When two people are together, there’s communication whether it’s verbal or nonverbal. Communication occurs everywhere from our daily life to our working or learning environment. We interact with other people every single day in order to work towards a common goal. That’s why effective communication is extremely important. Usually, ineffective communication results from lack of understanding because the sender didn’t clarify and their message is received differently from how it was intended. There are many barriers to effective interpersonal communication. They include, cognitive barriers; information overload, emotional barriers, and cultural differences.
The first barrier to effective interpersonal communication is information overload. Too much information and too many details can overwhelm and distract the receiver from what’s important. It doesn’t only impact the way we process information ourselves but can also have a negative impact on the way others perceive us. In a face-to-face meeting, it’s very easy to tell when the person you are talking to is distracted by their smart phone rather than focusing in the conversation. One way to avoid it is try to focus on the important information and points that are being conveyed.
Another barrier is our emotions, we react emotionally to some things and signals from speakers (, non-verbal signals, etc.). Emotions, such as anger, joy, frustration, disappointment and grief can all create emotional barriers that have a negative affect in communication. You can overcome this barrier, but you’ll need to learn more about how your emotions work and how to manage them. Try to seal your own emotional responses so that you can communicate properly.
Lastly, cultural differences can create a barrier to effective interpersonal communication. Culture forms the way people think and behave. When people from different cultures communicate, culture can form a barrier. Suitable types of communication are different from culture to culture. In some cultures, physical gestures are okay, and touching is more acceptable. In these societies, it’s usually okay to hug or touch a person’s arm when you are speaking to them. In other cultures, this would be unacceptable and even considered inappropriate. Different cultures have different meaning of words, behaviors and gestures. To make communication effective, the causes of cultural communication barriers must be removed. Understanding various cultures must happen in order for communication barriers are reduced.