What are the barriers of communication – (With Diagram)

barriers of communication

The barriers of communication are the cause of poor or unsuccessful communication, which is the exchange of thoughts, ideas, information, feeling, knowledge and emotions in an inefficient or faulty manner. 

A communication is made with a certain purpose or goal to be achieved but the barriers of communication limit this goal or sometimes distort the purpose severely. 

The barriers of communication can lead to bad or unsatisfactory performance, poor productivity, stress, emotional pressure and many more negative unwanted effects. 

In order to establish and accomplish effective communication, limiting or overcoming the barriers of communication is crucial. 

Having a clear understanding of the barriers of communication and avoiding them during communication will present you as a better and effective communicator. 

The parameters that limit or fail the purpose of communication between the sender of message and the receiver are considered as the barriers of communication. 

It is called the communication barrier because it has capacity to  limit or reduce the efficiency of the result and productivity of communication. 

Even Though the communication barriers may be different according to the situations, some of the main barriers for effective communication in interaction or exchange of information are given below. 

Some of the main barriers of communication are Language Barriers, Physical barriers, Emotional barriers or Psychological Barriers, Cultural Barriers, Technological barriers, Organizational Structure Barriers, Attitude Barriers, Assumption Barriers, Physiological Barriers, Socio-religious barriers etc.


  1. Barriers of Communication Meaning
  2. What are the 10 barriers of communication?
  3. A long list of 60 barriers of communication are
  4. Barriers of communication examples
  5.  How to overcome barriers of communication
  6. Final thoughts on what are the barriers of communication

1. Barriers of Communication Meaning

The factors that cause a communication to become inefficient and unproductive by creating limitations and drawbacks are called the barriers of communication. 

Communication barriers can be anything that prevent the effective communication of sharing information, thoughts, ideas, knowledge, emotions or feelings between a sender and receiver. 

Minimizing the barriers of communication confirms the successful way of delivering the information to the individual, small group or large group of audience.

2. What are the 10 barriers of communication?

The top ten barriers of communication are:

  • Language Barriers : Communication takes place using words, symbols and figures in most of the cases, where the sender of messages convey the information using words or language. Using inappropriate words or symbols or wrong language and being poor in the language the sender is communicating with can all become the barriers of communication. 
  • Physical barriers : Basically the physical barriers are those barriers which can be seen and touched physically.  They are the noise made by machines, people, doors, faulty equipment etc. Verbal communication between individuals, small groups or large groups where people are physically too far from each other and cause the listening issue is also considered as the severe barriers to effective communication
  • Emotional barriers : Humans are emotional beings, so the emotion is present in everyone. This emotion can be used for effective communication as well as become a barrier of communication, if not handled well. Emotions like anger, frustration, stress, sadness all these are the negative emotions that act as barriers of communication.
  • Cultural Barriers : People belonging to different cultures are predominantly adjusted with the cultural norms and systems. Sometimes these cultural norms can become barriers of communication. As an example, suppose you belong to a culture where girls wearing short clothes are cultural norms but if you are working in a place like Saudi Arabia where women are forbidden to wear short clothes can contradict with your culture, hence in this case your cultural norms can become a barrier in communication. 
  • Technological barriers :  Technological equipment are the integrated  part of communication,  they help in better, easy and efficient communication,  again they can become a barrier to the communication in case of malfunctioning or faulty works.
  • Organizational Structure Barriers :   As a simple organizational structure can enhance the communication process and productivity, in the same manner complex organizational structure can become a barrier to the communication. 
  • Nonverbal attitude Barriers : Verbal and nonverbal communication both together makes an effective interaction. A poor display of nonverbal attitude and behavior like not making regular eye contact, bad body language, having a frown facial expression etc. can become a severe barrier to communication. 
  • Not listening actively and assumption Barriers : Most people are very reluctant to listen actively. This not listening to the complete message can cause assumptions and as a result it can become a barrier to communication. 
  • Physiological Barriers : Poor ability of hearing and vision can be a barrier to effective communication, so understanding the issues with the listener or reader and communicating accordingly can solve this problem.
  • Using jargons/abbreviations/technical terms : Different industries have different kinds of jargons, abbreviations and technical terms used in its work area. Having a poor understanding of these jargons and technical  terms can cause barriers to the communication. 

