Barriers of Communication (+3 Main Categories)

In this article, we will look at the various barriers of communication inside the workplace and in general. This article also looks at the most common communication barriers and a detailed list of barriers of communication.

What are Barriers of Communication?

A communication barrier can be defined as something which restricts or disables communicators from delivering the right message to the right individual at the right moment, or a recipient from receiving the right message at the right time. Numerous communication barriers exist, causing a message to be distorted when it moves from sender to recipient. It causes confusion and discord amongst the members of an organization.

3 Main Categories of Communication Barriers

  • Language Communication Barriers (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Physical Communication Barriers (Social distancing, remote jobs, body language) 
  • Emotional Communication Barriers (arise due to emotions such as anger, fear etc.)

Most Common Barriers to Effective Communication

Here is a list of the most common barriers to effective communication:

  • Perspective and viewpoint dissimilarities.
  • Hearing or speech impairments are examples of physical disabilities.
  • Inattention, boredom, distractions, or a lack of importance to the recipient.
  • The challenge of understanding different accents due to language differences.
  • Jargon use: The use of words that are overly complex, unfamiliar, or technical.
  • Emotional Barriers: Many people may struggle to communicate their feelings.
  • Taboo topics: Certain subjects may be taboo. Politics, faith, disability (mental or physical), sexuality and sex, prejudice, and any viewpoint that might be seen as unpopular are examples of taboo or challenging topics.
  • Biases and standards that may lead to erroneous conclusions or stereotyping. Human beings usually hear what they want to hear rather than what is really being said, and draw erroneous judgments as a result.
  • Differences in culture: Different societies have different interpersonal communication patterns, as well as unique ways of expressing emotions. The definition of personal space, for example, differs across societies and cultural environments.
  • Physical barriers to nonverbal communication: Being unable to interpret nonverbal cues, expressions, tone, and overall body language may reduce the effectiveness of communication. Calls and texts, emails, and other technology-based communication tools are often less efficient than in person communication.

Classification of Barriers of Communication

Here is a complete list of barriers of communication:

  • Language Barriers
  • Semantic Barriers 
  • Psychological Barriers 
  • Organisational Barriers 
  • Personal Barriers 
  • Mechanical Barriers 
  • Emotional Barriers
  • Status Barriers
  • Perceptual Barriers 
  • Cultural Barriers
  • Physical Barriers
  • Physiological Barriers

Language Barriers

Even when speaking in the same language, the words used for communication may become a barrier if the recipient does not clearly comprehend it. 

A message containing special terminology and acronyms, for example, would be misunderstood by a receiver who is unfamiliar with it. Regional slang and phrases may be misunderstood or perhaps even considered insulting or offensive.

Semantic Barriers 

This refers to linguistic and symbolic barriers, as well as their understanding. Every language is made up of symbols that are used to communicate information from one person to another. 

In a language, sometimes Morse code and mathematical symbols will be used for communication. The communication barriers are caused by the person’s limited linguistic capabilities.

Psychological Barriers 

The sender’s and receiver’s psychological states of mind make a significant difference in interpersonal contact. When a person is upset, his tone takes precedence over the message’s script. This puts a barrier in the way of direct communication, resulting in emotional barriers.

There are a variety of behavioural and psychological challenges that can prevent people from communicating effectively. 

Some people suffer from stage fright, speech problems, phobias, depression, and other issues. Each of these circumstances can be difficult to handle at times and will inevitably create barriers in communication.

Organisational Barriers 

This is determined by the general policies of an organisation which govern the organization’s communication system. 

Since it is beneficial to introduce an efficient communication flow in the organisation, such a policy may be a written text describing various elements of communication, specifically the upward, downward, and lateral aspects.

Personal Barriers 

These are communication barriers that arise as a result of personal constraints at different levels of an organization. The attitude of supervisors is crucial in the communication process. 

The supervisor’s interaction with their subordinate is a critical stepping stone to success, which many supervisors overlook as a result of a lack of time. Another important personal barrier is the individual’s hesitancy to communicate.

Mechanical Barriers 

Another barrier in mechanical communication is this. It is the duty of the message sender to choose the appropriate medium. Consider the delivery of letters from one organisation to the other at a distant location.

