Four Barriers to Effective Communication

ibusinessmen talking by phone image by Artsem Martysiuk from

One of the keys to a successful relationship is good communication. Communication is a process of transferring information between two individuals, the sender and the receiver. For communication to be a success, the receiver must understand the message that the sender intended. However, there are barriers that interfere with good communication.

Physical Barriers

One of the major barriers to communication is the physical barrier. Physical barriers are present in the area surrounding the sender and receiver. Physical barriers include a work environment that has a lot of background noise, poor lighting or unstable temperature. These barriers can affect how individuals try to send and receive messages. If there is a lot of background noise than the receiver may not hear what the sender is saying. If the temperature in a work environment is too hot or too cold the sender may not be as focused on the message that they are trying to send. If people in the work place are separated by others, communication is not as effective. As long as people still have a personal space that they can call their own, proximity to others aids communication because it helps us get to know one another.

Lack of Subject Knowledge

According to the College of Marin, if a person who sends a message lacks subject knowledge, they may not be able to convey their message clearly and the receiver could misunderstand the message, thus affecting communication. If the sender is not familiar with the subject content that he is trying to send, then it may be too vague and the receiver may not receive relevant details.


The inability to converse in a language that is known by both the sender and receiver is the greatest barrier to effective communication. reports that when a person uses inappropriate words while conversing or writing, it could lead to misunderstanding between the sender and a receiver. If the sender doesn't clearly speak the same language as the receiver then they may be using words that do not make sense.


Your emotions could be a barrier to communication. If you are engrossed in your emotions for some reason, you tend to have trouble listening to others or understanding the message conveyed to you. According to the College of Marin, if someone is angry, resentful, happy or excited, that person may be too preoccupied with emotions to receive the intended message. Emotions mainly involve fear, mistrust and suspicion. Excessive fear of what others might think of us and what we say can interfere with what we want to communicate and our ability to form meaningful relationships.