Skip to content Skip to footer

Overcoming Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Communication

Human beings are social animals. We cannot imagine functioning without being able to communicate with one another. Interpersonal communication is the exchange of ideas, emotions, and information between individuals. It plays an important role in building relationships and expressing ourselves, and it holds equal significance in both personal and professional settings. In the workplace, effective interpersonal communication creates an environment of collaboration and productivity, while in personal relationships, it enhances trust, intimacy, and understanding.

However, interpersonal communication can be hindered by various barriers, tangible or intangible. To improve the quality of conveyed messages, it is essential to be aware of these barriers and take steps to overcome them, as they can cause misunderstandings both small and large, leading to confusion or distortion of the message. In a workplace setting, such barriers can have a detrimental effect, potentially damaging relationships.

Some common barriers to interpersonal communication include:

  1. Selective Listening:

When individuals consciously or subconsciously filter out what they hear and zone out during other parts of the message, it is called selective listening. It may lead to the total distortion of the message and cause chaos. This barrier may be caused by a person’s inner thoughts or external distractions.

  1. Emotional Barriers:

When a person is overcome with strong emotions, they get overwhelmed, and messages can get distorted. This is destructive when the person is the sole conveyor of the message. Sometimes, people might not open up honestly regarding a topic because they are overcome with strong emotions like fear and anxiety.

  1. Semantic Barriers:

A particular phrase can have multiple meanings in different languages. Language barriers arise from these differences in the meaning of words and symbols. Misinterpretation can thus occur when the receiver and sender do not share common knowledge of technical words or a particular language or when there exists a difference in pronunciation.

5. Cultural Differences:

Different cultures have different customs and rituals. For example, Americans are known for focusing more on themselves while Japan has a culture where family is put first. These cultural differences may lead to miscommunication.

6. Perceptual Filters:

Each individual is a product of their own experiences. Hence, each person interprets a particular message differently depending on their perception.

7. Physical Barriers:

When environmental factors like noise, distance, or faulty technology hinder communication, they are termed physical barriers.

8. Attitudinal Barriers:

A preconceived notion, prejudice, or bias regarding a topic influences your views, and it is termed an attitudinal barrier.

It is of crucial importance to recognize these barriers and address them at the earliest to not lose the message in transmission.

How to overcome barriers to Interpersonal communication?

  1. Active Listening:

It is equally important to listen while communicating with the other person. Active listening takes place when full attention is given to the speaker, the message is understood, and feedback is provided. The focus should be on the person talking, rather than on how you should respond.

  1. Manage Your Emotions:

When you feel overwhelmed, it is important to take a breather. Take a moment and think twice before responding. This way, you get time to formulate an appropriate response.

  1. Increase Your Cultural Expertise:

If you are constantly surrounded by people from different cultures, then it is wise to educate yourself on their cultural norms and traditions. This helps you be mindful of every word or action you speak or take while showing that you care.

  1. Be Aware of Non-Verbal Cues:

Non-verbal cues like body language, tone of voice, posture, etc. convey a lot about a person and the message he conveys. A person should ensure that the non-verbal signals they give out align with their message.

  1. Learn Different Languages:

Just like being culturally aware, a person should be aware of the different languages and their pronunciations to not overstep their boundaries. A person should work on building their vocabulary; this does not only help in conveying a message but makes you knowledgeable.

  1. Be Conscious of Stereotypes and Biases:

A person should try to reflect and be aware of their biases and pre-existing notions that they might have. To overcome them, they must try to constantly challenge these stereotypes which cause an obstacle in conveying a message.

  1. Be Approachable:

Creating an environment where there is no fear of judgment is crucial to foster open communication and discussion. If others feel comfortable expressing themselves, they will open up and honestly talk about their pain points.

  1. Choose the Right Timing:

As important as it is to carefully craft a message, it is equally important to choose the timing of the message. A person should be mindful of when and where certain topics should be discussed. People generally are receptive to ideas in the morning, so announcing important things in the morning makes the most sense. It will not have the same effect if it is announced in the evening.

  1. Balance Power Dynamics:

Power dynamics affect the quality of the message a lot of times. Hence, it is important to be aware of power struggles and imbalances. It is important to ensure that you do not step on any toes while conveying a message.

  1. Patience and Persistence:

A change won’t be seen in a day or a week. Continuous and consistent efforts are needed to overcome any communication barriers. This will take time, but with persistence and patience, you will be successful.

Remember that effective interpersonal communication, once achieved, is a lifelong skill that can never be forgotten or go out of trend. It can only be fostered through consistent efforts and self-reflection. By actively implementing these strategies, you will be successful in creating meaningful interactions with others and thus, strengthen relationships.
If you wish to develop your Interpersonal communication skills, Orator Academy is a great platform to get started on. They offer amazing courses on a variety of topics that are instrumental in helping you communicate.

Leave a comment

E-Book Download Form

View E-Book

To View E-Book Please Fill the Form.