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5 Barriers To Communications And How To Overcome Them

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 21st April 2022

5 barriers to communications are:

  1. Work environment.
  2. People’s attitudes and emotional state.
  3. Time zone and geography.
  4. Distractions and other priorities.
  5. Cultures and languages.
Find Out Why Effective Communication is Key to Project Success

1. The environment in which the communication takes place is one of the barriers to communication.

Work environment such as noise and temperature might affect communications in certain circumstances. The project manager, therefore, must ensure that the work environment is comfortable to everyone and that it will not be a barrier to effective communication. For example, the project manager might ensure that all personal conversations in the team take place outside the working area to avoid the noise distracting other team members. The same applies to group work-related conversations where such conversations should take place in a meeting room and not around the work desks where others might be impacted by the noise.

2. People’s attitudes and emotional state

This is another barrier to communication that you can learn more about on one of our APM PMQ project management courses. When people are under pressure because of personal problems or work-related issues their receptiveness to messages may be adversely affected, and they are less likely to be influenced. The project manager must understand the person who will receive the information, show emotional intelligence and empathise with their needs to overcome this barrier to communication.

3. Time zone and geography

This is a barrier to communication when the work spreads around the world. For example in an international company the work and the services provided can be done in different countries by different specialists to meet clients’ needs. The time zone and the geographical barriers in this situation can be overcome by organising a conference call at a time when everybody can attend.

4. Distractions and other priorities

This is another one of the barriers to communication. People in the organisation might have other priorities and therefore too much project communication can become distracting. The project manager must ensure that the responsibilities are well distributed between the team members and the communication time is well organised to avoid such distraction.

5. Culture and language

Another barrier to communication as  different cultures have different ways of doing things. Language also can be a barrier when dealing with multiple nationalities with different languages. The project manager must ensure that communications are delivered in simple language to avoid any misunderstanding.

Read More Sample Answers for APM Exam Questions:

Describe 4 main components of a Quality Management Process
Explain 5 benefits of a Project Lifecycle

Read our in-depth Guide To Project Management Qualifications for information about the range of professional qualifications that provide a progressive structure for project managers to boost your career prospects.

  1. Paul says:

    A good answer will lots of detail and good examples

  2. Anna says:

    I think we all know that good communication is essential for all projects – without truly effective communication you will just be adding barriers to project success and creating problems when there should be none. So it is, of course, important to recognise the barriers to communication and work to avoid or resolve those just as much as to put in place an effective project communication plan. Nobody is arguing with that but it’s the reality of just how you implement effective communication on a project and just how you recognise and alleviate the barriers to project communication. That is the difficult issue to overcome and time and time again we see projects that have been less than successful because of fundamental communication issues.

    And these are often projects where the value of good communications is well-understood but somehow the implementation goes astray.

    Take a small project, for example, that I’ve been working on recently using the Asana app. Previously projects were run in a quite ad-hoc manner with the main repository of data a series of email trails and documents in DropBox. Now, with Asana, everyone can see the latest status and documents all in one place – we can comment and like updates where we don’t necessarily need to get fully involved. But, unfortunately, there is the problem of data overload – almost, as in the article listed above, as if too much communication is slowing our small project down.

    All the good intentions to improve communication have added to our workload, without delivering any real benefit to the project. So, yes there are certainly barriers to communication to be overcome but on some small projects avoid trying to fix a communication problem that doesn’t exist.

  3. Student says:

    I agree Anna that sometimes attempts to improve communication channels on small projects simply add to the workload of the project team without delivering any real benefit.

    But on larger or more complex projects it is vital to find a solution that enables you to communicate effectively, otherwise the project is destined to fail. You’re right that it isn’t always easy even with the wide choice of tools we have at our displosal and it may take some trial and error, but once the right tools and processes have been found they will deliver benefits to the project (but there’s no guaratee they won’t increase your workload)…

  4. Paul says:

    Another really helpful example answer for me with plenty of detail.

  5. I am in Pakistani and I found this post very useful in understanding the different barriers to communication. Thank you for writing and publishing it.

  6. Nandini says:

    Perfect explanation

  7. Samuel Daniel says:

    This was very helpful,thanks so much.

  8. Samuel says:

    Thanks for information, really helped me

  9. Maryam says:

    Absolutely good explanation

  10. Veronica says:

    Ok I found this a very useful post. I find that communications problems occur in a lot of projects. Understanding how to overcome these barriers to communications is very useful for my projects. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas.

  11. FELIX KWEMOI says:

    Thank you for your good clear elaboration

  12. Wani emmanuel says:

    This is well sumerized explanation thanks for helping many people to understand it

  13. Shalom Ramson Amos says:

    I agree with the information above in which without removing the barriers in the communication process then many people will be left without the information they need.

    • MS says:

      It’s so easy Shalom to get the communication process wrong when managing a project but hopefully these tips will help you overcome some of the most common problems encountered on project communication.

  14. Pius kipro says:

    Thanks for thos elaboration its well said

  15. Ezekiel Nigo says:


  16. reklam ajansı says:

    It’s evident that you have a genuine passion for connecting with your readers.

  17. kurye says:

    Your words have a way of evoking emotions and sparking introspection.

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