Emotional Barriers

The convenience and ease with which a person can communicate is determined by their emotional IQ. Communication would be easier for someone who is emotionally intelligent. 

People who allow their emotions to control them, on the other side, will encounter obstacles or communication barriers. 

For effective communication, a perfect blend of emotions and information is needed. Rage, irritation, and irony can cloud a person’s judgement abilities, limiting the efficacy of their communication.

Status Barriers

Status barriers arise because in a traditional workplace an employee’s status is defined by his or her role within the organization. A mid-level manager can be preoccupied with his superior and pay less attention to his subordinate’s ideas. 

In the view of the subordinate, an inferiority complex prevents him from offering opinions to the superior and sometimes these barriers are created by the superiors themselves.

Perceptual Barriers 

It is common knowledge that the very same things are perceived in different ways by different individuals This is a factor that must be taken into account during the process of communication. 

Effective communication requires an understanding of the receiver’s awareness levels. All messages or communications must be simple and direct. There should be no place for a huge array of interpretations.

Cultural Barriers

Cultural barriers are very common because the world has now become a global village.

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, every large office will have employees from all over the globe. Several core values of life have different meanings in different cultures. From one culture to the next, clothing, religion (or lack thereof), foods, beverages, pets, and overall attitude can differ dramatically.

As a result, it is important that we consider these various cultures when communicating. This is what we mean when we say that something is culturally acceptable. 

During the initiation phases of many multinational corporations, specialized courses are given to teach people about some of the other cultures and how to be considerate and respectful of others.

Physical Barriers to Communication

Physical barriers are by far the most visible obstacles to successful communication. In theory, most of these obstacles can be easily removed. Noise, closed doors, unreliable communication devices, closed cabins, and other obstacles are among them. 

Physical distance between staff members, combined with defective equipment, may often exacerbate existing barriers to effective communication in a big workplace.

Physiological Barriers

Certain illnesses, diseases, or other disabilities can often obstruct efficient communication within an organization’s various networks. 

Physiological barriers to good communication include shrillness of speech, dyslexia, and several others. These aren’t critical, though, since they can be effectively compensated for and eliminated.


In this article, we looked at the various barriers of communication inside the workplace and in general. This article also looked at the most common communication barriers and a detailed list of barriers of communication.

Frequently Asked Questions: Barriers of Communication

What are seven C’s of effective communication?

Most management gurus have mastered the seven C’s theory of effective communication from effective business communication. Here are the seven C’s of effective communication:


What are the four barriers to effective listening?

The 4 Barriers to Effective Listening

We have a natural desire to talk first and concentrate on our own agenda. This obstructs our ability to really hear and comprehend the other person.
Negative impressions of the speaker and/or the subject.
We have the potential to think at a much faster rate than we can talk.
Emotional, outside, inner, and cultural noise are all sources of distraction.

What are the 9 Elements of communication?

Context, Sender, Encoder, Message, Channel, Decoder, Receiver, Feedback, and Noise are the nine communication elements that must be present for effective communication between sender and receiver. The components of communication are also known as communication elements.

Which factors are considered cultural barriers to communication?

Principles and Values: Cultural variations in principles and values often build a communication barrier. One example is the disparity in the degree of acceptability between cultures. Religion, politics, and epistemology all have an impact on communication and may create cultural barriers.

What are examples of language barriers?

Dialects are another example of a language barrier. While individuals can speak the same language, dialect variations may lead to misunderstandings and communication difficulties. India, for example, has over 720 dialects and over 22 major languages written in thirteen different scripts.

What is a cultural barrier?

Cross-cultural communication inside an organisation is hampered by cultural barriers. Cultural differences can become barriers to workplace progress when people from different backgrounds speak a different language, hold different cultural beliefs, or communicate using different gestures and expressions.

What is the most important tool of communication?


The most powerful tool for communication is language. Communication comes from the Latin word “communicare,” which means “to share.” Body language, stance, and gestures are essential communication tools as well, but they take second place to language.

What are the barriers to effective communication?

Some barriers to effective communication are inattention, boredom, distractions, or a lack of importance to the recipient. Perception and perspective differences. Hearing or speech impairments are examples of physical disorders that might hamper communication.


Barriers to Effective Communication

What are the Barriers of Communication?