Sender & Receiver-Oriented Communication Barriers + Examples

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In the realm of effective communication, the interplay between sender and receiver is a complex process, filled with potential obstacles that can disrupt the smooth exchange of information. This article provides an in-depth exploration of these challenges, which can arise from both the sender’s and receiver’s perspectives.

What is Sender Oriented Communication Barriers

Sender-oriented communication barriers are obstacles or challenges that arise from the sender’s side in a communication process. These barriers can hamper the transmission of information and make it difficult for the receiver to understand or interpret the message correctly. Understanding these barriers is crucial for improving communication skills and ensuring that messages are conveyed clearly and accurately.

Types of sender barriers in communication 

Sender barriers can prevent the sender’s ability to convey their message clearly and accurately. There are several types of sender barriers in communication: 

1/ Lack of Clarity in Message: 

Lack of clarity in message” refers to a situation where the sender fails to communicate their thoughts, ideas, or information in a manner that is easily understood by the receiver. This lack of clarity can emerge in various ways, making it challenging for the recipient to grasp the intended message.

For instance, it might involve the use of vague language or ambiguous terms, leaving the recipient unsure about what the sender is trying to convey. 

Alternatively, the sender might fail to provide a logical structure to their message, resulting in an unorganized and confusing communication experience. This can make it difficult for the receiver to follow the flow of the message and extract essential information.

Additionally, using too many words, jargon, or unnecessary information can clutter the message, making it harder for the recipient to identify the main points. This often results in information overload and can cause confusion.

2/ Assumptions and Stereotypes:

Assumptions and stereotypes in communication refer to the sender’s preconceived beliefs and biases about the receiver, which can restrain effective communication. These preconceived notions influence the way the sender crafts and conveys their message. When a sender holds assumptions or stereotypes about the receiver based on factors such as age, gender, or background, it can lead to biased communication.

For example, if a manager assumes that a younger team member is less experienced and therefore doesn’t provide detailed instructions, this assumption can lead to misunderstandings and prevent the team member’s ability to perform effectively. Similarly, stereotypes about a person’s gender or cultural background can result in communication that is not tailored to the individual’s actual characteristics or needs.

3/ Language and Jargon:

Language and jargon barriers occur when a sender uses complex or specialized vocabulary, that the receiver is not familiar with. This can make the message difficult to understand and create a gap in understanding between the sender and receiver.

Complex language or jargon can be particularly problematic when communicating with individuals who do not share the same professional background or level of expertise. For example, a medical professional using medical terminology while explaining a diagnosis to a patient may cause confusion and anxiety for the patient.

Moreover, in a multicultural or multilingual setting, language barriers can arise when the sender assumes that everyone understands a specific language. When the receiver is not proficient in the language being used, it can lead to miscommunication and frustration

4/ Emotional State of the Sender:

The emotional state of the sender can significantly impact the effectiveness of communication. When a sender is experiencing strong emotions such as anger or stress, it can create barriers to effective communication in several ways:

-Influence on Tone: Emotions can influence the sender’s tone of voice, body language, and choice of words. For example, an angry sender may use aggressive language or a raised voice, while a stressed sender might appear distracted or disengaged.

-Communication Shutdown: In severe instances, overpowering emotions can result in a total breakdown of communication. The sender may withdraw from the conversation, become unresponsive, or refuse to engage constructively.

-Impact on Decision-Making: Emotionally charged communication may slow down effective decision-making. The sender may make impulsive statements or decisions that they later regret.

5/ Inadequate Planning and Preparation:

When senders fail to plan or prepare adequately before conveying a message, it can result in a range of communication problems.

For instance, messages may become disorganized and lack a clear structure, making it difficult for the receiver to follow the message’s flow. Information may be presented in a random manner, leading to confusion and potential misunderstandings.

 Moreover, when senders do not fact-check or verify the information they convey, they risk providing incorrect or outdated information, breaking down trust and credibility in communication. 

Inadequate planning also means that the sender may not have clear objectives in mind for the communication. Without well-defined goals, the message may lack focus and struggle to achieve its intended purpose. 

6/ Overloading the Message with Information:

Overloading a message with excessive information occurs when the sender includes too many details or facts of information in a single communication. This overload can overwhelm the receiver and restrain effective understanding in several ways.

Firstly, when a message contains an excess of information, it can lead to cognitive overload for the receiver. They may struggle to process and retain all the details, which can result in important information being overlooked or forgotten.

Secondly, an overloaded message often lacks a clear focus or central message. The receiver may find it difficult to detect the main point or key takeaways within the surplus of information.

