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A communication process succeeds if the recipient of a message interprets it in the context intended by the sender. On the other hand, the partial or complete distortion of a message illustrates ineffective communication. Various factors introduce barriers that increase chances for miscommunication within the five-step communication process that entails the formation of idea, message encoding, transmission, message decoding and feedback. These factors include bypassing, variation of reference frames, poor language skills and diversions. Bypassing hampers effective communication as people interpret messages differently due to the skipping of some intermediary channels. In this regard, information causes confusion rather than serving its intended purpose. The sender and receiver of a message have different frames of reference due to the variation in their life experiences. This causes varied interpretation and distortion of messages. Poor oral and written skills hamper the effective conveying of information as the receiver spends a lot of time trying to understand messages. Complex vocabulary, words with several meanings and variation in pronunciations are some of the common causes poor language skills (Guffey & Loewy, 2010). Diversions include physical barriers such as noise, time and defective medium, and psychological barriers such as perception, ego, complexes and abstraction.
To overcome barriers within the communication process, communicators should focus on other parties’ frame of reference to avoid ambiguity. Asking questions is an effective approach concerning the understanding of other people’s frames of reference. Active listening is another key element of successful communication. Paying attention to messages promotes proper understanding. Concentrating on the speaker rather than personal interpretation of a message promotes comprehension. Seeking clarification through questions is a component of effective listening. Establishing an environment that promotes feedback is crucial in overcoming communication barriers. Feedback gives the sender of a message with an overview on whether the intended audience interpreted the message accordingly. Feedback creates chances for clarification incase recipients interpret messages in different context.