D. Sumathi

epgp books








Communication is the process of human interaction that involves generating, organizing, sending, and receiving ideas from one or more persons. Although alarm clocks and barking dogs communicate, the emphasis here is on personal interaction, Some forms of interaction, such as greetings, become rituals to encourage or discourage further communication. These rituals and other habitual communication behavior can become rule-like etiquette for relationships. If people do not understand the rules or constantly break them by interrupting or making statements that are totally unrelated to a current discussion, their ideas may not be understood or carefully considered. Some of these violations of ‘rules’, such as name calling, can also become habitual and destructive to relationships.




The objectives of this lesson are:


1.      To study the barriers in communication

2.      To become aware of role of media in communication

3.      To give clear cut idea about utility of media for communication effectiveness


The purpose of communication is to change or to maintain behaviour. Family members express their needs and desires through communication. Confusion or lack n understanding of communication can frustrate goal attainment. People can influence their personal and social environment through communication. Behaviour of a person can be influenced by radio, television, neighbourhood gossip, classroom noise, a pat on the back, or a frown on the face. This is because people constantly communicate and the ways in which family members interact with each other often become a habit. People feel that communication is a simple process which anyone can master but people who are misunderstood and who listen to people’s mumbling realize that communication is not always easy or effective.


Many people think that communicating is easy. Communicating is straightforward. But what makes it complex, difficult, and frustrating are the barriers we put in the way. Here are the top barriers in communication.


1. Physical Barriers


They are often due to the nature of the environment. Thus, for e.g., the natural barrier which exists, if staff are located in different buildings or on different sites. Likewise, poor or outdated equipment, particularly the failure of management to introduce new technology, may also cause problems. Staff shortages are another factor which frequently causes communication difficulties for an organization. While distractions like background noise, poor lighting or an environment which is too hot or cold can all affect people’s morale and concentration, which in turn interfere with effective communication.


2. Perceptual Barriers


The problem with communicating with others is that we all see the world differently. If we didn’t, we would have no need to communicate: something like extrasensory perception would take its place. The following anecdote is a reminder of how our thoughts, assumptions and perceptions shape our own realities:


A traveller was walking down a road when he met a man from the next town. “Excuse me,” he said. “I am hoping to stay in the next town tonight. Can you tell me what the townspeople are like?”


“Well,” said the townsman, “how did you find the people in the last town you visited?”


“Oh, they were an irascible bunch. Kept to themselves. Took me for a fool. Over-charged me for what I got. Gave me very poor service.”


“Well, then,” said the townsman, “you’ll find them pretty much the same here.”


Examples of perceptual barriers that prevent individuals from effective communication include:


Perceptual Filters – We all have our own preferences, values, attitudes, origins and life experiences that act as “filters” on our experiences of people, events and information. Seeing things through the lens of our own unique life experiences or “conditioning” may lead to assumptions, stereotyping and misunderstandings of others whose experiences change from our own.


riggers and Cues – What we say is affected by how we say it (tone, volume) and by our nonverbal cues, such as body language and facial gestures. For example, we may recognize a situation differently if the person we are speaking with is smiling or frowning, has body odors and is standing too close or is not giving us direct eye contact.


3.  Psychological Barriers


The psychological state of the communicators will influence how the message is sent, received and perceived. For example, if someone is stressed they may be preoccupied by personal concerns and not as receptive to the message as if they were not stressed. Stress management is an important personal skill that affects our interpersonal relationships. Anger is another example of a psychological barrier to communication, when we are angry it is easy to say things that we may later regret and also to misinterpret what others are saying. More generally people with low self-esteem may be less assertive and therefore may not feel comfortable communicating – they may feel shy about saying how they really feel or read negative sub-texts into messages they hear.


4. Emotional Barriers


One of the chief barriers to open and free communication is the emotional barrier. It is comprised mainly of fear, mistrust and suspicion. The roots of our emotional mistrust of others lie in our childhood and infancy when we were taught to be careful what we said to others.


“Mind your P’s and Q’s”; “Don’t speak until you’re spoken to”; “Children should be seen and not heard”. As a result many people hold back from communicating their thoughts and feelings to others.


They feel vulnerable. While some caution may be wise in certain relationships, excessive fear of what others might think of us can stunt our development as effective communicators and our ability to form meaningful relationships.


