Communication barriers are understood as different obstacles or difficulties that may arise during the communication process. These obstacles can hinder slow it down or make it less effective in some way.

These barriers have to do directly with the specific conditions of a communicative act, that is, they have to do with the specific elements involved. Communication is the effective transmission of a message between a sender and a receiver who shares code and use a particular channel.

And in that sense, it presents minimum requirements for internal and external coordination to be able to occur, with a minimum risk of distortion in the message.

You have all experienced communication and its possible difficulties in one way or another, but a very clear example of this is the school game of the message in which a wheel of communication is formed.

Players and at some end a message is introduced, which must be transmitted to the other end without the opportunity to repeat it, from player to player, said to the ear.

Upon reaching the end of the wheel, the message is checked against the original and the distortions and communication barriers are evident.

Characteristics of communication barriers:

Communication barriers can be any type of difficulties, obstacles or challenges that arise in a particular communicative act and that negatively affects the possibility of transmitting the message reliably.

They may have to do with the members of the process (sender or receiver, for example, if one is deaf and the other speaks to him) or with the code (if they do not speak the same language) or even with the context in which the act occurs communicative (if two people try to talk between music with a lot of volumes).

Types of communication barriers

There are different types of communication barriers, including the following:

  • Interference:

They are related to the environment and technical defects. They are, for example, noise, interference in phone calls, being outdoors, weather events (storms), and so on.

  • Misunderstandings:

When something is said but the other understands a different thing, a misunderstanding occurs. This may be because we either do not know how to explain ourselves well or that the interlocutor has a problem.

  • Background or prejudices:

Sometimes, communication barriers can arise from prejudice. If in the past you have had problems expressing our point of view before a boss or your partner, the next time you will think the same will happen and act accordingly.

  • Lack of chemistry:

You can’t connect with everyone. Sometimes communication barriers arise due to differences in age, ideology, social status or simply because you don’t like a person.

  • Language:

Perhaps certain very specific terms are being used. Expressions that “common” people do not understand or words that are in another language.

Also, incorrect use of semantics or the meaning of words can be made. For example, when a doctor explains the diagnosis and uses specialized terminology that the patient finds incomprehensible.

What barriers affect communication?

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  • Semantic Barriers:

They have to do with the code, that is, the language in which the meanings of words, gestures or other types of signs (in nonverbal communication) are inscribed. It may have to do with dialectical or idiomatic differences.

Use of vocabulary with certain meanings (language, technicalities, anglicisms, colloquial language, symbols with more than one meaning, poor expression, etc.) that the recipient, for different reasons, can interpret them differently or not directly understand them, which influences in a deformation of the message you intended to deliver.

  • Language Barriers:

Age, education, cultural level, time, capacity or intelligence level of people, are variables that influence the language they use and that can make understanding difficult.

  • Impersonal/Automatic: Exchange of familiar or automatic phrases.
  • Impersonal/Fact-based: Report data.
  • Impersonal/Personal: Inform or communicate one’s thoughts or judgments.
  • Personal: Communicate feelings and personal thoughts.

Physical/Physiological Barriers:

Circumstances that hinder communication, such as environmental noises, physical obstacles (glass, walls, curtains) that distort or impede understanding.

They occur in the environment caused by “noise”, the physical distance between people or other interference that prevents the message from reaching.

They are the deficiencies found in people. Both in the transmitter (tone of voice, intonation, locution less than or greater than 120 words per minute, defective pronunciation) or of the receiver (deafness, visual problems, mobility, etc.) that are frequent factors that hinder the communication or partial.

  • Psychological/Personal Barriers:

They represent the particular psychological situation of the sender or receiver of the information, sometimes caused by the liking or rejection of the receiver or sender, as the case may be.

The distortion comes from emotions, perceptions, values and bad habits in “active listening.” Emotions act as filters in communication and can lead to stereotypes, prejudices, biases and preconceived ideas of a Brand. What you emotionally tune in is heard and seen.

The message that is communicated may be interfered with; the deficiency can be due to emotional states (frustration, ignorance, fear, sadness, joy) or prejudices to approve or disapprove what is said, or not read what is written, or do not understand, or do not believe what he hears or read the message.

