Sunday, May 17, 2009

Communication Barriers Between People

Communicating is something that we do everyday. Regardless of what we do, we have to communicate with each other. It could be verbal or non verbal communication. Our gestures, tone of voice, eye contact, movement of our body transmits a lot of information to the other person. In order to understand what the person you're talking to is saying, you both need to have similar gestures, tone of voice and so on. However, although the both of you know what's the topic about, you might not have the same perception of it. 

When you come across a scent that is familiar to you, it reminds you of something. Perhaps the smell of your perfume, but the other person may think that it's the smell of a cleaned toilet. Who knows? I was in the cyber cafe one day and I smelled a very familiar scent. I started smelling my shirt cause it smell like my perfume! And I thought maybe it is. Slowly I realised that it's the air freshener and not my perfume. This is just an example that I encountered. The both of you may be talking about the same thing, but may not have identical image about it. This is when you want to express your ideas to others because you look at it in a different way. 

Background is another barrier in communication. Age, gender, economic status, social status, cultural background, religion and many more could be a barrier when communicating. We wouldn't want to send the wrong message to the other party. To overcome this barrier, we will need to clarify and understand different backgrounds. We also have to avoid projecting our own backgrounds into others to avoid conflicts. Besides, many of us may have similar gestures when doing something but it may not mean the same to everyone. Don't assume that similar gestures or behaviours transmits the same message. 

Thus, in order to communicate and avoid conflicts, we should look at things in the person's point of view. Or be in their shoes when speaking about certain topics. All of us come from different backgrounds and cultures, we all don't have identical perception about things. Communicating is something that shows a lot about us, be it our personality or background. 

Chew Seok Yeng

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