Examples of emotional barriers that avoid individuals from effective communication include:


Anger – Anger can influence the way our brain processes information given to us. For example, angry people have difficulty processing logical statements, limiting their ability to accept explanations and solutions offered by others

Pride – The need to be right all the time will not only annoy others, it can shut down winning communication. For example, we might focus only on our perception, or we might come up with ways to shoot down other people before we even listen to their points.

·Anxiousness – Anxiety has an unsafe impact on the part of our brain that manages thoughts and communication skills. For example, our continuous worries can hinder our ability to focus on the information we are giving or receiving.


5.  Cultural Barriers


When we join a group and wish to remain it, sooner or later we need to adopt the behaviour patterns of the group. These are the behaviours that the group accept as signs of belonging.


The group rewards such behaviour through acts of appreciation, approval and inclusion. In groups which are happy to accept you and where you are happy to conform, there is a mutuality of interest and a high level of win-win contact.


Where, however, there are barriers to your membership of a group, a high level of game-playing replaces good communication.


6. Language Barriers


Language that describes what we want to say in our terms may present barriers to others who are not familiar with our expressions, buzz-words and jargon. When we couch our communication in such a language, it is a way of excluding others. Language and linguistic ability may act as a barrier to communication.


However, even when communicating in the same language, the terminology used in a message may act as a barrier if it is not fully understood by the receiver(s). For example, a message that includes a lot of specialist terminology and abbreviations will not be understood by a receiver who is not familiar with the terminology used


7. Gender Barriers


There are distinct differences between the speech patterns in a man and those in a woman. A woman speaks between 22,000 and 25,000 words a day whereas a man speaks between 7,000 and 10,000. In childhood, girls speak earlier than boys and at the age of 3, have a vocabulary twice that of boys.


The reason for this lies in the wiring of a man’s and woman’s brains. When a man talks, his speech is located in the left side of the brain but in no specific area. When a woman talks, the speech is located in both hemispheres and in 2 specific locations.


This means that a man talks in a linear, logical and compartmentalised way, features of left-brain thinking; whereas a woman talks more freely mixing logic and emotion, features of both sides of the brain. It also explains why women talk for much longer than men each day.


8. Interpersonal Barriers


There are 6 levels at which people can distance themselves from one another:

1.   Withdrawal is an absence of interpersonal contact. It is both refusals to be in touch and time alone.

2.  Rituals are meaningless, repetitive routines devoid of real contact.

3.  Pastimes fill up time with others in social but superficial activities.

4.  Working activities are those tasks which follow the rules and procedures of contact but no more.

5.    Games are subtle, manipulate interactions which are about winning and losing. They include “rackets” and “stamps”.

  6.Closeness is the aim of interpersonal contact where there is a high level of honesty and acceptance of yourself and others.


Examples of interpersonal barriers that avoid individuals from effective communication include:


Desire to Participate – The lack of desire to participate in the communication process is an important barrier. There is nothing more annoying than trying to communicate with an individual that clearly does not want to.

·Desire to Explore – Unwillingness to explore different ideas, opinions, and priorities form communication barriers every day of our lives. A clear lack of desire to explore our views, opinions, or ideas can be enormously frustrating.


Working on improving communication is a broad-brush activity. We have to change our thoughts, our feelings, and our physical connections. That way, we can break down the barriers that get in our way and start building relationships that really work.


9. Lack of Subject Knowledge


If a person who sends a message lacks subject knowledge then he may not be able to convey his message clearly. The receiver could misunderstand his message, and this could lead to a barrier to effective communication.


10. Stress


One of the major communication barriers faced by employees in most of the organisations is stress. When a person is under immense stress, he may find it difficult to understand the message, leading to communication distortion. At the time of stress, our psychological frame of mind depends on our beliefs, experiences, goals and values. Thus, we fail to realise the essence of communication.


In today’s world, media has made a very special place for itself in our lives. It has become as important as food and clothing. It is playing a very significant role in making the world smaller. It also informs us about the world happenings. It is like a mirror of the society which reflects each and everything about the society to us.


However, commercialization is slowly coming into the media. The media has a huge responsibility of conveying the truth and relevant information to the common man. But somewhere this seems to be taking a back seat for media people as they are focussing more on commercialization.


Media is not just confined to inform us about the world’s happenings and serving as a means to connect with people, in fact, it affects our thinking pattern as well. The way we think and perceive various issues about the world is also shaped up by the media. Today, everyone, especially the youth, is growing aware of his responsibilities towards the society is because of media. Media plays a crucial role in shaping a healthy democracy. It is the backbone of a democracy. It makes us aware of the various social, political and economical activities happening around the world. It shows us or strives to show us the bare truth and harsh realities of life. It can also play a positive role in the aftermath of disasters and can have a beneficial effect on the community by informing, educating or communicating with the people.


The negative role of media in the aftermath of disasters is also huge. Studies examining the influence of media following the September 11 terrorist attacks showed that the degree of disaster related television viewing was positively associated with posttraumatic disorder and depression. Another negative impact is that excessive coverage or hype of sensitive news has led to communal riots at times. The illiterates are more prone to provocation than the literates. Constant repetition of the news especially sensational news breeds apathy and insensitivity.


One cannot forget entertainment industry. Entertainment is something that one cannot live without. Be it movies, radio, internet, etc., media is just everywhere in our life. Hence,when we look around, we could find that there is no aspect of our life which is not touched and affected by the media. Be it our work, relationships, education, or entertainment, media is seen everywhere. And there is no denial that we cannot live without media.


Influence of Internet on Children


We live in information age, where knowledge is power. Lifestyles are changing. Newspapers are available on the web. Cinema tickets can be booked on internet by logging onto the relevant sites. Entertainment concepts are changing. One can watch movies; listen to songs just by connecting to these sites sitting at home. There are sites on every subject in the world. However, internet is good and very useful only when it is accessed by teenagers or children to its limit, because the internet influences their minds greatly!


Positive Side of Internet


Internet has significantly altered our lifestyle in several ways. It is providing opportunities to wander about the world and escape out of the real world while sitting in the chair. Internet has its impact on Supply Chain Management and Customer Relationship Management- where e-commerce is playing a big role by automating Customer Relationship Management like voice interactive systems, where the complaints can be dealt with in no time. Banks are also changing their ways like introduction to home banking and electronic fund transfer, where funds are transferred without physically going to clearance houses.


In the field of education- concepts are changing from computer based training to web based training, like e-learning, online examination, etc. Then there is the virtual classroom concept where the lecture is webcasted. Any doubts that arise can be clarified through the virtual classroom concept. Internet has channels on jobs, personal, libraries, travel, art, computing, lifestyle, shopping, music, people, money, games, sports, etc. One can access information in the best and most inexpensive ways.


Voice mail is where they record voice and same is sent to the destination. Net- to-phone is where one can talk to anyone in the world at the cost of a local call. Internet and networking techniques are redefining the business as a whole and plenty are on the anvil for those interested in using them for gaining superior advantage who are well- versed in technological and management aspects. E-commerce is a forerunner in this regard.


Influence of Television on Children


Television has a major influence on children. Unfortunately, not everything they watch is appropriate for them. Television has both a negative and positive influence on children.


Positive Influence


Television offers a lot of benefits to kids, including

  • Because of its ability to create powerful touchstones, T.V. enables young people to share cultural experiences with others.
  • Shared viewing gives family members of all ages an opportunity to spend time together.
  •  Parents can use T.V. as a catalyst to get kids reading- following upon T.V. programmes by getting books on the same subjects or reading authors whose work was adopted for the programmes.
  • Great television can teach kids important values and life lessons.
  • T.V. programmes often explore controversial or sensitive issues, which can make it easier for parents and kids to discuss them.
  • Educational programming can develop young children’s socialization and learning skills.
  •  News, current events and historical programming can help make young people more aware of their cultures and people.
  • Documentaries can help develop critical thinking about society and the world.
  •  T.V. can help introduce our family to classic Hollywood films and foreign movies that may not be available in our local video stores.
  •   Cultural programming can open up the world of music and art for young people.



Communication is not a one-way street. To have others open up to us, we must be open ourself. By overcoming the barriers to communication, we can ensure that the statement we are making is not just heard, but also understood, by the person we are speaking with. In this way, we can be confident that our point has been expressed. That way, we can break down the barriers that get in to our way and start building relationships that really work. The media is also playing an effective role in communication. As mentioned above we should take the positive side of the media and use it effectively for effective communication.




Web links



Suggested References