexts.
    • Avoid offensive or disrespectful language, jokes, or comments.
  6. Stay Calm and Patient:
    • In emotionally charged situations, stay calm and composed. Avoid reacting impulsively or emotionally.
    • Take a moment to collect your thoughts if necessary before responding.
  7. Use Appropriate Feedback:
    • Provide constructive feedback when necessary, but do so tactfully and with the intent to help, not criticize.
    • Offer specific examples and suggestions for improvement.
  8. Adapt to Your Audience:
    • Tailor your communication style to the needs and preferences of your audience. Different people may require different approaches.
    • Consider cultural differences and sensitivities when communicating with diverse groups.
  9. Ask Questions:
    • Encourage two-way communication by asking open-ended questions. This invites discussion and helps clarify information.
    • Avoid assumptions; seek clarification if something is unclear.
  10. Practice and Seek Feedback:
    • Practice your communication skills regularly. The more you practice, the more confident and effective you will become.
    • Solicit feedback from others to identify areas for improvement.
  11. Written Communication:
    • In written communication, use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Proofread your messages to avoid misunderstandings.
    • Structure written documents logically with clear headings and formatting.
  12. Time and Place:
    • Consider the timing and location of your communication. Some discussions may be better suited for private settings.
    • Be mindful of others’ schedules and avoid interrupting them when they are busy.
  13. Use Technology Wisely:
    • When using digital communication tools, ensure your messages are clear and professional.
    • Avoid overuse of abbreviations and emojis in formal communication.
  14. Be Open to Feedback:
    • Welcome feedback from others about your communication style. Constructive criticism can help you improve.

Effective communication is a skill that can be developed and refined over time. It plays a vital role in building positive relationships, resolving conflicts, and achieving success in various aspects of life. By applying these principles and continuously working on your communication skills, you can become a more effective communicator.

What are the Barriers to Communication?

Before going ahead with the list of communication barriers, let’s first try to understand and discuss the definition of barriers to 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.

Also Read: Barriers to Business Communication

Common Barriers to 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
  • Conflict in workplace
  • Cultural differences and language

Also Read: Modes of Communication

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 to communication that hamper effective communication: 

  • Interpersonal
  • Gender
  • Perceptual
  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Physiological
  • Personal
  • Language
  • Attitudinal
  • Organizational
  • 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.

Interpersonal Barriers

Interpersonal barriers are behavioural patterns that make it difficult for you to communicate effectively or for others to communicate with you.

This might be the result of intentional behaviour on the part of the person, such as purposefully turning off their phone or shutting their door when they don’t want to talk to anyone. However, it is frequently more likely that they are acting inadvertently. For instance, our body language can convey how we feel about someone or something. The other person notices this and responds in kind as a result.

Given that there may be numerous factors, it might be difficult to pinpoint these communication hurdles. A person may withdraw, for instance, as a result of problems at work.

They may struggle with self-esteem, which would explain why they lack assertiveness. They might struggle with feelings of superiority, which would explain their propensity for being domineering or demeaning. Issues can also arise and be exacerbated by workplace cultures, organizational problems, and an increase in the usage of remote work.

The greatest advice is to watch the communication patterns that emerge when people are together and seek for signs of potential problems.

Gender Barriers

Gender communication obstacles are among the subtlest to spot yet can nonetheless occasionally cause problems. They frequently appear when someone has an exaggerated or stereotypical notion of how a particular gender behaves. They might then behave in a way that prevents them from communicating with others in an appropriate, honest, and open manner.

Cultural barriers, particularly those caused by variations in nationality and age group, are intimately related to gender barriers. Remember that as we work to create a fairer society, not everyone will be able to move with the times or adapt to the ideals of a different culture.

Perceptual Barriers

People have mental barriers to communication because of the way they view the world. They may be brought on by the numerous cognitive biases that plague human perception of individuals and events. A person’s particular prejudices may also be influenced by their past experiences and the opinions of others.

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. Climate, distance, and the time gap between the sender and receiver are the major causes of concern when it comes to the barriers to 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.  

Must Read: How to Become a Communication Specialist?

Example of Semantic Barrier

The following are the main types of semantic barriers to communication:

  • Bad Expression Bad expression states the use of wrong words while conveying any message. Messages that are not properly formulated or are misinterpreted consume a lot of time as it requires a lot of effort to make them 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 level of understanding. To have an intended response it’s better to mold the message according to the understanding level of the person.
  • Unclarified Assumptions – Some assumptions get created while conveying a message due to certain things. In the case of a special message, if the assumptions are unknown and vague to the receiver then the communication might be adversely affected.

Also Read: Communication Skills for Professionals

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, 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, behaviors, 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 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 communication barriers. 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 communication barriers. 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 us in the environment or the conditions that are ongoing around us act as physical barriers to 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 is said because the door is a barrier. Let’s have a look at some of the main physical barriers to 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 the organization are often made to sit together so that they can communicate effectively. 

Organizational Barriers to Communication 

For an organization to work smoothly, a chain of fluent communication must run between all the employees. Despite adopting various measures to combat the organizational barriers to communication, some situations 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 a 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 organizations that are involved in the overseas business find cultural differences a difficult barrier to overcome. 

How to Overcome Barriers to Communication?

Now that we have very well understood the various barriers to communication and their types, now is the time to get a hold of practices that will help us overcome 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-check whether it is the ideal time to communicate or not 
  • Conveying things in a simpler form and a one-by-one manner 
  • Opting for 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 from the receiver

Must Read: 10 Soft Skills To Learn From Global Leaders.

Barriers to Communication Notes

Case Study on Barriers to 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 to 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 communication barriers:
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 to communication? OR Explain the communication barriers 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 to the communication process? 

Here are the 10 barriers to the 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 to 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 on 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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