The word communication is derived from a latin word communicare which means to share or exchange information, news and views etc. The oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the word communication as the ‘activity or process of expressing ideas and feelings or of giving people information’. In brief communication can be called an act of transferring an idea or some news from one person to another.
Pauley and Riordan write, “Communication is the act of transmitting an idea from one person to another. Communication always requires at least two people, the sender of the message and its receiver”.
According to Keith Davis, “Communication is the transfer of information and understanding from one person to another person. It is a way of reaching other with facts, ideas, thoughts and values”
American Management Association defines communication as “behavior that results in an exchange of meaning.”
Larry A.Samover writes, “We are born into and live in a society that we share with other people and it is communication that enables us to function in that society”.
Communication is the process of sharing one’s knowledge, interests, attitudes, opinions, feelings and ideas with other person. It is a two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning.
The process of communication:
Communication is a two-way process that can be divided as:
1. Ideation: In order to begin any kind of communication one should be clear about the message. Ideation is when one conceives an idea and wants to share it. Selection of the idea depends on analysis of the audience. One must be able to answer the questions:-‘what to say and to whom to say it?’
2. Encoding: The sender encodes the idea. It is the process of converting ideas, feelings and facts into words or actions. One must know how to express the idea in terms of language, so that receiver will understand. The language must also be one that is easily understood by the audience. The sender should know to organize the expression in an appropriate manner with proper accent,intonation, grammar and vocabulary.
3. Channel:- Channels are medium of transmission of the information. To physically transmit the message to your receiver, one has to select the communication channel.(verbal or non- verbal, spoken or written) and a medium (letter, telephone, email, report). One should select medium according to the audience and information.
4. Decoding:- Decoding is absorbing and understanding of the message by the receiver. It is the process of converting the encoded message into a form, understood by the receiver. The proper comprehension of a message depends on the use of appropriate channel. And if there is no barrier to communication the receiver interprets the message correctly and responds in desired way.
5. Feedback:- Feedback is considered the most important step as it enables us to evaluate the effectiveness of message. Communication will be called incomplete without feedback. Feedback can be positive or negative, completes the process of communication.
Interpersonal communication may fail also. In many communications, the message may not be received exactly the way the sender intended. Therefore, it is important that the communicator seeks feedback to check that their message is clearly understood.
Barriers to communication are the difficulties which distort the message being properly understood by receiver.Effective communication involves overcoming these barriers and conveying a clear and concise message.
Some of the barriers are:
This occurs when communication is hindered due to physical disturbances. some physical barriers are:
- Environment: It is due to environmental discomfort like poor light, climatic disturbances.If a receiver of a communication works in an area with bright lights, glare on computer screens will probably experience communication breakdowns on a regular basis.
- closed territories(door):- it is when the receiver of message is physically far away from the sender due to closed territories. Receiver is unable to see the non-verbal cues, gestures, posture and general body language.
- Noise:- Noise can be an interference with the decoding of messages sent over a channel by an encoder. Environmental noise is the noise that physically disrupts communication for example, standing next to loud speakers at a party.
Psychological barrier is due to mental disturbances. Anxiety, fear, stress, attitude, perception, Lack of attention, interest etc. The term psychological barrier is the self limiting belief, a person may have which in turn affects his behavior .
- Attitude– A person with negative attitude will not be able to establish an effective channel with anyone. No one can explain the person who is not ready to listen or understand.
- Perception– Perception is awareness, comprehension or an understanding of something. Different people may have different perceptions for the same thing. Due to different perceptions,the same information can be perceived positively or negatively by the different receivers.Prejudices or prejudgment– When people start making judgement on the basis of their prejudices they are unable to communicate effectively.
- Personality traits- A person having negative personality is not ready to involve in communication effectively.
When communication is disrupted due to linguistic inabilities, it is known as semantic barrier. Semantics is related to meaning of words. It is related to connotative and denotative meanings of words and its study. If the encoder and decoder do not share the some connotative meaning for a word, miscommunication occurs.
Some of the semantic barriers can be:
- Misinterpretation of words
- Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents.
- Ambiguous words or sentences: words lacking clarity lead to major semantic barrier.
- Use of Jargon(technical terms)
- Symbols or Words with Different Meanings: A symbol or a word can have different meanings. If the receiver misunderstands the communication, it becomes meaningless.
The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do the way in which emotions are expressed. For example, the concept of personal space varies between cultures and between different social settings.
Every organization has its own structure and communication techniques. Rigid hierarchy and complexity of structure causes communication barriers.
The main organizational barriers are:
- Long chain command:– Organizations having long chain of commands(more number of layers of communication channels), the information is distorted at each level because of poor listening and lack of concentration.
- Negative attitudes in the work place:- Negative attitudes is spread due to different groups, made due to individual and cultural differences. This can become the reason of conflicts which hamper the growth of an organization.
- Improper channel of communication- If there are disturbances in the medium of communication such as intranet,or intercom, it can hamper the communication.