Lastly, excessive information can restrain the receiver’s ability to retain and recall important details. This can lead to misinterpretations because the receiver may not retain the most critical information from the message.

7/ Poor Timing of Communication:

The timing of communication is a critical factor in its effectiveness. Poorly timed messages can become sender-oriented barriers when they are conveyed at inconvenient moments or without considering the receiver’s readiness for the conversation. 

When messages are sent at inappropriate times, such as during a busy workday or when the receiver is already engaged in another task, it can disrupt their workflow and concentration. This disruption may lead to frustration, making it challenging for the message to be received effectively.

Additionally, the receiver’s receptiveness to a message can vary based on their emotional state and circumstances. Communicating sensitive or complex information when the receiver is stressed or preoccupied may result in misinterpretation.

Interesting Fact: According to Coschedule, the ideal times for sending an email message to the receiver, ranked in order, are 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m

8/ Use of Inappropriate Channels or Mediums:

The choice of communication channels or mediums has a significant impact on the effectiveness of a message. Communication barriers can emerge when the sender selects an inappropriate channel or medium for conveying their message. 

Using the wrong medium can result in a mismatch between the message’s content and the capabilities of the chosen channel. 

For example, attempting to convey complex or detailed information through a brief text message may lead to misinterpretations.

Sender barriers in communication examples 

Example 1.1 

Emotional State: During an argument, a person raises their voice, uses harsh language, and makes personal attacks, making it difficult for the other party to engage in a constructive discussion.

Example 2.1 

Speaking Too Quickly: In a presentation, the speaker talks rapidly, making it challenging for the audience to follow the main points or take notes effectively.

Example 3.1 

Using Negative Language: A manager provides feedback to an employee by criticizing their performance without highlighting any positive aspects, causing the employee to feel demotivated and defensive.

Sender barriers examples 

Example: 1.1

Lack of Confidence: A person lacks confidence in their ability to express their ideas during a team meeting, so they remain silent, missing the opportunity to contribute valuable insights.

Example: 2.1

Ignoring the Receiver’s Perspective: A manager gives a directive to an employee without considering the employee’s workload or other commitments, leading to stress and decreased job satisfaction.

How to overcome sender-oriented communication barriers 


1/ Use Clear and Concise Language:

Using clear and concise language is essential to overcome sender-oriented communication barriers. To do this effectively, senders should:

  • Simplify Language: Utilize simple and clear language, and avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terminology, especially when communicating with non-experts.
  • Be Specific: Offer precise details and examples to illustrate essential aspects, making the message more understandable.
  • Organize Thoughts: Organize the message logically, including a well-defined introduction, key points, and a concluding section.
  • Avoid Ambiguity: Ensure that words and phrases used have clear meanings and avoid vague or ambiguous language.
  • Edit and Review: Take the time to review and edit the message for clarity and conciseness, removing any irrelevant information.

2/ Avoid Assumptions and Stereotypes:

Avoiding assumptions and stereotypes is crucial for productive communication. Senders should:

  • Seek Clarity: Ask questions and seek clarification when in doubt about the receiver’s knowledge or perspective rather than making assumptions.
  • Promote Openness: Encourage open dialogue and diverse perspectives to challenge and break down stereotypes.
  • Focus on Individuality: Treat each person as a unique individual rather than making broad generalizations based on characteristics like age, gender, or background.
  • Practice Empathy: Make an effort to understand and empathize with the receiver’s experiences and viewpoints to foster more inclusive and respectful communication.

3/ Consider the Receiver’s Perspective:

Considering the receiver’s perspective is essential for meaningful communication. Senders should:

  • Put Themselves in the Receiver’s Perspective: Try to view the message from the receiver’s point of view to anticipate how it might be received.
  • Tailor the Message: Adapt the message to align with the receiver’s level of knowledge, interests, and preferences.
  • Provide Context: Provide enough background information to help the receiver grasp why the message is important.
  • Encourage Questions: Welcome questions and feedback from the receiver, as it indicates an openness to clarification and mutual understanding.

4/ Manage Emotions Effectively:

Effective emotional management is crucial to avoid sender-oriented communication. Senders should:

  • Recognize Emotions: Be aware of your own emotions and how they might affect communication.
  • Take a Breath: If emotions are running high, take a moment to calm down and regain composure before engaging in a conversation.
  • Use “I” Statements: Express emotions using “I” statements to take responsibility for feelings without blaming or accusing the receiver.
  • Actively Listen: Listen to the receiver’s perspective and emotions empathetically, which can minimize tense situations and promote understanding.
  • Seek Solutions: Focus on problem-solving and constructive dialogue rather than overthinking emotional reactions.

