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How to Overcome the 6 Barriers of Communication

How to Overcome the 6 Barriers of Communication

How to Overcome the 6 Barriers of Communication

There are two kinds of barriers of communication: Mental and physical.

Mental communication barriers include:

  • Inattentiveness.
  • Prejudice.
  • Closed mindedness.

Physical communication barriers include:

  • Distractions.
  • Lack of time.
  • Language.

Mental communication barriers.


All effective communication is dependent upon focusing attention on the message.

Inattentiveness is the act of failing to focus on the communication and instead, think of other things.

If anyone in the communication is NOT in focus, then the communication fails.

If we want to be good communicators, then we must first: focus our minds on the message.


Successful communication depends on being open to different kinds of people.

Some people are prejudiced, because they don't like talking to people who look, sound or dress differently to themselves.

If we want to be good communicators, then we must clear our minds of prejudice.

Closed mindedness.

Successful communication depends upon us being willing to change our views when we have good reason to do so.

Many people are closed minded and refuse to change their views, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Communication is pointless if minds are fossilised and frozen into a static state.

If we want to be good communicators then we must be willing to abandon our existing beliefs, if we are presented with compelling new information.

Physical communication barriers:


If minds are not focused on the message, then communications fail. Distractions cause minds to lose their focus, so they are a barrier to successful communication.

Distractions come in many forms: body language, background music, televisions, other people's conversations.

If the communication is important, we should have it in a place that is free of distractions.

Lack of time.

All communications take time to successfully accomplish. If there is NOT enough time, then the communication cannot succeed.

Therefore, a lack of time is a common barrier to communication.

Whenever we want to have important conversations, then we should ensure we allocate sufficient time, to make them successful.


All communications rely on language. But not everyone speaks the same language, and even those who do, use the same words to mean slightly different things.

What one person means by "Fair" is very different to what another person thinks of when they hear the same word.

Successful communication requires that all parties agree the exact meaning of the terms being used.

We should give important terms clear and distinct definitions, so that everyone knows exactly what is meant.

This is more difficult than it sounds, because many words have only vague meanings in the minds of many. Words such as:

  • Freedom.
  • Equality.
  • Poverty.
  • Fair taxation system.
  • Proper education for our kids.

These and other terms, need to have exact meanings if we are to achieve mutual understanding.

Language is the primary tool of effective communication, but it is also one of the barriers.

If we want to be excellent communicators, then we must define all our key terms.

Summary of how to overcome barriers to communication.

1. Focus on the message.

2. Clear our minds of prejudice.

3. If new compelling information is given, then we must be willing to abandon our existing beliefs.

4. Have conversations in places free of distractions.

5. Ensure we allocate sufficient time.

6. Define all our key terms.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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