Examples of Barriers to Communication

by Erin Schreiner

When trying to get things done in the world or work, effective communication is a must. While sharing ideas through words or writing may seem simple, there are many barriers that can impede this process. By understanding what barriers may stand in the way of your attempts at effective information sharing, you can more successfully sidestep these challenges and engage in productive communication with co-workers and supervisors.


Communicating effectively takes time. If you fail to dedicate the time necessary, but instead attempt to share your thoughts and ideas in a hurried manner, you run the risk of not communicating effectively or creating misunderstandings. Avoid this barrier by making communication a priority, as it is a powerful workplace tool.


If the people you are trying to communicate with are all situated in one office, you will likely find communication easier than you would if these communication partners were scattered across the state or even the country. When distance prohibits face-to-face communication, communicating effectively can be extra challenging. Remedy this challenge with the aid of tech-tools by tele-conferencing or using technology-aided written communication.


To communicate effectively, you must be fully attentive. Anything that distracts your attention serves as a barrier to effective communication. These distractions can come in many forms. At times the distractions are physical, such as noise that makes the otherwise simple task of hearing the message difficult. At other times, the distraction can be internal. For example, if you allow your thoughts or emotional response to the message to get in the way of your listening to the full content, you may be internally distracted. While overcoming distraction is challenging, you can accomplish the task if you select settings conducive to communication and dedicate yourself to active listening from the start to the end of the communication session.

Lack of Message Clarity

It isn’t necessarily the message recipient’s fault when effective communication doesn’t take place. If the individual who is sending the message doesn’t do her job, this will serve as a barrier to information sharing. If, for example, this individual presents an unclear message or one filled with jargon, it can be difficult for the recipient to understand the content. If you attempt to communicate and find that the message you are receiving is largely incomprehensible, ask clarifying questions as necessary to help yourself gain a full understanding of the content of the message.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.

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