Recognising Communication Barriers in the Workplace

Good communication is essential in all businesses, whether the communication is with colleagues, subordinates, managers, clients, suppliers, regulators, and more. Communication is not always easy, however, leading to communication barriers developing in the workplace.

This is despite the fact that communication is now technically very easy. For example, you can send a contract or any other document to the other side of the world in seconds, and you can hold meetings without the need for any of the participants to travel. Plus, you can do all these things without the need for an office, desk, landline, or computer. All you need, in fact, is a phone connected to the internet.

Communication barriers, however, have nothing to do technology. Instead, communication barriers are the things that prevent your business from using the available tools and technology properly.

There are several negative impacts this can have on your business including:

  • Higher levels of employee stress
  • Reduced efficiency
  • Lower productivity
  • Mistakes
  • Lost sales
  • And more

To prevent these negative impacts, you must understand the causes of communication barriers in business. Here are the most common:

Ineffective Methods

Using inappropriate methods of communication will cause difficulties in your business. The types of communication method that are inappropriate will depend on the situation and the people involved, but email usually comes at the top of the list.

Of course, email does have significant benefits and it is a powerful business tool. It is not good at everything, however. For example, email is not good as a collaborative working tool. In addition, email can be a very impersonal form of communication making it unsuitable for many different types of situation.

Communication Styles

People in your company will communicate in different ways. There will be some, for example, who are professional while also being warm and personal. There will be others, however, who are more functional. They keep the content of communications to a minimum as well as using an impersonal tone.

Clashing styles, such as the example above, can result in communication barriers and problems.

Unclear Instructions

Sometimes communication barriers exist simply because instructions are unclear. This is most common when there is a chain the instructions must pass through. For example, going from a senior manager to a supervisor and then to a worker. If the instructions are unclear at any point, issues can arise.


Communication barriers can also exist because people are under time pressure. This leads to communications not taking place and, when they do, them being ineffective.

Personal Differences

Personal differences between employees can also create communication barriers in businesses. This can happen in several ways, including individuals using sharp tones when communicating, communicating at a bare minimum level and no more, or people not communicating with each other at all.

Poor-Quality Leadership

Finally, leadership plays an important role in how effective communications are in a business. This means the leaders in your business (the senior managers/directors/owners) must communicate effectively. Everyone else in the business will then follow this lead.

So, instead of sending a company-wide email, would it be more effective to call a meeting or host a web chat? Speaking of meetings, are your company’s meetings too long, are their too many participants, and do meetings lack focus?

These are just some of the things you should think about to improve communications in your business.

For more help or advice running your business, please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.

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