Business Communications: Communication Channels - Activity 3-1

1.    Consider the following verbal and non-verbal barriers to communication. Which
barriers are associated with which components of the communication discussed
above? Write your answers in the table below:

Components of
Barriers to communication that may be associated with
each component

Non-verbal Barrier/s
c) Inappropriate emotions
It is generally more effective to depend on logic instead of emotions when
communicating. For example, being overly enthusiastic about what you are
saying can alienate some audiences. Or allowing your emotions to run away with
you (e.g. not reining in your sadness or anger) can embarrass both you and your
audience, or worse, result in a communication breakdown (e.g. excessive anger
can create such an emotionally charged environment that reasonable discussion
is not possible).
d) Distractions
Any environmental or competing element that restricts one’s ability to concentrate
on the communication task hinders effective communication. Such distractions
are called noise. Note that ‘noise’ in communication is not always something
auditory (i.e. heard with the ear); it can be anything distracting such as the room
layout or the way people are dressed or what they are doing (e.g. using their
smartphones while someone is making a presentation).

Verbal Barrier/s
a) Inadequate knowledge or vocabulary
Before you can even begin to think about how you will communicate an idea, you
must have sufficient knowledge about the topic to know what you want to say.
b) Differences in interpretation
Sometimes senders and receivers attribute different meanings to the same word
or attribute the same meaning to different words. When this happens,
miscommunication can occur.
Non-verbal Barrier/s
b) Differences in perception
This may be influenced by people’s differences in orientation, exposure or
experience, knowledge, values, and the like.

Verbal Barrier/s
e) Over abstraction and ambiguity
An abstract word refers to an idea or feeling instead of to a concrete object or
something that can be seen or touched. For example, ‘communication’ is an
abstract word, whereas ‘memorandum’ is a concrete word. Abstract words are
necessary in order to communicate about things you cannot see or touch.
However, communication problems result when you use too many abstract words
or when you use too high a level of abstraction. The higher the level of
abstraction, the more difficult it is for the receiver to visualize exactly what the
sender has in mind.

Verbal Barrier/s
c) Language differences
This includes the nuances of the same language. For instance, the English
language may have different pronunciation, terms, expressions depending on
whose English (e.g. American English, Australian English, British English, Filipino
English, Singaporean English) is used.
d) Inappropriate use of expressions
Examples include slang, jargon, and euphemisms. Slang is a highly informal
expression, often short-lived, that is identified with a specific group of people.
Jargon is the technical terminology used within specialized groups. Euphemisms
are expressions used in place of words that may offend.
Non-verbal Barrier/s
a) Inappropriate or conflicting signals
When we say one thing — for example, that we are pleased to meet someone —
but our actions, posture, or expression suggests a contradictory message, others
will usually believe what we do rather than what we say.

Verbal Barrier/s
f) Polarization
At times, some people act as though every situation is divided into two opposite
and distinct poles, with no allowance for a middle ground. What you say and do
not say might create or lead to polarization. For example, when you congratulate
only one of the three people who took part in making a company presentation,
how would the other two presenters feel, even though you said nothing negative
about their performance?

2. Recall situations when you experiences any or some of these verbal and non-verbal
barriers to communication. As a communicator, what can you do to minimize these
barriers to communication?

I would normally experience ‘Distractions’ during trainings.  As the trainer (communicator) I get easily distracted with my trainees borrowing calculators from one another reasoning out that they failed to bring one (despite the fact that the training is Basis Statistics and the course outline includes descriptive statistics computation).  To avoid or minimize such incidents, I will include the phrase ‘BRING A CALCULATOR’ in every email that I will send to the participants and every memo that I will post in the bulletin boards.

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