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Factors that may affect effective communication

Updated April 17, 2017

Communication is not just about speech and the words you say. When someone is trying to convey her thoughts or feelings, it can be difficult to make another person understand what she is trying to say. In daily life, numerous factors affect how effective your communication is, such as gestures, text messaging and listening.

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Environmental Factors

The setting in which you try to communicate to a person can play an important role in how effective your communication is. Things such as outside noise or distractions that take away your audience's attention can limit the amount of information he actually retains. Obstacles that remove your direct line of vision with a person or his vision with a visual presentation also can affect the way he retains information.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is essentially body gestures that a person does while trying to communicate to another person or multiple individuals. Being too close to a person can make her feel uncomfortable and ultimately affect the way she listens; just the same, being too far away can limit the attention another person or audience will give. Distracting nonverbal gestures such as tapping a pen or your foot, looking around the room or playing with your hair can affect your communication.

Text Messaging and Email

Text messaging and e-mail have grown in popularity over the past few years. Now that individuals have chat, e-mail and texts at their fingertips, it is often easier to have a conversation when it is convenient and eliminate telephone conversations or face-to-face contact. Though the written word can be powerful, it often does not prove an effective way of communication. Tone can be misinterpreted, facts can be left out and individuals can misread instructions. When using text messaging or e-mail for communication, it is important to be clear and concise with everything you say and ensure that it cannot be misinterpreted or taken offensively.


Listening is an important part of communication. It is up to the individuals in a conversation or within a meeting to listen to what is said around them actively and intently. Individuals should keep eye contact during one-on-one conversations or keep an eye on the speaker in a meeting to listen effectively. Listening effectively will give an individual the capability to ask the right questions and often clarify information that can go misunderstood otherwise.

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About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.

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