Effective communication

Barriers to effective communication

There are many reasons why communication may fail.

An effective care coordinator must be aware of these barriers, and try to overcome them wherever possible.

Common barriers to communication include:

  • the use of jargon - This means using words that are unfamiliar to the listener. Jargon may confuse and frustrate people.
  • not enough time - This includes appointment length, and time allowed for reflection of what is discussed during an appointment.
  • lack of privacy - Privacy plays an important role in communication, particularly where what is being shared is sensitive. Parties to communication need to ensure that the appropriate levels of privacy and confidentiality are maintained so that participants feel comfortable sharing information. A lack of privacy is likely to lead to a breakdown in communication.
  • language differences - Language and accent differences can mean that people find it difficult to understand what is being said.
  • physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties - Physical disabilities can be a barrier for both the speaker and listener. It is important to communicate with sensitivity and understanding, so each party to the conversation is understood.
  • body language - Body language can send powerful non-verbal cues about how the information is being received or communicated. Care coordinators observe their own and others’ body language as a way to check how well people are engaged in discussions.
  • cultural differences - Cultural differences can have a big impact on how people communicate, and what verbal and non-verbal cues they use to communicate.
  • lack of attention and interest, distractions - If the receiver of information is or appears uninterested in what is being communicated, communication is not going to be effective. In many situations, this may cause the speaker to ‘give up’ on the discussion.
  • emotional barriers and taboos - Some people may find it difficult to express their feelings. Some topics may be off limits completely.
  • the psychological state of the communicators - This will influence how the message is sent, received and perceived.