Editor Comment: Research suggests that individuals who are able to manage and control their emotions in a healthy and constructive manner tend to experience a higher level of overall well-being. 

What are receiver-oriented communication barriers? 

Receiver-oriented communication barriers refer to challenges in the communication process that are primarily related to the receiver or the audience of a message. These barriers can disrupt communication by affecting how the receiver perceives, interprets, and responds to the information being conveyed. Understanding these barriers is essential for communicators to adapt their messages and ensure that they are received and understood as intended. 

Types of  receiver barriers in communication 

1/ Distractions and Inattentiveness: 

Distractions can take various forms, including external factors like background noise, interruptions from others, or electronic devices. When receivers are distracted, their attention is divided, making it challenging to engage fully with the message. Inattentiveness, on the other hand, occurs when a receiver lacks focus or interest in the message due to reasons like boredom or disinterest. Inattentive receivers may miss important details or fail to grasp the message’s details.

The consequences of distractions and inattentiveness can be significant. Receivers may misinterpret information, forget key details, or become disengaged from the conversation. This can lead to frustration on the sender’s part, as they may perceive the receiver’s behavior as a lack of interest or disrespect.

2/ Preconceived Notions:

Preconceived notions are receiver-oriented communication barriers that occur when the receiver approaches a message with preexisting beliefs or assumptions about the topic, the sender, or the message itself. These preconceived notions can significantly affect how the receiver interprets and responds to the communication.

These beliefs and assumptions are often rooted in the receiver’s past experiences or prior interactions with the sender. When preconceived notions are at play, receivers tend to selectively perceive information. They are more likely to notice and accept information that aligns with their existing beliefs while dismissing information that opposes them.

3/ Emotional State of the Receiver:

The emotional state of the receiver is a crucial factor that can significantly affect communication. When we refer to the emotional state of the receiver as a communication barrier, we mean that the receiver’s current emotional condition or mindset can act as an obstacle to clear and productive communication.

A receiver’s emotional state can cover a wide range of feelings, including happiness, anger, sadness, anxiety, or frustration.

The impact of the receiver’s emotional state on communication is multi-aspect. Emotions can shape how the receiver perceives the message they receive. For instance, someone in a positive emotional state may be more open and receptive to the message, while someone experiencing negative emotions might be more resistant or defensive.

Additionally, depending on their emotional state, receivers may be less inclined to provide feedback, ask clarifying questions, or engage in a productive exchange of ideas. Instead, they may react emotionally without fully understanding the message, further complicating effective communication.

Related Reading: What are Emotional Barriers to Communication

4/ Lack of Relevance: 

The lack of relevance occurs when the receiver perceives a message as unimportant or unrelated to their needs. In such cases, the receiver may disengage from the communication or fail to fully grasp the message’s significance.

When a message is seen as lacking relevance, the receiver may consider it unrelated to their immediate concerns or priorities. This viewpoint can result in reduced motivation to interact with the message. Consequently, the receiver may filter out information, or even ignore the message altogether.

While the sender’s intended message may indeed be important or valuable, if it is not presented in a way that highlights its relevance to the receiver, it may be overlooked or misunderstood.

5/ Physical Barriers: 

Physical barriers in communication refer to the obstacles linked to a receiver’s physical condition or abilities that hamper their ability to receive and interpret messages effectively. An example of such a physical barrier is hearing impairment. When receivers have hearing impairment, they face challenges in accurately perceiving and processing audio information, which can hamper their participation in efficient communication.

Hearing impairment covers various conditions, ranging from partial hearing loss to total deafness. Receivers with hearing impairment may struggle to perceive sounds or speech accurately, posing challenges in both spoken and written communication. They may miss certain words or sounds in spoken communication, leading to misunderstandings.

Additionally, receivers with hearing impairment often rely on visual and non-verbal cues, such as lip-reading and body language, to add to their understanding of communication. However, these cues are not always available or sufficient to convey the full message.

6/ Cognitive barriers (e.g., learning disabilities):

Cognitive barriers in communication revolve around challenges faced by receivers due to their cognitive abilities or conditions. One example of a cognitive barrier is learning disabilities. Learning disabilities include a variety of conditions that affect the receiver’s ability to acquire, process, or retain information efficiently. These conditions can have a significant impact on their ability to engage in effective communication.

