Barriers in communication

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Barriers in communication

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Barriers to Communication:

Barriers of communication are the difficulties involved in the process of communication which distort the message being properly understand by the receiver “Barriers prevent the communication from being effective” There are a lot of causes of misunderstanding and misinterpretations of message communicated. Barriers to Communication

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Problems/ barriers/ breakdowns may arise at any of the following levels: (a) The sender's level in (i) formulating/ organizing thought, ideas, message (ii) encoding the message (b) The receiver's level in (i) receiving the message; (ii) decoding the received message; (iii) understanding/interpreting the message. Transmission level where 'noise' occurs . The feedback/reaction level that is a necessary condition of the completion of the process.

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Types of Barriers in Communication:- 1.Physical 2.Psychological 3.Language/semantic 4.Organizational structure barrier 5.Cross-cultural Barriers

Physical barriers:

Physical barriers Noise. Noise is quite often a barrier to communication. Examples: In factories, oral communication is rendered difficult by the loud noise of machines . Electronic noise like blaring often interferes in communication by telephone or loudspeaker system. The word 'noise' is also used to refer to all kinds of physical interference like illegible handwriting, smudged copies of dupli­cated typescript, poor telephone connections , etc.

1.Phycical –Noise …….:

1.Phycical –Noise ……. 2. Time and distance: Time and distance also act as barriers to the smooth flow of communication. Examples: The use of telephone along with computer technology has made communication very fast and has, to a large extent, overcome the space barrier. However, sometimes mechanical breakdowns render these facilities ineffective.

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In such cases, the distance between the transmitter and the receiver becomes a mighty barrier. Some factories run in shifts. There is a kind of communication gap between persons working in different shifts. Faulty seating arrangement in the room can also become a barrier to effective communication, for whichever seats the employees may be occupying, they definitely want an eye contact with one another.

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In brief Physical barriers are: -Noise - noise in a factory; external disturbance in telecom fa­cilities; poor writing; bad photo-copies; etc. -Time and distance - if telecom and network facilities are not available; people working in different shifts; faulty seating arrangement in the hall; etc , These barriers need just a little care to overcome. .

2.Psychological barriers:

2.Psychological barriers Altitudes and opinion: Personal, attitude and opinion often act as barriers to effective communication. If an information agrees with· our opinions and attitudes, we tend to receive it comfortably. It fits comfortably in the filter of our mind. But if an information disagrees with our views or tends to run contrary to our accepted beliefs; we do not react favorably. Example: If a change in the policy of an organization proves advantageous to an employee/ he welcome it as good; if it affects him adversely, he rejects it as the whim of the Director. light.

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2.Emotions. Emotional states of mind play an important role in the act of communication. If the sender is perplexed, worried, excited, afraid, nervous, his thinking will be blurred and he will not be able to organize his message properly. If he is angry, he will not take the message in proper

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3. Closed mind. A person with a closed mind is very difficult to com­municate with. He is a man with deeply ingrained prejudices. nd he is not prepared to reconsider his opinions. Example1: He is the kind of man who will 'say, "Look, my mind is made up. I know what I know. And I do not want to know anything else. So just don/t bother me."

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Example2: You approach such a man with a new proposal to improve his business and he will immediately retort, "Look here gentleman, do you presume that you know my business better than I know? I have been in this line for the last twenty years. What can you teach me?" .

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Such a person is not open to conviction and persuasion. And in all likelihood, he has not learnt anything in the twenty years he has been in business. If closed-minded people can be encouraged to state their reasons for re­jecting a message or a proposal, they may reveal deep-rooted prejudices/' opinions and emotions. Perhaps, one can make an attempt to counteract those prejudices, opinions, etc. But if they react only with anger and give a sharp rebuff to anyone who tries to argue with them, they preclude all pos­sibility of communication

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4. Status-consciousness. Status consciousness exists in every organisa­tion and is one of the major barriers to effective communication. Subordinates are afraid of communicating upward any unpleasant informa­tion. They are either too conscious of their inferior status or too afraid of be­ing snubbed. Status-conscio~s superiors think that consulting their juniors would be compromising their dignity. Status-consciousness proves to be a very serious barrier to face-to-face communication.

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The subordinate feels jittery and nervous, fidgets about where he is standing, falters in his speech and fails in communicating what exactly he wanted to say. The officer, on the other hand, reveals impa­tience and starts giving comments or advice before he has fully heard his subordinate. Consequently, there is a total failure of communication; the subordinate returns to his seat dissatisfied and simmering inside, while the officer resumes his work with the feeling that his employees have no con­sideration for the value of his time and keep on pestering him for nothing.

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5. Prejudgment of communication. If the receiver has a suspicion about or prejudgment against the source of communication, there is likely to be a barrier to communication. People often tend to react more according to their atti­tude to the source of facts than to the facts themselves. Example: Think of an execu­tive in the habit of finding fault with his employees. If once in a while he begins with a compliment, the employees immediately become suspicious and start attributing motives to the compliment. If a statement emanates from the grapevine, the manager will not give credence to it, but the same statement coming from a trusted supervisor will immediately be believed.

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6. Inattentiveness. Peop le often become inattentive while receiving a message in par t icular, if the message contains a new-idea. The human mind usually r esists-change , fo r c h ange ma k es thin gs uncertain. It also threatens security a nd stabili ty. So the moment a new idea is presented to them, they unconsciously become inattentive.

