Concepts and Problems of Communication | Communication Problems

word CRUNCH in red showing communication problems

This article discusses various concepts and communication problems that may arise from time to time. Business communication is different from private and personal communication. It is different in form and content. The main purpose of business communication is to have an effective sharing of information with the desired feedback. In fact, no two persons are alike in the world. They may have good communication skills, but, as they are different from one another, there may come some problems in exchanging messages. Following are some concepts and communication problems that can create hurdles.

  • Noise
  • Understanding level
  • Perception of Reality
  • Conventions of Meaning
  • Values, Attitudes, and Opinions
  • Social and Cultural Behaviour
  • Emotional States
  • Stereotyping
  • Gender Difference

Noise

Noise is commonly known as one of the communication problems that create hurdles in communication. It may be internal or external. Internal noises are a person’s thoughts and feelings that interfere with the communication process.

External noises are sights, sounds, and other things that draw one’s attention away. Another kind of noise is semantic noise. Semantic noises are the unintended meanings that are produced by certain words. In other words, semantic noise refers to incorrect use or misunderstanding of words and grammar. Whether internal, external or semantic, noise remains a major factor that creates communication problems.

Understanding Level

The understanding level is still another important factor for communication problems. For successful business communication, it is very essential that the sender and the receiver have the same level of understanding.  Thus, the symbols and words they use should create the same meanings in both, the sender’s and the receiver’s minds. But, due to differences in their mental approaches, messages become open to misunderstanding. It is quite possible that one particular word or symbol creates different meaning for the sender and the receiver. It is, therefore, important that both, the sender and the receiver have common or at least closer levels of understanding.

Perception of Reality

Of all the communication problems, Perception of reality is the most important and the most common one.

As people’s mental levels are different, perception of Reality varies from person to person. The world of reality is very complex. Each person’s mind is different. So, people create their own personal realities by processing the data through their own mental filters. Hence, what is real for one person might not be real for the other.  On the basis of a perception of reality, people make various abstractions, inferences.

Abstracting

Abstracting is a process of summarizing or shortening. Focusing on some details and omitting others, on the basis of their importance, is called abstract. Therefore, whether we write or speak, we are usually restricted by time, expense, and space. In this way, we always keep things short. Hence, we just go for the things that we think are important to communicate. But, the risk of abstracting is due to different perceptions of the realities of the sender and the receiver. Consequently, what is important for the sender might not be important for the receiver. Thus, the receiver doubts the integrity of the sender. This misunderstanding creates communication problems in the way of effective communication.

Inferring

Conclusions made on the basis of previous evidence are called inferences. People make inferences all the time. Some inferences are both necessary and desirable, while others are risky, even dangerous.

Necessary, Desirable Inferences

  • When we go to the office of a businessman, we assume that we will be treated professionally and hospitably.
  • While we talk to somebody in information office of an organization, we infer that he/she will be expert in the art of communication.
  • When we see some officer running out of his/her office, we directly assume that there is some emergency.
  • When we drop a letter to a mail box, we infer that it will be delivered to our intended reader.

Most of the time, these inferences are correct. However, they prove wrong sometime. Thus, such a situation causes misunderstandings.

To avoid misunderstanding of communication, it is necessary that the sender and receiver take a common view of the situation. For this purpose, the sender and the receiver must have a perception of other’s world of reality. This will help in taking an objective view of the situation, which will minimize the possibilities of mistakes and communication problems.

Conventions of Meaning

Conventions of Meaning is another aspect of the concepts that are the sources of many communication problems among people

Symbols are signs of things that exist. Connections between signs and their referents are unique to each individual because of their personal experiences. The knowledge people have about a subject or word, affects the meaning they attach to it. Different word interpretations are especially notable in miscommunicated instructions, and in reactions to denotations and connotations.

Miscommunicated Instructions

When the two communicators take different meanings from the same words or use different words for the same meaning, miscommunication occurs. Commonly, miscommunication occurs in almost all walks of life. To avoid communication problems when you give instructions or discuss issues, be sure your words convey the intended meaning to the recipient. Similarly, when you are the recipient of unclear instructions, before acting on them, ask questions to determine the sender’s intended meaning.

Denotations and Connotations

Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word. Hence all people agree on dictionary meanings. Denotative words are straightforward with a single meaning. Similarly, they are clear and do not create ambiguity. Such words give information without a personal opinion. In other words, they do not discuss the positive or negative aspects of a person, product, or event.

On the contrary, some words have connotative meanings, arousing qualitative judgments and personal reactions. The term house is denotative. On the other hand, Mansion, villa, home, and cottage have the same meaning, but also some deeper connotative meaning. In short, connotation denotes not only denotations but also some subjective meaning. Another example is a girl. It refers to a female human being. Similarly, the words daughter, wife, sister refer to the same person with some associations in the form of her parents.

Values, Attitudes, and Opinions

Values, attitudes, and opinions are also big factors that cause communication problems. What is most important for effective and successful communication is that the sender adapts the message to the views and mental filters of the recipient. The success of communication depends on the values, attitudes, and opinions of the communicators. One should not forget that every person and every organization has a unique filter that always affects their response. These are discussed as under:

Favorable or Unfavorable Information

If the information is favorable, the response of the receiver will be positive. If the information is unfavorable, recipients’ reactions will be negative.

