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Describe five barriers to communications and how a project manager can overcome these barriers.

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 25th November 2015

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.



1-     The environment in which the communication take place is one of the barriers to communications. Work environment such as noise and temperature might affect the communications. The project manager must ensure that the work environment is comfortable to everyone and it will not be a barrier to communication. For example the project manager must ensure that all the personal conversation in his team have to take place outside the working area to avoid the noise and distraction. The same applied to the group work related conversation where such conversations have to take place in the meeting room and not around the work desks where all the others might be affected by the noise.


2-     People’s attitudes and emotional state is another barrier to communication. When the people are under pressure of personal problems or work related issues their receptive to message may get affected and they are less likely to be influenced. The project manager must understand the person who will receive the information and empathise with their needs to overcome this barrier to communication.


3-     Time zone and geography 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 client’s need. The time zone and the geographical barrier in this situation can be overcome by organising a conference call when everybody can attend.


4-     Distractions and other priorities is another one of the barriers to communications. People in the organization might have other priorities and therefore the communication can become distractive. The project manager must ensure that the responsibilities are well distributed between the team members and the communication time is well organised to avoid the distraction.


5-; Culture and language is another barrier to communication as the different cultures have different ways to do things. Language also can be a barrier when dealing with multiple nationalities with different languages. Project manager must ensure that the communication delivered in a simple language to avoid the misunderstanding.


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