ZIMSEC O Level Commerce Notes:  Communication: Barriers To Effective Communication

  • We have already provided an introduction to communication here
  • We have also looked at what effective communication is here
  • Now we will look at barriers to effective communication
  • Unfortunately not all communication is effective due to communication barriers
  • A communication barrier is an obstacle that prevents the flow of communication
  • Communication barriers lead to communication failure
  • Barriers can be found at each level during the communication process
  • That is they can be found during the encoding, transmission or decoding stages

Barriers during the encoding process

  • These include lack of planning which results in poor choices e.g. choosing the wrong words or language
  • Un-clarified, unstated assumptions behind the message
  • Use of jargon- this is the formal language that is used in certain professions or circles for example using the word exsanguination instead of bleeding
  • Differences in Language between the sender and receiver
  • Use of obsolete words i.e. words that are no longer in common use
  • Verbosity i.e. the use of too many words especially unnecessarily big words. This is not to be confused with jargon
  • Poorly expressed message
  • Lack of empathy
  • Inaccurate use of terminology

Barriers during the Transmission process

  • Problems that can occur during transmission include:
  • Use of the wrong channel of communication
  • Failure to speak/write clearly
  • When verbal and non-verbal message are contradictory
  • Noise
  • Distortion

Barriers during the Decoding Process

  • These barriers can include:
  • Distractions interfering with the decoding process
  • Failure to take in the message
  • Differing interpretations words e.g. like vs love
  • Lack of interest in the subject
  • The emotional state of the recipient
  • Stereotypical attitudes for example racism and tribalism
  • Information overload

NB Proper and effective planning can overcome most if not all of these barriers. Click here to read notes on how each one of these barriers can be overcome

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