Effective Communication: Principles, Qualities, Barriers

effective communication

Communication is the process of exchanging mutually understood meaning of a message. Thus, a communication can be called effective when the parties of the communication understand it in the same meaning.

What is Effective Communication?

Communication is effective when the stimulus, as it was initiated and intended by the sender or source, corresponds closely with the stimulus as it is perceived and responded to by the receiver.

It shows that the communication is whole and complete when the response the sender intends and the response the receiver provides are identical.

Therefore, a mutually understood message is an effective communication.

6 Principles of Effective Communication

Effective communication is the key to mobilizing your employees behind a new vision. Poor communication, on the other hand, is the best way to demotivate your employees and stall any progress.

Not taking the time to explain the vision, not explaining the vision in clear, understandable language, or not “walking the talk” are some common ways that organizations fail to achieve their goals. Accomplishing any task with excellence is always a function of mastering the basics.

These 6 principles will help you to avoid mistakes.

Establish a Warm Atmosphere

The atmosphere you create with your words and gestures determines the effectiveness of your sermon.

Avoid beginning with a negative tone, self-centered anecdotes, or anything which betrays insecurity on your part.

These focus the audience’s attention on your needs, not theirs.

Your nonverbal signals are also important because they communicate your general demeanor. Smiling at people demonstrates openness and invites them to listen.

Actively Engage People’s Interest

Many of us use techniques to engage congregations that we believe are effective but actually disconnect them from listeners.

Overdramatization, excessive emotion, and yelling focus listeners on your performance instead of the content. A conversational approach works better.

Be Believable

Evaluate everything you say from the pulpit with this question: Is it believable? If you can’t believe yourself when you say something, your audience won’t believe it either.

When your audience doesn’t believe you, your credibility and their motivation to keep listening evaporates.

Speaking with authority is dependent upon speaking the truth.

Often, speakers get into trouble when they extrapolate a principle into a situation they don’t understand.

If you’re speaking about how a certain principle would work in a business setting but know nothing about business, it will show.

Speak With Your Own Voice

Listeners will disengage from a speaker who uses big words to impress his audience or who appears to choose words for the sake of sounding good.

If your listener is conscious of your voice, it is a distraction.

Choose your words the same way you choose your clothes: appropriate for the context but not distracting.

Your voice should contain fire conviction and accurately reflect what’s happening in your mind.

Use Gestures Well

The effective use of gestures reinforces what a pastor says.

As with the voice, gestures should represent what is happening in the mind. Gesturing also includes looking at people as you talk. Your eyes are almost as important as your voice.

Make sure your eyes sweep across and make contact with people in every part of the audience, not just those in front of you.

Remember That Your Knowledge Is Limited

You may be tempted to appear to know more than you do.

Always keep in mind that someone in your audience may know more than you do about your topic. Honestly, communicate what you know.

15 Qualities of Effective Communication

When both the sender and the receiver perceive the meaning of communication almost, in the same way, it is called effective communication.

Proper performance of organizational activates and thus attainment of its goals largely depends on effective communication. Effective communication requires some conditions or elements or factors.

These are discussed below:


Pre-thinking about the message is an important quality of effective communication. Pre-thinking enables the sender to develop a creative message and to transmit it efficiently.

Specific Objective

Communication occurs with specific objectives. Therefore, the communicator must know the objective of communication and must arrange the message accordingly.


The usefulness of any message depends on its timely transmission. If the message is not transmitted in the appropriate time, its utility is lost. So the communicator should consider the time of communication.


Another important quality of effective communication is that the message should be concise. The concise message is one that contains only relevant and necessary facts to avoid repetition and organize properly.


Effective communication transmits a complete message so that the receiver can understand the full meaning of the message. The sender should not sacrifice completeness to attain conciseness.


Effective communication contains only the correct messages. False, manipulated, and exaggerated information irritates the receiver and makes the communication ineffective.


Persuasiveness is an important quality of Effective communication. It helps to develop a positive attitude of thy receiver towards the message.


Business communication becomes effective- when it excludes irrelevant facts. Concreteness is essential to express the communicator’s view to the receiver unambiguously.


Effective communication always keeps the provision of feedback. Feedback ensures that the message has reached the intended receiver.

Mutual Interest

When communication considers the interest of both the sender and receiver, it is treated as effective communication. If the message ignores the interest of the receiver, communication may fail to attain its goal.

Use of Appropriate Language

Effective communication always uses appropriate language. Appropriate language avoids ambiguous and complex words, misleading non-verbal cues, technical jargon, poetic words, etc.

Considering the Receiver

An effective communicator thinks about the receiver’s knowledge, ability, interest, origin, etc. This increases the utility and acceptability of communication.

Use of Appropriate Media

Selecting suitable media is essential for successful communication. The sender should select the written or oral media depending on the nature and importance of the message, availability of time, cost, receiver’s ability, etc.

Emphasizing on Informal Relationship

The communicator requires giving attention to establishing informal relationships with the receiver along with the formal relationships as it ensures the success of communication.

Effective Listening

The communicator is also an effective listener. He has to listen attentively to the response of the receiver. Therefore, the sender should possess the ability to hear the receiver’s response attentively with due patience.

12 Tips For Making Communication Effective?

Communication is the essence of human life and society. People always engage in any form of communication.

Thus, a deliberate effort is needed to avoid communication breakdown. It is not impossible to leam and execute communication improvement techniques and tools. There are various ways to make communication effective.

A careful exercise of those techniques and proper training in communication would help people come out of the clutch of communication barriers. The following measures are suggested to avoid barriers and improve communication effectiveness:

Communication Training

Communication training will increase the communicative skills of the people.

Training will make them aware of the technicalities involved with various elements of the communication process, enable them to handle communication equipment efficiently and enlighten them about the critical issues involved in successfully communicating with another party.

Thus, every person engaged in the organization should be given well-founded training on communication. Effective communication cannot be learned automatically. It requires dedicated learning and training in communication.

Enhancing Language Knowledge

Language is the foundation of communication. Semantic barriers can be effectively removed through increasing knowledge about pertinent language.

Systematic learning of grammar, sentence structure, economizing words, appropriate use of words, concise and concrete words, and extensive reading in Bengali and English will obviously enhance the stock of words and structure.

This will increase the encoding and decoding capability as well as message writing ability. The result is effective communication.

Providing Communication equipment

People in the organization would be provided with modem communication devices. It will increase the speed of communication and will eliminate the physical problems related to communication.

Besides, people should be provided with training on the appropriate use and operation of the communication equipment.

Appropriate Organization Structure

A tall organization structure is prone to barriers. It makes communication delayed and filtered. Therefore, a flat organizational structure would reduce several barriers and make communication effective.

Use of Informal Communication

Informal communication helps make many issues of debate, confusion, conflict, misunderstanding, meanings, interpretation, and points of difference clear.

It supports formal communication and increases the effectiveness of interpersonal and organizational communication. It also makes human relations very cordial and harmonious.

Developing Interpersonal Trust

A key to effective communication is trust. Employees will not send accurate and open messages to their supervisors unless they trust the boss.

They must believe that the sent message will not be used against them, be transferred to others, and not be used to their detriment. Three types of factors are to be improved: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational factors.

Consistent, fair, and trustworthy behavior of the leadership to the subordinates will help remove intrapersonal barriers. Consistent devotion to commitments, consideration of others, fairness on the part of a person, and obstruction to the violation of trust for personal gain will develop interpersonal trust.

The total climate of the organization should be made favorable by becoming top management fair, open, receptive, and trustworthy between them.


Effective communication requires effective listening. Listening must be developed by careful attentive practice. Everybody in the organization would follow the Ten Commandments regarding effective listening.

The ability to listen is a primary skill for managers in improving relationships with subordinates. It also helps decision-making and problem-solving.

Effective Feedback

Feedback makes the sender aware of defects and faults, as well as the level of the receiver’s understanding of the Communication. It gives opportunity for improving and making communication effective. The receivers must be asked and encouraged to give feedback.

All fear, hesitation, distrust, etc., should be removed from the minds of the receivers, and they should be rewarded for giving effective feedback. People would be given training on how to give effective feedback. These entire attempts would ready people for making effective communication.

Nondirective Counseling

Nondirective counseling is an approach to providing help that can be particularly useful to managers. Here, the manager is concerned with helping the person examine his or her ideas, feelings, and attitudes regarding the problem.

This is done by listening to the person’s subordinate attentively, asking appropriate questions, and in general, providing support for the person. This will build up self-confidence and trust upon the managers. It will obviously contribute to effective communication.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication helps establish mutual and dependent relationships with colleagues, bosses, and subordinates.

Appropriate use of nonverbal communication develops a conducive human environment in the organization, makes interpersonal relationships cordial, and removes ego and status-related barriers. Therefore, nonverbal communication is an essential mechanism for making communication effective.


People in the organization should be motivated to engage in frequent and open communication and to give on-time feedback through some financial and non-financial motivation. Every person should be informed about the motivation package for effective communication.

Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership develops a sense of confidence and trust in the managers among the subordinates. This removes the tendency to opt for defensiveness in communication with superiors. It also promotes favorable communicative environment in the organization.

Barriers To Effective Communication

Effective communication is the dream of every communicator. People cherish in their minds that they have communicated successfully and that the other party has understood it in an intended manner.

So, there shall be no problem. But it is far from reality. Majority of the communication breaks and is unsuccessful. But what are the flaws that make a communication ineffective? Those are barriers to effective communication.

Barriers are involved with every element of the communication process. People as an individual or a group participate in the communication process as communicators and communicate.

We know that communication noise is a barrier to effective communication because it interferes with the accurate encoding, transmission, decoding, and reception of a message.

Truly speaking, it affects all the elements of the communication process and leads to communication breakdown.

Management awareness of these barriers is a good starting point to improve the communication process: Scully (1995:37-39); Wofford, Gerloff and Cummins (1977:169-203); Rogers and Roethlisberger (1952:46-52); Newstorm and Davis (2004:57) etc have pointed out various types of barriers to the effective communication.

Their findings are classified into the following categories of barriers and discussed below:

  1. Process barriers
  2. Personal barriers
  3. Physical barriers and
  4. Semantic barriers.
  5. Defensiveness Provoking Communication
  6. Organization Structural Barriers

Process Barriers To Effective Communication

Effective communication is obstructed by every element of the communication process. Carelessness and mishandling of elemental issues make the communication faulty and unsuccessful.

Barriers in any of these process elements can distort the transfer of meaning. The following process barriers are the deterrence to effective communication:

Sender barrier

The sender himself is the barrier to communication when he does not know the required information, thoughts, or ideas that will serve the purpose of communication.

For example, a customer gets incorrect information from a customer service agent because he or she was recently hired and lacks experience. This lack of knowledge of the sender is a barrier to the communication.

Encoding barrier

We know that encoding is the process of selecting the right code or symbol for expressing the idea. The lack of linguistic knowledge would seriously affect the encoding process and, thereby, communication. If an employee for whom Énglish is a second language has difficulty explaining why a delivery was late.               

Message barrier

Communication would be effective if it reaches the right time to the right person and if he understands the message in the right form. This message barrier may cause an employee to miss a meeting for which he or she never received a confirmation memo.

Medium barrier

Medium transmits the message to the receiver. Wrong choice of medium, speed problem of media, inaction of media, non-response, etc. create strong barriers to effective communication.

For example, a salesperson gives up trying to make a sales call when the potential customer fails to return three previous phone calls.

Decoding barrier

Decoding is the process of reassigning meaning to the message by the receiver. Any inconsistent meaning would be a deterrent to effective communication.

It depends on the receiver’s ability to decode. If an employee does not know how to respond to a manager’s request to stop exhibiting “passive-aggressive” behavior, it is a barrier to communication.

