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

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

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Paul Naybour 1 year, 4 months ago.

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    Paul Naybour
    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.


    Read More About Project Communication:





    Paul Naybour

    A good answer will lots of detail and good examples


    Paul Naybour

    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.


    Paul Naybour

    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)…


    Paul Naybour

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

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