Dealing with the factors negative to communication

Certain steps can be undertaken both at the organizational level, as well as at the individual level, so as to effectively deal with the barriers to communication in order to try to minimize them, if not eliminate them entirely.

Organizational Actions

1) Use of Feedback: an important means of improving the communication system is the use of feedback from the messages already sent. The feedback can tell the managers if the message has reached the receiver in the intended way or not.
2) Creating a Climate of Trust and Openers: The creation of a climate of trust and openness can go a long way in removing the communication barriers. When this is achieved, subordinates feel free to transmit negative as well as positive messages without the fear of reprisals.
3) Use of Multiple Channels: It is also necessary for managers to encourage the use of multiple channels – formal and informal, like written directive, interviews, MBWA (Management by Walking Around) and also the grapevine. This will lead to the messages being properly received.

Individual Skills

To overcome the barriers to communication at the individual level, Following are the suggested corrective steps;

1) Active Listening: Perhaps, the most important individual skill is listening skill. Active listening implies providing feedback to the sender to complete the communication loop. Active listening is an important tool for achieving greater managerial effectiveness.
2) Selecting the Appropriate Channel: Individuals should be competent enough to choose an appropriate communication channel, It would be better to say that an individual should be wise enough to avoid choosing a wrong channel.
3) Mutual Understanding: It is highly beneficial for both the sender as well as the receiver that they share a mutual understanding. These parties should make special effort to understand each other’s perspective.
4) Wandering Around: Finally, the manager as an individual should develop the skill of wandering around. It will help the managers to develop a better understanding of the organization through direct observation and face-to-face meetings. This will encourage the direct flow of ideas and thoughts between the manager and other members in the organizations.

Communication barriers and ways to overcome them



1) Interpersonal dynamics
2) Channels and media
3) Semantics
4) Inconsistencies


1) Status and power difference
2) Departmental needs and goals
3) Communication network unsuited to task
4) Lack of formal channels



1) Active listening
2) Selection of appropriate channel
3) Knowledge of other’s perspective

1) Climate of trust
2) Development and use of formal channels
3) Encouragement of multiple channels, formal and informal.
4) Changing organization or group structure to fit communication needs


1) Communication is the sum of all things a person does when he/she wants to create understanding in the minds of another.
2) Process of communication involves six steps: ideation, encoding, transmission, receiving, decoding and acting.
3) Communication is divided into two areas — Verbal and Non Verbal Communication.
4) Barriers to communication, blocks the process of communication and prevent mutual understanding. They are broadly divided into organizational and individual barriers and interpersonal barriers.
5) Barriers to communications can be minimized by undertaking steps at both organizational and individual levels.


The following example illustrates the Barrier in Communication

The Chief of Space Center comes to know about the possibility of seeing Halley’s Comet tomorrow and decides that all the members should witness it. He needs the following memo to the Director.

Tomorrow evening at 20:00 hrs, we will be able to see Halley’s Comet in the sky. This is something which we cannot see everyday, so everyone in the Center will line up outside in their best clothes to watch it. To mark the occasion of this rare occurrence, I will personally explain it to them. If it is raining, we will not be able to see it very well and in that case everyone should assemble in the canteen

By order of the Chief

The Director sent an extract of the memo to various Executive Directors:
By order of the chief, we will be able to see Halley’s Comet at 20:00 hrs tomorrow evening. If it is raining we shall not be able to see if very well on site, in our best clothes. In that case, the disappearance of the Comet will be followed through in the Canteen. This is something which we cannot see happen everyday.

Executive Directors

The Executive director sent out memos to their Heads of Departments

By order of the Chief, we shall follow through, in our best clothes, the disappearance of the Comet in the Canteen at 20:00 hrs, tomorrow evening. The Chief will tell us whether it is going to rain. This is something which we cannot see happening everyday.

Executive Director

To Heads of Departments

The Head of Departments sent message to their Managers:

If it is raining in the Canteen tomorrow evening which is something we cannot see happening everyday, our Chief in his best clothes will disappear at 20:00 hrs

Head of Department

All Managers

Managers sent notice to Executives:

Tomorrow evening at 20:00 hrs our chief will disappear. It is pity that we cannot see this happening everyday.