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QUESTION: Discuss Verbal Messages Barriers And How To Correct Each One Of Them Using Relevant Examples (40 MARKS)




Table of Contents

Introduction. 3

Barriers to Verbal Message. 4

Cultural Barriers. 4

Stereotypes and Generalizations. 4

Lack of Clarity. 4

Jumping to conclusions. 5

Dysfunctional responses. 5

Differences in perception. 5

Incorrect filtering. 6

Language problems. 6

Other Barriers to Verbal messages. 6

Poor listening. 6

Differing emotional states. 7

Solution to barriers to Verbal message. 8

Practice active listening. 8

Differing perception. 8

Difference in languages. 8

Conclusion. 9

References. 10





Verbal communication (message) is an important part of life. People rely upon verbal communication in their interaction with families, coworkers and peers. However, verbal communication can occasionally break down or be impeded by barriers. These barriers stem from a variety of sources, whether they be from some conflict or an inability of the person to properly express what is on his mind. Understanding these barriers can be a positive step in overcoming them. Communication is a process and has many aspects to it. Communication is a dynamic process by which information is shared between individuals. This process requires three components, the sender, the receiver and the message. Communication would not be possible if any of these components are absent. While Peate (2006) has suggested that communication is done every day through a linear process, Spouse (2008) argues that it is not so simple and does not follow such a linear process. He explains that due to messages being sent at the same time through verbal and non- verbal avenues, it is expected the receiver is able to understand the way this is communicated. Effective communication need’s knowledge of good verbal communication techniques and the possible barriers that may affect good communication. Communication and its skills plays vital role and holds the key in all spheres of our life. Effective communication takes into account on the way we use effective words and sentences, and swiftness of deliverance of those words, its intonation and sign language we use. Effective use of proper tools to convey the proper messages at the right time can recover crises and encourage every one of us to work towards success.




Barriers to Verbal Message

Cultural Barriers

In an increasingly multicultural world, some of the more common barriers to effective verbal communication fall within the category of cultural barriers. Cultural barriers make it difficult for people to communicate with one another primarily because it is culture that influences how people think. According to the website devoted to the University of Nairobi training program on intractable conflict, it is these different ways of thinking that can impede communication because people of different cultures tend to see and hear the world differently.

Cultural barriers can include language differences, which make it difficult to translate what is being said from one language to another. A second set of cultural barriers include the behavior constraints faced when speaking to someone of another culture. For instance, in some cultures eye contact between men and women is frowned upon; this makes verbal cues difficult to pick up. Emotional constraints present another cultural barrier. Emotions associated with verbal communication can be displayed differently in various cultures.

Stereotypes and Generalizations

University of Nairobi website note that a major barrier to effective verbal communication is the tendency of some people to speak using stereotypes and unqualified generalizations. Speaking in this way tends to destroy the credibility of the speaker and can affect clarity as well. The speaker assumes that the listener will know what he is speaking about while the listener, in fact, has no idea or even interprets the message differently. Viewing the world in simplistic or stereotypical manner can create barriers to communication because the person receiving the message can be alienated by what is said. The speaker may not realize he is offending the listener, when in fact he is.

Lack of Clarity

Lacking clarity is a third barrier to effective verbal communication. Speakers who do not speak precisely and clearly about their topic, whatever it may be, run the risk of confusing the receiver of the message. Your use of language may differ from someone you are speaking to, especially when it comes to slang, formal language or other non-literal ways of speaking. Grinter et al,. (2010) Development Economics, refers to this lack of clarity as “muddled messages.” Messages that are vague and imprecise may be interpreted wrongly. The best way to be sure of your clarity is to watch for feedback from the receiver of the message to ensure that they have received your message properly.

Jumping to conclusions

Confusing facts with inferences is a common tendency. Do not assume you know the reasons behind events, or that certain facts necessarily have certain implications. Make sure you have all the information you can get, and then speak clearly about the facts versus the meanings or interpretations you attach to those.

Dysfunctional responses

Ignoring or not responding to a comment or question quickly undermines effective communication. Likewise, responding with an irrelevant comment one that isn’t connected to the topic at hand will quash genuine communication. Interrupting others while they are speaking also creates a poor environment for communication.

Differences in perception

The world constantly bombards us with information: sights, sounds, scents, and so on. Our minds organize this stream of sensation into a mental map that represents our perception or reality. In no case is the perception of a certain person the same as the world itself, and no two maps are identical. As you view the world, your mind absorbs your experiences in a unique and personal way. Because your perceptions are unique, the ideas you want to express differ from other people’s Even when two people have experienced the same event, their mental images of that event will not be identical.

As senders, we choose the details that seem important and focus our attention on the most relevant and general, a process known as selective perception. As receivers, we try to fit new details into our existing pattern. If a detail does not quite fit, we are inclined to distort the information rather than rearrange the pattern.

