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B a r r i e r s t o C o m m u n i c a ti o nNothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood. — Freeman Teague, Jr.Anything that prevents understanding of the message is a barrier to communication. Many physical and psychological barriers exist:oCulture, background, and bias — We allow our past experiences to change the meaning of the message. Our culture, background, and bias can be good as they allow us to use our past experiences to understand something new, it is when they change the meaning of the message that they interfere with the communication process.oNoise — Equipment or environmental noise impedes clear communication. The sender and the receiver must both be able to concentrate on the messages being sent to each other.oOurselves — Focusing on ourselves, rather than the other person can lead to confusion and conflict. The “Me Generation” must be tossed aside for effective communication to occur. Some of the factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel someone is attacking us), superiority (wefeel we know more that the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the activity).oPerception — If we feel the person is talking too fast, not fluently, does not articulate clearly, etc., we may dismiss the person. Also our preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen. We may listen uncritically to persons of high status and dismiss those of low status.oMessage — Distractions happen when we focus on the facts rather than the idea being communicated. Our educational institutions reinforce this with tests and questions. Semantic distractions occur when a word is used differently than you prefer. For example, the word chairman instead of chairperson, may cause you to focus on the word rather than the message.
oEnvironmental — Bright lights, an attractive person, unusual sights, or any other stimulus provides a potential distraction.oSmothering — We take it for granted that the impulse to send useful information is automatic. Not true! Too often we believe that certain information has no value to others or they are already aware of the facts.oStress — People do not see things the same way when under stress. What we see and believe at a given moment is influenced by our psychological frames of references — our beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences, and goals.These barriers can be thought of as filters, that is, the message leaves the sender, goes through the above filters, and is then heard by the receiver. These filters may muffle the message. And the way to overcome filters is through active listening and feedback.A c ti v e L i s t e n i n gHearing and listening are not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning.