Perceptual Barriers of Communication: Meaning, Examples and How to Overcome Perception Barrier
Ruchin was the newest employee at his firm. He was aware that he was the only person at work who…
August 20, 2021 | 4 mins read
Ruchin was the newest employee at his firm. He was aware that he was the only person at work who had graduated from a top-tier business school. While he was proud of the expertise he brought with him, he also noticed that people around him treated him differently. His manager would assign him inflexible deadlines and add: oh, this shouldn’t take you long, you’re smart. Also, at every brainstorming session, Ruchin was expected to have an idea.
It’s the basic tendency of people to interpret others and perceive them in a different way. When this happens, the way people communicate with them also changes. These are called perception or perceptual barriers of communication.
In order to understand what perceptual barriers of communication are, we need to break it down first. Perceptual barriers interrupt the way we process information and prevent us from developing an accurate perception of others. They encourage us to act and behave out of personal interest and make gross assumptions, among others. When it comes to communication, perception barriers blind us and make us see someone in a particular way.
In simple terms, perception barriers are mental blocks that are the result of internal biases we have of people or events around us. They disrupt effective communication because they prevent us from having healthy conversations with others. Oftentimes, we become sarcastic, condescending or dismissive of someone, just because we think of them differently. These further impact interpersonal relationships and affect trust among individuals.
The important thing to note about perceptual barriers to communication is that it’s not always difficult to navigate or overcome them. In a business environment, different types of perceptual barriers can negatively impact the way professionals interact and engage with others. It can prevent someone from furthering a deal or letting someone voice their ideas in a group discussion. Here are some examples of perceptual barriers that’ll explore the different types:
People’s experiences with material things, their immediate environments and others around them can leave a sweet or bitter aftertaste. This can affect the perceptions toward those things or anything related. For example, someone had one bad experience with someone from another department. They are likely to avoid all people from that department or communicate with them only when absolutely required.
One of the most fundamental perception barriers, beliefs guide people in the way they view the world. Strongly held beliefs have the power to sway people’s opinions and perspectives. For example, if a senior manager believes that a team of young employees won’t be able to manage a project on their own because they lack experience, they may not delegate responsibilities as confidently.
People often have preferences on their minds when communicating. Whether it’s consciously or unconsciously, we tend to expect certain things when speaking. However, if there is a mismatch, we get disappointed. For example, a manager may have a certain vision for a project but when the team completes it, they aren’t happy about it because it’s not what they had expected. Preferences influence our lack of communication and may create confusion.
Communication encompasses body language, facial expressions and gestures as well. People may misinterpret someone on the basis of how they express themselves with these non-verbal cues. For example, sitting cross-armed in a job interview may affect a candidate’s chances because the recruiter may see it as a lack of confidence.
While perception barriers may be deep-rooted, it isn’t impossible to identify and tackle them. It’s important to overcome these barriers to foster positive interactions and adopt positive attitudes toward others. This not only strengthens interpersonal relationships but also improves workplace culture.
Mindful communication is one of the key tenets of effective communication. If you want the best for your employees, try Harappa’s Confident Communication Program. They will not only develop a flair for impactful communication but also build powerful relationships. They’ll learn to synthesize ideas better and use appropriate pace, tone and body language to communicate positively. After all, effective communication is the lifeblood of a successful business. Choose wisely, try Harappa!
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