Incorrect filtering

Filtering is screening out before a message is passed on to someone else. In forensic science, the filters between you and your receiver are many; secretaries, assistants, receptionists, answering machines. Those same gatekeepers may also ‘translate’ your receiver’s ideas and responses before passing them on to you. To overcome filtering barriers, try to establish more than one communication channel, eliminate as many intermediaries as possible, and decrease distortion by condensing message information to the essentials.

Language problems

When you choose words for your message, you signal that you are a member of a particular culture or subculture and that you know the code.  The nature of your code imposes its own barriers on your message.  Barriers also exist because words can be interpreted in more than one way. Language is an arbitrary code that depends on shared definitions, but there is a limit to how completely any of us share the same meaning for a given word.

To overcome language barriers, use the most specific and accurate words possible. Always try to use words your audience will understand. Increase the accuracy of your messages by using language that describes rather than evaluates and by presenting observable facts, events, and circumstances.

Other Barriers to Verbal messages

Poor listening

Perhaps the most common barrier to reception is simply a lack of attention on the receiver’s part. We all let our minds wander now and then, regardless of how hard we try to concentrate. People are essentially likely to drift off when they are forced to listen to information that is difficult to understand or that has little direct bearing on their own lives.

Too few of us simply do not listen well. To overcome barriers, paraphrase what you have understood, try to view the situation through the eyes of other speakers and resist jumping to conclusions. Clarify meaning by asking non-threatening questions, and listen without interrupting.

Differing emotional states

Every message contains both a content meaning, which deals with the subject of the message, and a relationship meaning, which suggests the nature of the interaction between sender and receiver. Communication can break down when the receiver reacts negatively to either of these meanings. You may have to deal with people when they are upset or when you are. An upset person tends to ignore or distort what the other person is saying and is often unable to present feelings and ideas effectively.

This is not to say that you should avoid all communication when you are emotionally involved, but you should be alert to the greater potential for misunderstanding that accompanies aroused emotions. To overcome emotional barriers, be aware of the feelings that arise in you and in others as you communicate, and attempt to control them. Most important, be alert to the greater potential for misunderstanding that accompanies emotional messages.


Solution to barriers to Verbal message

Practice active listening.

An effective strategy for improving cross-cultural communication is what experts call “active listening.” This technique involves restating the other speaker’s statements to ensure you understand their meaning and asking frequent questions. This is a great way to ensure that important information doesn’t “slip through the cracks” in a cross-cultural conversation.

Differing perception

In the message, we must try to explain it so that even those with different views and experiences can understand it. We may need to learn about the background of those with whom we are communicating so that we can empathize with them and see the situation from that person’s point of view.

Difference in languages

Simple direct natural language should be used. If technical or unconventional terms cannot be avoided, they should be explained. Besides, being sensitive to the situation may also help. For example, the use of simple language should be encouraged to those from different language speaking nations.



There are a lot of potential barriers in communication, all of which can be overcome with a discussion between groups of people, this is what we did, and we came up with different ways in which to overcome possible drawbacks in effective communication. I have expressed the potential barriers in effective communication and their methods of overcoming them. I have listed five different possible drawbacks, which are as follows: Cultural Difference, Distractions, Incorrect spelling/grammar, Terminology, Loss of interest. Some of the methods of overcoming them are easier than others. However, some may take time, for example: learning a new language. So, upon knowing the facts and reasons about importance of verbal communication, we should take consideration both verbal and verbal equally while communicating in our daily life. Our everyday success depends upon our capability to communicate effectively. Verbal communication actually defines our interactions and our relationships with others, and portrays physical and psychological well-being of a person. Therefore, understanding the different forms and aspects of verbal and verbal communication, and its vitality in playing roles during any kind of daily interactions is the first step to enhancing positive communication and nurturing relationships. To sum up, these statistics and proves indicates that verbal communication is also equally important to verbal communication in this real world.





Dominick, J. R. (2010). The dynamics of mass communication: Media in the digital age. Tata McGraw-       Hill Education.
Goodboy, A. K., & Myers, S. A. Members of Investigating Communication.(2010). Relational quality             indicators and love styles as predictors of negative relational maintenance behaviors in romantic             relationships. Communication Reports23(2), 65-78.

Haykins, S. (2010). Digital communication (Vol. 11, p. 10). Willey India.

Lindlof, T. R., & Taylor, B. C. (2010). Qualitative communication research methods. Sage.

Wyche, S. P., Smyth, T. N., Chetty, M., Aoki, P. M., & Grinter, R. E, 2010, April. Deliberate            interactions: characterizing technology use in Nairobi, Kenya. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI        Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2593-2602). ACM.

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