  • Technical/Technological Barriers:

It happens when you are going to transmit a message and because of technology issues, it affects the information that has to reach its recipient. Therefore, it is not due to either the sender or the receiver.

The loading time of the web, the servers, the usability, not using adequate technology that adapts to all the screens or devices, can damage the quality or impede the visualization of the content.

  • Administrative Barriers:

The structure and operation of the organization can lead to difficulties a priori or a posteriori. The lack of planning, unclear cases, procedures not contemplated, excess or defect of application of the current Legality: Cookies, LOPD, LSSI, etc. , which can lead to a lack of control in the treatment of information, a delay in the management of “Leads”, deficiencies in customer service to the detriment of customer satisfaction and commitment.

  • Environmental Barriers:

They are the ones around you. They are impersonal and have a negative effect due to the discomfort in the reception of the message (heat, cold, smells, at our point of sale, in events, fairs, etc.), visual distractions, interruptions, noises (Telephone Sounds, messages, construction, etc.)

  • Filter Barrier:

It is the manipulation of information by the sender of the message so that it looks more favorable by the recipient. It is to transmit what is thought that the interlocutor wants to hear.

Therefore, you see that there are one or several factors that you must always take into account in any type of communication, both personally and professionally, both orally and in writing.

To obtain effective communication, it is necessary to develop active listening to what they say on each of your channels, to then be able to send messages adapted to your interlocutors and in a clear and personalized way.

To achieve this knowledge you can use all the technical means at your disposal to monitor your website, social networks, blogs, the Network, which thanks to BigData will allow you to search, capture, store, analyze and visualize information.

You have to be more precise with the needs of your public, provide feedback with the partners depending on the interaction channel. It will allow empathy, elaborate unified messages and give real solutions to the needs of your clients.

Be Social, communicate and look for commitment. Relations with your customers and engagement will improve.
Effects: Normally, the main effect of communicative barriers is usually full isolation: the impossibility of achieving an understanding between the sender and the receiver.

However, it is not unusual for the effect to consist in the distortion of the message, which leads to misunderstandings since what has been emitted and received does not coincide, contradict or have nothing to do with it.

Voluntary and involuntary barriers

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Another possible classification of communicative barriers points to whether they are voluntary (intentional) or not. The volunteers are those planned by one of the actors to sabotage the communicative act, while the involuntary ones are due to circumstances or accidents in the communication.

Some examples of communicative barriers are:

  • Physical: Too many people talking at the same time in a room, making it difficult to perceive each of their messages by their specific recipients. If you add this to the noise of a TV turned on at full volume, it will be more difficult to transmit the message.
  • Semantics: Two people who do not speak the same language trying to talk, or two people who speak very different dialects of the same language, in which the same thing receives different names and cannot agree on what they mean.
  • Physiological: A man warns the shouts of a deaf person who has dropped his wallet. A blind man ignores the messages written on the wall.
  • Psychological: A drunk or drugged person will have trouble following the thread of a conversation since their psychological state is altered.
  • Administrative: A person has required an answer but not given enough time to enunciate it.

How to detect barriers in communication?

On certain occasions, the barriers are subtle and have no relation to aspects such as tone of voice or verbal and nonverbal language. What a person omits, their silences and unfinished phrases are indicators that must always be taken into account. In case of detecting barriers of this type, there are only two possible options:

  • Try to clarify the message through questions about the communication process.
  • Direct the conversation and guide it as best for both parties.

Strategies to avoid communication barriers

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Most of the barriers mentioned above can be overcome by a communicator specialized in the management of the organizational culture or work environment of organizations. Next, you will analyze some tools that can be used to overcome barriers in everyday communications.

  • Listen actively:

Active listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed with practice. However, this ability can be difficult to master and, therefore, will take time and patience.

Listening “actively” means concentrating fully on what is said instead of just “listening” to the speaker’s message. Active listening implies listening with all the senses.

In addition to paying full attention to the speaker, it is important that the “active listener” also be “seen” to be listening; otherwise, he can conclude that what he is talking about is not of interest to the listener.

