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This document has been prepared by Professor N Bringi Dev, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and is made available for use only with the course ÔEffective Business CommunicationÕ delivered in the online course format by IIM Bangalore. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any meansÑ electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwiseÑwithout the permission of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (email@example.com) 1 Effective Business Communication Professor N. Bringi Dev Barriers to Communication Barriers to Communication Why is communication ineffective? By now, you are aware of the process of communication. While the model appears to be simple enough in theory, in practise it is found that communication need not be so. Many times, we find that what we say, write or otherwise communicate results in behaviour that we did not expect. Many times, having said something, we feel ‘that did not come out sounding the way it should have. In some cases, our communication is misinterpreted, sometime with drastic and negative results. In electronic data communication, the coding and decoding protocols, conventions and processes are very cleared defined and know to all (as in international standards and conventions), thereby ensuring high-fidelity exchange of information. Sometimes, there are other factors that cause electronic data communication to be sub-par; in such cases, we once again have very clearly defined processes and protocols to clean up the message or to re-transmit it until it is perfect. Unfortunately, human beings are not super-efficient or standardised cybernetic entities! The reasons why human communication becomes complex and sometimes incorrect are: a) The encoding process was incorrect, in that the sender did not compose the message correctly with respect to the receiver, or did not provide enough information to the receiver on how to decode the message. b) The decoding process was incorrect, in that the receiver did not or could not decode the message using the same basis as the sender used, or c) There were other factor in the use of language, technology or medium that caused alteration to the message. There are two sets of causative factors that impede the exchange of information in an effective manner. One set of such factors is referred to as ‘Noise’, and the other Barriers to Communication. Noise Noise refers to those elements which interfere with the process of transmitting and receiving messages transmitted by the Sender. Some examples of noise are: a) Physical noise: external sounds in the environment in which the transaction is happening. Crowded cafes, public places, social gatherings and such like generate a multitudes of sounds that could interfere with the process by being distracting as well as confusing. b) Physiological factors, such as deafness, lack of or low vision or other disabilities on the part of the receiver that cause loss or distortion of information
This document has been prepared by Professor N Bringi Dev, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and is made available for use only with the course ÔEffective Business CommunicationÕ delivered in the online course format by IIM Bangalore. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any meansÑ electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwiseÑwithout the permission of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (firstname.lastname@example.org) 2 Effective Business Communication Professor N. Bringi Dev Barriers to Communication Barriers to Communication Barriers are those factors which cause changes (distortion and misinterpretation) in the interpretation of the message by the receiver. Some of the barriers are: a) Psychological and Attitudinal issues: A number of these issues could come into play, such as selective listening based on the emotional state of the receiver, the relationship between the participants in the transaction (for example: what can I learn from subordinates and less experience people), any predisposition the receiver might have, such as bias, prejudice, gender bias or even prior experience in dealing with the sender (for example: the last time the client lied to me, and will do so this time too). These factors act as filters that change the way information is decoded, resulting in improper exchange. b) Lack of Interest or Motivation: In order for the receiver to be motivated and open to receiving the message in its totality, it is necessary for the sender to overcome any initial resistance that the sender may offer. The sender, upon the initiation of communication will evaluate the situation and ask oneself if he or she should invest her time and effort in this dialogue. The basic question asked by the receiver is ‘What’s in it for me?”. Only if there is some value perceived by the recipient will she open up and become completely receptive to the sender. It is therefore necessary for the sender to explain her purpose and what is the benefit or other value that the receiver will get by participating in this exchange. c) Language-related: differences in structure, grammar and use of vocabulary between the sender and the receiver. Accent and pronunciation (for example: desert vs. dessert) could result in ambiguity. The rate of speech, pausing, silence and intonation could give rise to different interpretation by the recipient. c) Cultural: People from different cultures and geographies can and will interpret message based on their frame of reference, causing aberration in the decoding process. Stereotyping on the basis of culture or nationality is an example of a barrier in this context (for example: people who studied in (Indian and British) public schools are elitist). Some words and their usage have varied connotations in different parts of the world; the use of these words could lead to widely divergent reactions on people. d) Knowledge-related: During the synthesis and composition of a message, the sender will have made assumptions relating to the knowledge and skills of the receiver. If these assumptions are incorrect, the receiver will not be able to comprehend the message. For example, advertising professional are required to make choices of not merely the language to use in an advertisement, but also the level of proficiency that the reader has in that language. This is a double-edged sword; if they assume the reader has a high level of proficiency, the advertising copy may be too high-flown for the bulk of the readers; on the other hand pitching it too low would result in reader feeling that, based on the level of language used, that he or she was not the intended audience for the product or service being advertised.