Individuals with learning disabilities often struggle with reading and writing skills, making it difficult for them to express themselves in writing. This can interrupt their ability to engage in written correspondence or fully understand written materials.

Furthermore, receivers with learning disabilities may experience lower self-esteem or confidence in their communication abilities due to their challenges. This can impact their willingness to participate in discussions, share their thoughts, and express their ideas with the sender.

Interesting Fact: Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, comprising 80% of all cases of learning disabilities.

7/ Language and Cultural Differences: 

Language and cultural differences can become receiver-oriented barriers when individuals receiving the message come from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In such situations, these differences prevent the receiver’s ability to fully understand and engage with the message.

Firstly, language barriers play a significant role. When the receiver and sender do not share a common language, the receiver may struggle to understand the message effectively. 

Language differences can result in difficulties in understanding spoken or written content. This places the responsibility on the receiver to overcome the language barrier, making it a receiver-oriented challenge.

Additionally, cultural norms and values are crucial. Cultural differences can impact the receiver’s interpretation of the message. For instance, certain phrases or gestures may have different meanings in various cultures. If the sender’s message includes elements that clash with the receiver’s cultural norms or values, the receiver may feel discomfort or may misinterpret the sender’s intentions.

8/ Trust Issues between Sender and Receiver: 

Trust issues in communication revolve around a receiver’s lack of confidence or belief in the sender’s credibility, honesty, or reliability. 

Receivers with trust issues may approach communication with doubt regarding the accuracy of the information presented by the sender. They may question the sender’s motives or the authenticity of the message.

Due to their mistrust, receivers may selectively accept or reject certain parts of the message based on their perceptions of the sender’s trustworthiness. They may filter out information they deem untrustworthy or biased.

Receiver-oriented communication barrier examples 

Example 1.1

Jumping to Conclusions: A person assumes they know what someone is going to say and interrupts them before they can finish, potentially missing important information.

Example 2.1

Information Overload: An employee receives an overwhelming amount of emails in a short period, causing them to miss critical messages and deadlines due to the sheer volume of information.

Example 3.1

Inadequate Feedback: A supervisor fails to provide constructive feedback to an employee, leaving the employee unsure of their performance and unable to improve.

How can receiver-oriented communication barriers be overcome?


1/ Active Listening: 

Listening carefully is an important skill that can help the receiver better understand and deal with communication barriers. It includes dedicating your complete focus to the speaker, not merely hearing their words, but also understanding their message and emotions. To practice active listening effectively, receivers should:

  • Maintain eye contact with the speaker.
  • Show nonverbal cues like nodding or smiling to indicate engagement.
  • Avoid interrupting and allow the speaker to finish before responding.
  • Rephrase or sum up the speaker’s message to ensure comprehension.
  • Ask relevant questions to delve deeper into the topic and show interest. 

Active listening helps receivers comprehend messages more accurately, reduces misunderstandings, and fosters a more constructive and empathetic communication environment.

2/ Open-Mindedness

Open-mindedness is crucial in overcoming receiver-oriented barriers, especially those related to preconceived notions, biases, and stereotypes. Being open-minded means being receptive to new ideas, perspectives, and information without immediately rejecting them based on prior beliefs or judgments. Open-minded receivers should:

  • Approach communication with a willingness to consider alternative viewpoints.
  • Be curious and ask questions to explore differing opinions.
  • Acknowledge that their perspective may not always be the only valid one. 

Open-mindedness promotes constructive dialogue, helps receivers learn from others, and fosters more inclusive and effective communication. 

3/ Seek Clarification: 

When faced with misunderstandings or confusion, seeking clarification is a valuable strategy. Receivers should not hesitate to ask for further information or elaboration from the sender. This can include:

  • Asking open-ended questions like, “Could you please explain that in more detail?”
  • Requesting examples or real-life scenarios to illustrate a point.
  • Seeking specific details or context to better grasp the message.
  • Expressing a desire to ensure a shared understanding of the information. 

Seeking clarification helps receivers overcome ambiguity, prevent misinterpretations, and ensure that both parties are on the same page, promoting meaningful communication.

4/ Manage Emotions Effectively: 

Emotions can be a significant barrier to communication when they become overwhelming or lead to impulsive reactions. Receivers can overcome this barrier by learning to manage their emotions effectively. This involves:

  • Recognizing and accepting their emotions without passing judgment.
  • Taking a brief pause to regain self-control when emotions run high.
  • Using “I” statements to express feelings and thoughts constructively.
  • Practicing deep breathing or other relaxation techniques to reduce emotional intensity. 