Complete or Incomplete Information

Similarly, people react according to their attitudes towards the information. They do not analyze the facts. In such situations, the complete and incomplete information determines their response.

Closed Minds

Some people have closed minds. They react positively if they think it is to their benefit. If otherwise, they become resistant. For example when somebody borrows a loan, and when he is told to pay.

Sender’s Credibility

Similarly, people react favorably or unfavorably according to the sender’s credibility. When a personal, business or environmental stress occurs, attitudes towards messages may be affected. Life’s stress affects one’s ability to send effective messages and color one’s responses when one receives them. Sensitivity to one’s own state of mind as well as to that of the receiver helps to communicate the messages in a positive way.

Social and Cultural Behavior

Social and cultural background also plays a vital role in determining viewpoints of people thus creating communication problems. Social and cultural inheritances of a particular group of people undoubtedly condition their behavior. Two people with different social and cultural statuses do not easily understand each other’s points of view. This eventually leads to a misunderstanding of communication. To Bridge this barrier it is important that while communicating, the sender and the receiver remain thoughtful of each other’s social and cultural background.

Emotional States:

Another important factor creating communication problems is the emotional state of the communicator. Equally important is the emotional state of the receiver. A highly charged emotional state, at the time of interaction, is always likely to lead to misunderstanding. Thus, more than often, it becomes a barrier to communication. For meaningful communication, it is necessary that the persons involved in communication do not let themselves be carried away by their emotions.

woman working on a computer exhibiting communication problems.

Stereotyping:

Stereotyping means “having generalized perceptions about others”. It is a fact that communication is seriously affected by stereotyped impressions. Sometimes communicators ignore individual differences between persons and organizations. They view and treat all persons and organizations alike, identifying them as belonging to a general group.  This type of treatment always runs the risk of distorting reality which in turn affects the results of communication, and ultimately adds to the communication problems.

Gender Differences:

Every individual has a unique personality. People have different abilities, traits, and dispositions. No two persons have similar mental filters. These differences become more visible on the basis of gender. When we compare the actions and reactions of the men with those of women, we find a lot of problems. Men and women are socialized differently. As a result, they arrive at conclusions that are totally different from each other. What is good for the male gender, may not be good for the female gender.

Likewise, what is good for the female gender may not be taken as positive by the male gender. This difference between the two genders becomes more important in communication and, if ignored, proves to be a source of communication problems.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the above-discussed communication problems, please feel free to leave your valuable feedback in the comment section below. Thank You!

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This Post Has 2,228 Comments

  1. Zainab Sehar

    In this article I found tools and problems of communication. In perception of reality I think that perception is how a person can see something whereas reality is how things actually are. In my opinion I see things from my angle/perspective. We all have different thoughts,ideas, and actions but all these things will end up with doing almost the same things. Now I am be able to understand that our ideas are communicating with each other in different forms in form of different abstractions which is in my point of view having different sense but in others they considered it different maybe positive or negative. This is really so much confusing thing. Even before pursuing this lesson I never noted this genuine reality in my life. But after pursuing these problems in a very enjoyable way ,I will attempt my best to follow the professional way of communication by being open-minded which will never make any issues for others on understandings of my suppositions.
    Thank you.

  2. Malik Muneeb Shahid

    After reading this blog,I found too many problems in my communication skills and I’ll try to work on these problems.

  3. Nitasha Saddiqa

    Today we learned about convention of meaning which is the next problem of communication. When two person take the different meaning of one word is convention of Meaning. For example, one person takes the meaning of “bimonthly” in a different way but for another person its meaning is different from the first person. Also we read that we should use denotative words instead of connotative, where possible, in our communication which will minimize the ambiguity. Similarly we also discussed about values, opinions, favourable and unfavorable information, open and close minds and at the last credibility of sender. Before this I thought that it’s a difficult subject but now I realized that it is not a difficult subject because it is valuable and interesting. We have to work on it to communicate with others in an effective way.

  4. Muhammad Wajahat Asif

    This topic help me a lot to understand the concepts and problems of communication and when I’ll communicate I’ll follow these concepts and problems.
    Thanks for sharing this article.

  5. Nitasha Saddiqa

    Today we discuss upon moral sense and how we can behave as an educated person in any sphere of life. Next, the topic left in problem of communication, we discussed upon them i.e stereotypes; in which we study that a person made a mind view of another person,object or anything on the saying of the third person. Problem of communication also occurs due to emotional states, cultural and social background and gender difference. I try my best to work on these problems of communication. And at the end there was a short quiz of 10 marks. The class was divided into two parts on the basis of evens and odds. This is all done in today’s class.

  6. Muhammad Asif Khan

    Very well justified and explained misconception of communication. Thank you ewriter29 for the fruitful insights.

  7. Lakendra Scarboro

    I found here very valuable information on this site. I congratulate the author for such a good article!

    Take care!

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