Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low-income communities.
  Our Training
  Learning Portal
  Best Practices in Learning
  Orientation to Legal Services
  About Us
  Support Us
  Contact Us
  Email Newsletter

Conditions Hindering Effective Communication

The Dynamics of the Communication

Conditions Hindering Effective Communication


Feedback Techniques
People’s interpersonal lives are dependent upon the facility for making their thoughts, feelings, and needs known to others and on their receptiveness to the attempts of others to share similar data with them. Communication, a multi-faceted phenomenon, is the result of efforts toward this end.

Communication can be considered in simplistic terms as the sending and receiving of messages, since both elements must be present for communication to take place. However, the fundamental transaction of message sent and received does not presuppose that communication has occurred. Often, it has only partially occurred or has been aborted entirely as a result of the circumstances surrounding the occasion when the communication attempt was made. These circumstances may be environmental, emotional, verbal-skill oriented, phenomenological, or resulting from a host of conditions present within the individuals who are attempting to relate.

An analogy may help to clarify the concept of the effect of circumstances on the effectiveness of sending and receiving messages. In the late afternoon when you observe a sunset, the sun often appears to be a deep red, larger and less intense than it seems at midday. This is due to the phenomenon of refraction, the bending of the light rays as they pass through the earth's atmosphere, and the higher density of dust in the air through which the light passes as the sun goes down. The sun has already moved below the horizon, but it is still in sight because its emissions are distorted by the conditions of the medium through which they must travel.

In a similar way the messages which we send to each other are often refracted by intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental conditions which contribute to the atmosphere in which we are relating. I may distort my message to you by giving out mixed messages verbally and symbolically, and you may distort what you hear because of your own needs and experiences. The two of us may be located in an environment, physical and psychological, which contributes to the difficulty in clearly sharing what we intend. In an atmosphere of suspicion, for example, we may both become unduly cautious in our communication.

While it is unlikely that totally non-refracted communication is a possibility over time between any two persons or with significant others with whom we must deal interpersonally, an awareness of conditions which block and alter the intention of sent and received messages may produce less refraction and better communication in the long run.
Refracting Conditions
Emotional Blocks
Past Experiences
Hidden Agendas
Physical Environment