By providing this “feedback,” the person who speaks will feel more comfortable and therefore communicate more easily, openly, and honestly.

There are verbal and nonverbal signals that transmit active listening. Nonverbal signs include smiling, making eye contact, nodding at appropriate times and avoiding distractions.

These nonverbal cues convey the message that you are interested in what the speaker has to say and that your attention is fully reversed.

It may also be useful to offer verbal signs of active listening. Reflecting on something the speaker has said by asking a clarifying question is a great way to do it.

  • Use simple language:

It is important to remind the audience you are speaking to and use language that can be easily understood. Avoid using specialized terminology or jargon when talking to people who do not belong to your same professional sector.

People often feel intimidated by that language and may be afraid to admit that they do not understand the message that is being transmitted.

An important tool to use when talking is to pause from time to time and ask questions to make sure your message is being properly understood. You can also allow the listener to ask questions to clarify any point.

  • Provides constructive feedback:

Remember that feedback is part of the communication chain. While the feedback you give to the speaker/sender may occasionally be negative, it must be constructive.

The intention of the feedback should be to improve the speaker’s skills. This will strengthen the interpersonal relationship and improve future communications.

  • Distractors

The distracting elements are those that kidnap the attention of the actors in a communicative event, preventing it from occurring or causing it to occur poorly.

These may be other people talking, an overabundance of messages, etc. They are considered, obviously, as a circumstantial form of communicative barrier.

  • The phatic function of language

The so-called phatic function of language is useful for dealing with communicative barriers. It occurs when you use expressions or sounds that lack their meaning, but that fulfills the role of verifying if the communication channel is open and if you can begin to emit or receive. A clear example of this is “hello?” Or “hello?” Used to answer the phone.

  • Relevance:

The relevance of content is also a necessary concept to think about communicative barriers. It will cost the recipient to fix their attention and keep the channel open for messages that do not seem relevant, that is, necessary or relevant within the communication flow, which follows a logical order.

Communication barriers that may affect social strategy

Every day you see more articles related to Social CRM, Social Networks, Social Media, Social Business, and Big Data. Today, and more than ever, the concept of Aristotle or Saint Thomas Aquinas of man becomes important, considering it by nature as a social animal and endowed with language.

The human being lives and lives in society. Men need others to achieve their achievements. Not only do you need to receive, but also, take the opportunity to communicate and share with the rest.

The individual is a being who feels the need to relate, to maintain interpersonal links freely and by mutual agreement, to establish or establish networks of specific and/or particular societies that have specific, geographical, cultural, and historical, etc., specific elements.

What communication elements involved in the process?

  • Issuer: The one that issues the message (Person, Group or machine).
  • Receiver: Individual or group that receives or interprets the message.
  • Message: The information that is transmitted.
  • Code: Set or sign system used to encode the message.
  • Channel: The place or medium through which the message circulates and which will allow it to be perceived by the 5 senses.
  • Natural physical environment: Air, light, etc.
  • Technical medium: Paper, Social networks, Web, Landing Page, TV, Radio, Telephone, SMS, Email, Mailing.
  • Situation or context: It is the temporary, spatial, socio-cultural or extra-linguistic environment in which communication takes place.

What kind of communications can you find?

Collective communications: Are those that occur simultaneously between the sender and a “high” number of receivers. You can difference in:

  • Massive: Use Mass Media (MCM) to simultaneously address a large and heterogeneous audience
  • Non-Massive: Without using the MCMs, it addresses a large audience simultaneously.
  • Interpersonal communication: Are those that the issuer addresses to an individual or a group of reduced non-simultaneously through non-massive technical means or without the use of any technical means.
  • Personalized communication: Are those that the issuer addresses directly to an individual using the technical means at their disposal.

Within this Social model of human interaction that establishes all actions to improve understanding, prestige, acceptance, and collaboration, you can find a series of barriers that can condition the success of the objectives you want to achieve.

These generic communication interferences can be perfectly applied to any of the channels you use for contact (in person, telephone, online or offline) to establish relations between Brand and Client.