Noise in Business Communication

by Zachary Fenell ; Updated September 26, 2017
Effective business communication eliminates noise.

Business communication, also called organizational communication, refers to the transfer of any business-related messages. Noise, as a communication concept, refers to a barrier that prevents effective communication.


According to Business Link, effective business communication increases an organization’s opportunity for success. Noise negatively influences business communication by changing the perception of a message, reducing the ability to communicate effectively.


Noise in the communication process occurs internally or externally. Internal noise occurs when you have other thoughts on your mind, while external noise stems from the speaker or the setting in which the communication takes place.

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Literal Noise

To illustrate the concept of internal noise, imagine being worried about a sick family member during a staff meeting. Examples of external noise include distracting surroundings, such as posters and open windows, and outside noise, like side conversations and construction.


An important aspect of effective communication for speakers involves picking an appropriate setting for communication. For instance, performance reviews are more effective in a closed office setting rather than on the business floor.

Non-Literal Noise

Non-literal noise in organizational communication refers to other communication barriers, like holding a bias or becoming overemotional. Ways to prevent non-literal noise include taking cultural sensitivity classes and avoiding decision-making when emotional.


Implementing listening strategies proves helpful in preventing miscommunications triggered by noise. Reflective listening, or restating what the other person said in your feedback, is an example of a listening strategy you can use to avoid misunderstandings.

About the Author

Zachary Fenell is a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame College of Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication with minors in philosophy and writing. Fenell has been writing since 2002, when he joined his high school newspaper, "The Arc Light." In college Fenell won awards for excellence in English and communication.

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