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Barriers to Interpersonal Communication

Updated November 21, 2016

Interpersonal communication is defined as sending information between two or more people. It requires a sender, a receiver, a message, and a method of transmitting or communicating a message. Interpersonal communication is characterised not only by the spoken word being communicated but also by non-verbal communication like eye contact, facial expression, tone, inflection and body language. Various barriers to interpersonal communication can arise, causing difficulty in understanding between two people

Language Barriers

While verbal cues aid interpersonal communication, it is clear that differing use of language can cause confusion and difficulty in understanding. Poor language skills can create a barrier to interpersonal communication; whether the messenger has a lack of knowledge of the language itself or a lack of understanding of colloquialisms, misunderstandings can arise.

Technological Barriers

While e-mail and text messaging have provided many new and quick ways to communicate, they can also be barriers to interpersonal communication by removing the personal and verbal aspect of the communication. It has been shown that 45 per cent of communication comes from tone of voice, eye contact and body language, all of which are lost in communication using today's technology.

Personal Barriers

Every person has his own filter of life experiences which he places on each communication he has. Whether he has communicated with someone who resembles the messenger, or who is in the same position or stature as the messenger, a receiver can sometimes anticipate or translate a message in a way that the sender did not intend. Personal barriers and experiences can affect the interpersonal communication experience due to no fault of the communicators.

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About the Author

Sharon Harleigh has been writing for various online publications since 2008. She specializes in business, law, management and career advice. Harleigh is a proud graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School.