Communication is the sending of a message from a sender to a receiver. It may sound simple, but there are many possible problems or barriers that can keep two parties from effectively communicating. Some of the problems originate in the sender, and some problems originate in the receiver. Outside problems can also interfere with effective communication, whether they are physical or non-physical problems.

Lack of Sensitivity

Every receiver is unique and receives messages in a different way. The sender of the message needs to show sensitivity toward the receiver by adapting the method of sending the message. If the receiver is angry, the sender should wait until the receiver has calmed down before saying what needs to be said. If the receiver is young and lacks knowledge, the sender should explain things carefully.

Lack of Skill

There is a certain level of skill needed to communicate a message. The sender must be able to form grammatically correct sentences, as well as be familiar with the terms they are saying. The receiver needs to be familiar with the sender's language, as well as the terms being used. If a receiver and/or sender don't have the basic skills needed, the communication is ineffective.

Lack of Knowledge

Not only does the receiver need a certain level of knowledge to understand a message, but the sender must have knowledge of the subject under discussion. If the sender gives false information on a particular subject, it leads to a confused receiver. Any type of confusion means the communication efforts were unsuccessful.


A message cannot be received if it contains too much information. If a message is too long and contains too much information, the receiver will become overloaded. Overload of information causes the message's receiver to shut down and stop receiving altogether. This can sometimes be what happens inside a classroom. If a teacher leads an hour-long lecture, some students will zone out because they are overloaded by the information they are receiving.

Emotional Interference

Anger, joy, resentment and sadness are a few examples of emotions that can interfere with the a person receiving a message. After a funeral, a person may be too sad to grasp the message that life goes on or things will get better. Anger is a particularly interfering emotion. Couples who are angry with one another should wait for another time to discuss their issues. It is hard to successfully receive another person's message when mad.


Outside interference in communication is also known as noise. A bad phone connection can interfere with communicating effectively over the phone. If the Internet is down, it can keep an email from reaching another person. Another type of noise involves the communication channel you use. Talking on the phone can cause communication error because the sender and receiver aren't able to see the expressions on the other person's face.