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Effective communication entails clear expression and full comprehension of the message. The five basic elements of communication are: the sender, the message, the receiver, the medium, and the feedback.
Sometimes, while we attempt to convey the message we desire, we encounter various problems along the way. The common barriers which threaten to make our communication ineffective are: language barriers, psychological barriers, physiological barriers, physical barriers, attitudinal barriers and cultural barriers. We encounter language barriers when we speak different languages or use different accents, so it may be hard to convey a message in such circumstances. Even when we speak the same language, the use of jargon (complicated or unfamiliar terms) may create obstacles. Psychological barriers are related to how a message is sent, received and understood. For instance, if someone is stressed out, they may not fully comprehend the message because of the state they are in. Some people may find it hard to express what they desire because of being controlled by certain emotions. Physical barriers emerge when the speaker and the hearer are separated from each other physically and unable to realize a face-to-face communication. For instance, if one wants to convey a message by sending an email, a great deal of the context will be lost. Physiological barriers are related to the physical state of the speaker and hearer. If one has a hearing problem, for example, the message may not be understood. Attitudinal problems are related to our perceptions of the world (factors such as motivation or relevance of the message are very important). And we grapple with cultural barriers when we communicate with someone from a culture different from ours. The message we may attempt to convey may be understood differently.
Last of all, while we communicate with an elderly person, we want to make sure that we:
- Recognize the propensity to have stereotypes about elderly people and develop ways to dispel those stereotypes.
- Avoid speech that may seem condescending to an older person
- Monitor and control our nonverbal behavior
- Diminish background noise
- Pay attention to the sentence structure (we should avoid sentences that are too complex).
- Use pictures and videos to demonstrate some key points
- Show willingness to listen to them speak
- Demonstrate compassion and understanding, so that they are open to talk to us
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