3. A long list of 60 barriers of communication are:

  1. Semantic Barriers (They are the language and symbols used for communication not understood by the receiver of message)
  2. Bad way of expressing the message
  3. Words and symbols having multiple of meanings
  4. Wrong translation of message
  5. Making wrong assumptions
  6. Using jargons/abbreviations/technical terms which are not so common to everyone
  7. Poor Body Language and Gestures
  8. Psychological or Emotional Barriers
  9. Not listening entire message
  10. Lack of Attention during communication
  11. Distortion of information during Transmission or Poor Retention while message is conveyed from person to person
  12. Lack of trust due to inappropriate appearance, unprofessionalism etc.
  13. Issue with integrity due to possibility of lie or deception
  14. Different Time zone and geographical location
  15. Organizational Barriers caused by poor infrastructure in workflow
  16. Complex organizational structure
  17. Personal Barriers which are fear, lack of confidence and absence of interest
  18. Poor or lack of planning before establishing communication
  19. Purposeless communication
  20. Talking style (talking too fast, too slow, low volume or speaking too loudly, poor voice modulation according to the context)
  21. Bad handwriting
  22. Inadequate preparation
  23. Noise during communication (loud talk, mobile ringing, etc.)
  24. Lack of self-confidence
  25. Communicating through non-native language
  26. Having no interest regarding the subject of communication
  27. Issues with the physical health condition
  28. Mental and emotional health issue
  29. Disabilities in learning
  30. Carrying negativity about the communicator’s credibility or authenticity
  31. Being physically and mentally exhausted
  32. Bad tone of voice
  33. Poor eye contact with the audience
  34. Hearing impairment with the listener
  35. Unprofessional way of presenting information
  36. Unimposing, rigid, non professional, careless, or insensitive way of non-verbal communication
  37. Arrogant or superior behavior
  38. Focus less speech
  39. Inactive listening
  40. Incapable to detect the non-verbal cues of the audience
  41. Using complex vocabulary
  42. Disrespect towards another’s perspective
  43. Absence of empathy
  44. Predefined narrow and conservative mindset
  45. Poor understanding of personal space
  46. Grammar error in speaking and writing
  47. Cultural differences
  48. Socio-Religious believe
  49. Distractions
  50. Emotional states ( Emotional condition of message sender and receiver)
  51. Choosing the inappropriate channel or medium of communication
  52. Technical issues with devices like computer, tablet or smartphone
  53. Software issues
  54. Internet or network issues
  55. Not making clarification or feedback
  56. Possessing lack of knowledge on the subject of communication
  57. Providing too much of information or not being precise
  58. Gender and age group of audience
  59. Unwillingness to learn from others
  60. Delivering the message in a boring manner rather than engaging and attractive

4. Barriers of communication examples

Example of language Barrier in communication at a workplace:

John is a native english speaker but at present he is working in China. He is fluent in english but very weak in chinese language. Most people at his workplace communicate with each other using chinese language. He feels abandoned due to the language because he is not yet capable enough to communicate fluently using chinese. 

In this scenario, the language became a barrier for John in communicating with others in his workplace.

Example of cultural barrier in communication among couple:

Me and my wife belong to different cultures, we understand the difference between cultures. But the way respect is shown in my culture towards others is entirely different from my wife’s culture, so if my wife will practice her cultural way of respect to the people of my culture, it will seem disrespectful or meaningless to them, same things will happen with me.

So, in this scenario culture becomes a barrier in our communication with others.

5. How to overcome barriers of communication

Without doubt effective communication requires barrier free interaction. Less barriers means more effectiveness in communication and more barriers mean less effective communication.

Therefore, in order to establish a productive and efficient communication process, first of all, barriers must be identified and then minimized or overcomed.

Barriers of communication can be overcomed by following some of the guidelines, which are:

  • Developing the verbal communication skills

Which means learning the language needed for communication and using it clearly and precisely to deliver the information without creating misunderstanding and confusion. 

  • Improving the non-verbal communication skills

Our nonverbal expression can either become a barrier or stepping stone for effective communication. Having a clear understanding about nonverbal communication skills definitely will help you to overcome the barriers of communication. 

  • Understanding the nonverbal cues of others

It is very important that we read the nonverbal cues of the audience and act accordingly. By keeping our attention on the expression of our audience, we can understand whether they are understanding the message clearly or they are confused. Reading these sorts of nonverbal cues and communicating accordingly will create a better communication.

  • Always going through a planning and preparation process

Planning wisely and preparing well before communication enhances confidence and increases the efficiency of communication by overcoming many barriers.

  • Making sure that internet connection or network and electronics gadgets are working well

A poor internet connection or network during communication over the internet or mobile network, malfunctioning of electronics gadgets may severely cause barriers to the entire communication and lead to unsuccessful communication. 

So, it is crucially recommended that these are thoroughly checked beforehand. 

  • Gaining a good understanding of cultural and social differences

While working in a multicultural work environment, where people are carrying some predominant cultural concepts, it is very important to value others perspective and cultural way of behavior. In the same manner following the industry standard and requirement, keeping the cultural differences in balance is essential for overcoming the barriers.

6. Final thoughts on what are the barriers of communication

Communication is an undivided part of every individual life,society and workplaces. The intent and desire of the communicator can be tremendously affected by the barriers of communication. A successful communication is always made by reducing or removing the barriers. 

  • Barriers of communication are the parameters that work as the indicator of negative results by preventing the smooth and desired way of communication.
  • There are different types of barriers of communication, which can occur in different scenarios. 
  • Offline or online both types of communication can face the barriers and can cause a poor result.
  • Knowing the possible barriers and preventing them beforehand increases the efficiency of communication.
  • A barrier free communication is considered as productive or successful communication. 

Let me know your suggestion in the comment section below for adding more life to this article and helping others to grow.

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