Effective emotional management enables receivers to stay calm, focused, and composed during communication, preventing emotional barriers from disrupting the conversation.

By incorporating these tips into their communication approach, receivers can enhance their ability to overcome receiver-oriented barriers and engage more effectively in conversations, leading to clearer understanding and more productive interactions.

How can the receiver affect the communication process? 

The receiver plays a crucial role in the communication process, and their actions and behaviors can significantly affect how effectively information is transmitted and understood. Here’s how the receiver can impact the communication process:

1/ Active Listening: When the receiver actively listens to the sender’s message, they demonstrate attentiveness and a genuine interest in understanding the information. Active listening involves not only hearing the words spoken but also interpreting the meaning, context, and emotions conveyed. This active engagement contributes to clearer insight and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings.

2/ Questioning and Seeking Clarification: Effective receivers are not afraid to seek clarification when they do not fully understand the message. They ask questions to gain more information or to confirm their understanding. By doing so, they actively engage in the conversation and ensure that any uncertainties or ambiguities are addressed, promoting clearer communication.

3/ Feedback Loop:  Efficient communication typically incorporates a feedback loop in which the receiver offers input to the sender, prompting the sender to adapt their message accordingly. Receivers who actively participate in this feedback loop contribute to a more continuous and refined communication process, ensuring that the message is clear and accurate.

4/ Response and Action: Ultimately, the receiver’s response and action based on the message play a critical role in the communication process. The receiver’s actions can include making decisions, taking specific steps, providing feedback, or initiating further communication. The sender often relies on the receiver’s response to assess the effectiveness of the communication.

Why are the sender and receiver important in communication? 

Senders and receivers are crucial components in the communication process, and their roles are essential for effective and meaningful communication. Here’s why both the sender and receiver are important in communication:

Importance of the Sender:

1/ Initiation of Communication: The sender is the initiator of the communication process. They hold a message or knowledge they desire to communicate to the receiver. Without a sender, there would be no communication in the first place.

2/ Message Clarity: Effective senders ensure that their messages are clear, concise, and tailored to the needs and knowledge level of the receiver. They use appropriate language and avoid jargon or ambiguity.

3/ Establishing Objectives: Senders often have specific objectives or goals in mind when communicating. These objectives could include informing, persuading, instructing, or building relationships. The sender’s ability to achieve these objectives depends on their communication skills.

Importance of the Receiver:

1/ Message Reception: The receiver is responsible for receiving and decoding the message sent by the sender. Their ability to receive and interpret the message accurately is essential for effective communication.

2/ Active Listening: Receivers play a critical role in active listening. They must pay attention, process the information, and engage in thoughtful consideration of the message. Active listening ensures that the sender’s message is understood as intended.

3/ Response and Action: Ultimately, the receiver’s response to the message is a critical step in the communication process. Depending on the message’s content and purpose, the receiver may need to take specific actions, make decisions, or provide a response that closes the communication loop.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1) What is sender-oriented communication? 

Ans: Sender-oriented communication refers to a communication approach where the emphasis and focus are primarily on the sender of the message. In this kind of communication, the sender plays a more dominant role in crafting and delivering the message, often with less consideration for the receiver’s needs, preferences, or understanding.

Q2) What is receiver-centric communication? 

Ans: Receiver-centric communication, also known as audience-centered communication, is an approach to communication that primarily focuses on the needs, preferences, and perspectives of the receiver or audience.

Q3) What are teacher-centric barriers to communication?

Ans: Teacher-centric barriers to communication refer to obstacles that primarily originate from the teacher or educator’s side and prevent meaningful communication with students or learners.

Q4) What are the two major problems encountered by the recipient and sender of communication? 

Ans: The two major problems encountered by both the sender and recipient of communication are misinterpretation and noise:

Misinterpretation: Communication often involves conveying information using language and symbols. Misinterpretation occurs when the recipient does not fully understand the intended meaning of the message. This can result from differences in language proficiency, cultural nuances, or even individual perceptions.

Noise: Noise refers to any interference or disruption that affects the clarity of the communication process. It can be external (e.g., background noise, distractions) or internal (e.g., personal biases, emotions) and can lead to the distortion or loss of the message being conveyed, making it harder for the recipient to grasp the sender’s intended message. Both the sender and recipient can be affected by noise in communication.

Aditya Soni

Aditya is the head of content at clearinfo and is responsible for improving the site's organic visibility. He is a certified SEO trainer and has worked with SaaS companies and startups to enhance their digital marketing presence. He is also an ahref fanboy. Click to connect with him on Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

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