Receiver barrier

The to receptive capacity, interest, and motivation of the receiver to get the communication also act as barriers to effective communication. A student who is talking to his or her friend during a lecture will ask the professor the same question that was just answered.

Feedback barrier

Feedback gives the sender the reaction of the receiver to the message. It also exhibits how closely the receiver has understood the meaning of the sent message.

Late feedback, obstructed feedback, incomplete feedback, and faulty coded feedback are some of the feedback barriers that reduce communication effectiveness.

Personal Barriers To Effective Communication

There are many personal barriers to communication. Common personal barriers are pointed out below:

  1. The ability of a person to effectively communicate is a barrier. People possess varying levels of communication skills. Thus, not everybody can communicate effectively and successfully.
  2. The way people process and interpret information is a second barrier. People use different frames of reference and experiences to interpret the world around them. We also learned that people selectively attend to various stimuli. These differences affect both what we say and what we think we hear.
  3. The level of interpersonal trust between people can either be a barrier or an enabler of effective communication. Communication is more likely to be distorted when people do not trust each other.
  4. Stereotypes and prejudices are a fourth barrier. They can powerfully distort what we perceive about others. If we know somebody as a liar, whatever he will tell, we shall take that as a lie. This is prejudice and a strong barrier to communication. Stereotyping is judging someone on the basis of one’s perception of the group to which the person belongs (Robbins, 1996:140).
    Thus, stereotyping may lead to wrong judgment and cause a barrier to communication.                     
  5. Our egos are a fifth barrier. Egos can cause political battles, turf wars, and the pursuit of power, credit, and resources. Egos influence how people treat each other as well as our receptiveness to being influenced by others.
  6. Poor listening skills are a sixth barrier.
  7. A natural tendency to evaluate or judge a sender’s message. To highlight the natural tendency to evaluate, consider how you might respond to the statement, ” I like the book you are reading.” What would you say? Your likely response is to approve or disprove the statement. The point is that we tend to evaluate messages from our own point of view or frame of reference. Strong feelings or emotions make it more defective.
  8. An ability to listen with understanding is a barrier to effective communication. Listening with understanding occurs when a receiver can see the expressed idea and attitude from the other person’s point of view, to sense how it feels to him, to achieve his frame of reference in regard to the thing he is talking about. Listening with understanding reduces defensiveness and improves accuracy in perceiving a message.

Physical Barriers

Any physical obstruction that cause disturbance in the communication process is physical barrier. The distance between employees can interfere with effective communication. It is hard to understand someone speaking to you from 20 yards away.

Time zone differences between the East and West coasts also represent physical barriers. Work and office noise are additional barriers. The quality of telephone lines or crashed computers represents physical barriers that impact our ability to communicate with information technology.

Distracting or inhibiting walls between persons talking are also barriers to effective communication.

Semantic Barriers

Semantics is the study of words. Semantic barriers show up as encoding and decoding errors because these phases of communication involve transmitting and receiving words and symbols. These barriers occur very easily. This is also known as a language barrier.

Language differences, jargon, terminology, variations in the meaning of nonverbal symbols, etc., cause barriers to effective communication.

Defensiveness Provoking Communication

The style of communication used by managers or people itself acts as a barrier to communication. That is, when a manager sends a message in a way that provokes defensiveness, he or she contributes to a poor interpersonal relationship.

When relationships are strained, the chances of experiencing communication breakdown are greatly increased.

Evaluative communication, dogmatic communication, manipulative communication, and communication, which imply superiority, provoke defensiveness in receivers and obviously deteriorate communication effectiveness.

Organizational Barriers

The barriers that are originated from organizational environment are organizational problems.

Lake of policies, excessive authority levels, managerial leadership styles, supervisory quality, lack of physical and managerial supports, unfavorable organizational culture, ethical dilemma, and others that create conflict, misunderstanding, chaos, discontent, demotivation, etc., are the barriers to effective interpersonal and group relationships in the organization.

It affects human relations and deters communication effectiveness.