Describe some of the barriers to effective communication in a team setting (how teams work together/how they don't).

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The potential barriers to effective communication in any setting are great and virtually limitless.  In communication terms, these barriers are often called "noise" and can be classified as either internal or external.  Examples of external noise include any distractions around the listener:  sounds of any kind, other people, poor lighting, uncomfortable seating, inability to hear well, personal discomfort, sleepiness, and more.  External noises can, to some degree, be controlled.  Internal noise is anything happening inside the listener which causes distractions: worry, lack of interest, excitement, lack of comprehension, and more.  One other type of internal noise is known as semantic noise, which happens when the listener disagrees with the speaker and is therefore busily formulating some rebuttal or argument rather than really listening. 

In terms of a team, each member is still an individual and will deal with those barriers (noises) as their exercise progresses.  In addition, though, people tend to either "buy in" to team-building exercises or they dismiss them as a foolish waste of time.  If they are "in," things will go well with the group--until just one person demonstrates a bad attitude; until it gets a little too frustrating (or ridiculous); until the task is too difficult (or too easy); until the expectations are set too high (or too low); until someone tries to dominate the team (or refuses to step up and fully participate); or until any other number of barriers get in the way of effective communication.  The best way to overcome those barriers is for the team to experience success in the task it has been given.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Communication barriers refers to the factors that tend to reduce effectiveness of any any communication between two persons. The reduction in communication effectiveness can be in the form of combination of two types of failures - the intended message not reaching the recipient completely, the meaning of the message as understood by the recipient getting distorted.

The communication barriers can be classified in five broad groups as described below.

  1. Sender coding problems: This includes inappropriate clarity and organization of thoughts on part of the sender of the message. This may lead to the message conveyed not covering all the required information, or containing too much information that makes the message confusing.
  2. Faulty Language: Use of inappropriate language that is not understood by the recipient correctly. The language used  may be such that its meaning may be interpreted in different ways. Sometimes the verbal message may conflict with the impression given by non-verbal clues.
  3. Transmission of errors: This refers to the loss or distortion of the information taking place during the process of its transmission from sender to the receiver. This may include the physical loss and distortion of message which may occur for reasons such as faulty telephone lines, of talking in a noisy environment. This includes delay in transmission as well as complete failure of transmission. Thus the message may reach the recipient late or not reach at all.
  4. Faulty reception: These barriers relate to the failure of the recipient of the message to take adequate care to receive the message completely and correctly. for example the recipient may not be listening carefully to a verbal message or may be careless in reading a written message. Faulty reception may also be caused by external distraction diverting the attention of the recipient.
  5. Receiver decoding errors: This refers to the failure of the recipient to interpret and understand the message as it was intended by the sender. This is affected by the receiver general ability and skill as well as the mental state at the time of receiving the message.