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7. Faulty transmission. A message is never communicated from one per­son to another in its entirety. This is true in particular of oral messages. Example: If a decision has been taken hy the Board of Directors, it must be in the form of a lengthy resolution. This resolution cannot be passed on to the factory work­ers in the same form. It has to be 'translated' in simple language so that they may easily understand it. But translation can never be perfect. In the process of interpretation, simplification and translation, a part of the mes­sage gets lost or distorted. A scientific study of the communication process has revealed that something in the order of 30 per cent of the information is lost in each transmission.

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8. Poor retention. Poor retention of communication also acts as a bar­rier. Studies show that employees retain only about 50 per cent of the in­formation communicated to them. The rest is lost. Thus if information is communicated through three or four stages, very little reaches the destina­tion, and of that very little also only a fraction is likely to be retained. Poor retention may lead to imperfect responses, which may further hamper the communication process.

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9. Unsolicited communication. Unsolicited communication has to face stronger barriers than solicited communication. If I seek advice, it should be presumed that I will listen to it. But if a sales letter comes to me unso­licited, it is not very sure that I will pay much attention to it.

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Psychological barriers –in brief: Attitudes and opinions: We react favorably or are hostile according as the information is to our personal advantage or not. Emotions: We can neither transmit ~thing cor­rectly 'if our mind is agitated. Closed mind: We hold our opinion so rigidly that we just refuse to listen. Status-consciousness: We are over-conscious of our lower or higher rank and do not express ourselves candidly. The source of communication: We react according to the trust we repose in the source from which the communication originates. Inattentiveness: Unconsciously we become inattentive if the communication contains a new idea and our mind refuses to re­spond to it. Faulty transmission: Part of the message is lost in transmission. Poor retention: 'Oral messages in particular are lost due to poor human retention. Unsolicited communication: We are unresponsive if the communication is unsolicited.

3.Semantic barriers:

3.Semantic barriers Interpretation of words. Most of the communication is carried on through words, whether spoken or written. But words are capable of com­municating a variety of meanings. It is quite possible that the receiver of it message does not assign the same meaning to a word as the transmitter had intended. This may lead to miscommunication. Many words have multiple meanings Examples: charge , check , ring, minute, wind, present,… Different pronunciation while speaking Examples access : excess flour : flower cite : site week : weak

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2. Bypassed instructions. Bypassing is said to have occurred if the sender and the receiver of the message attribute different meanings to the same word or use different words for the same meaning. Example: An office manager handed to a new assistant one letter with the in­struction, "Take it to our stockroom and burn it." In the office manager's mind the word "burn" meant to make a copy on a company machine which operated by a heat process. As the letter was extremely important, she wanted an extra copy. However, the puz­zled new employee, afraid to ask questions, burned the letter with a lighted match and thus destroyed the only existing copy.**

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To avoid problems arising out of bypassed instructions , the following factors should be constantly kept in mind: We should prefer words which are familiar to the receiver in the interpretation we wish to give them. If we want the receiver to give an unfamiliar meaning to a familiar word within the context of our message, we should make it amply clear the first time we use it. If we feel that a word being used by us is likely to be unfamiliar to the receiver, we should make its meaning clear the first time we use it.

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2.Slanting: ‘ Slanting' is giving a particular bias or slant to the reality. In a way, slanting is similar to allness. In allness, we know only a part and are ignorant of the rest, but we think that we know the whole. In slanting, we are aware of the existence of other aspects, but we deliberately select a few and make them representative of the whole. Unfortunately, the aspects that we select are usually unfavorable.

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Example: If a man is accustomed to heavy drinking, we perceive him as a drunkard and tend to forget that he might also be a good friend, a loyal employee and a kind-hearted man. If one ex­ecutive of a firm is held guilty of fraud, we begin to suspect every other ex­ecutive and the image of the firm is spoiled. To overcome this barrier, we should try to be objective in our observations and assessments and we should try to avoid the mistake of judging the whole by what might be only a frac­tion of it.

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3. Inferring. What we directly see, hear, feel, taste, smell or can im­mediately verify and confirm constitutes a fact. But the statements that go beyond facts and the conclusions based on facts are called inferences. When we drop a letter in the post box, we assume that it will be picked up and carried to the post office. When we say that the Kalka Mail will leave running on .time. If rains fail, we can infer that prices will go up. Some of these inferences are fairly reliable. Some of these inferences not are fairly reliable. we should carefully distinguish between facts and assumptions and make sure that our inferences are based on verifi­able facts.

4.Organizational barriers: :

4.Organizational barriers: Line of hierarchy : Status relationship One way flow: Rules & Regulations Wrong medium of communication Overload of communication 5. Organization structure: Compartments 6 . Distance barriers

5.Cross Cultural Barriers:

5.Cross Cultural Barriers Why communicate with cross culture? Globalisation Ability to work more harmoniously Get good people despite their differences To be efficient both within and outside the company. Create good relationship across cultures

Examples – cross culture symbols:

Examples – cross culture symbols OK = - terribly rude in Russia,Germany,Brazil - means Money in Japan - will get you in trouble from Nigeria to Australia 2 Eye contact = to elders in Indonesia is disrespect 3 Smile = - Weakness in Africa (means to bargain)

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