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Gender Barriers and Interpersonal Barriers to Communication

Relationship orientation, Decision-making process, Non-verbal communicative differences, Unequal engagement, Incorrect assumption etc.

Gender barriers to communication

Communications barriers between women and men can cause problems both at home and at the workplace. Social stereotypes, gender roles assumed, and interpersonal differences cause a lot of miscommunications between men and women. As a society, men and women are assigned roles which contribute to a widening of the gender gap; however, it is critical to remember that not all men and women fit into a defined category. Therefore, acknowledging people's differences as well as their similarities is essential in fostering understanding.

Relationship orientation

Relationships are the focus of women, whereas tasks are the focus of men. Most women prefer first to build a relationship and then use that relationship to collaborate, while men are typically frustrated by this approach. Men use tasks to establish connections with others. As a result, women and men communicate in very different ways, creating a big gap. Conflict can exaggerate the importance of relationship-oriented communication over task-oriented communication. Most women will discuss disagreements for the sake of preserving their relationships. Conflict tends to be internalized by men, who ignore its possible effects on the relationship. This divide is further deepened by women's natural tendency to empathize rather than analyse.

Decision-making process

Style differences when making decisions are a common communication barrier between men and women. Compared to men, women tend to gather information in a more process-oriented way, while men rely on a product-driven communication style. In the workplace, women are more likely to seek advice from colleagues when they encounter a problem. This may be viewed as a weakness by male leaders, who may believe that a leader should make his own decisions without consulting others. A similar difference is that women prefer to talk about issues verbally, whereas men prefer to think about issues internally. The woman might assume that a man is disinterested in the issue or disengaged from the group if he is silent.

Non-verbal communicative differences

The body language used by women indicates how they feel about the person speaking to them. The use of nonverbal communication demonstrates a desire for a meaningful exchange. An eye contact, a smile, or a nod of the head are examples of nonverbal communication. Men usually remain still when they are listening to others. The absence of non-verbal affirmation by men is often interpreted by women as disinterest, lack of understanding, and even an attempt to negate what is being communicated. The woman may even repeat herself to clarify her argument or entice the man to join the conversation. These behaviours may make men feel annoyed or, worse, interpret them as a sign of weakness or insecurity.

Unequal engagement

The majority of men provide information rather than seeking it. When mixed gender groups come together, women seek to understand and listen to each other. Their goal is to ensure that everyone in the group has a chance to share their perspective on the topic. The behaviour of dominating the conversation and interrupting women is common among men. The responsibility for leading a conversation or engaging in a conversation may be seen as their responsibility. When this occurs, women are frequently silenced or excluded from the discussion.

Interpersonal barriers to communication

Intrapersonal barriers are obstacles within ourselves that prevent the effective transmission and reception of information. We all possess our preconceptions based on their personalities, education, experiences, culture, and values. As a result, a message is interpreted differently by everyone.

The following are some causes of communication barriers within an individual:

Incorrect assumption

Sometimes we make incorrect assumptions when we receive a message because we lack knowledge about the person or preconceived notions.

Differing perceptions

It is our perception of the world that determines how we see and understand it. Individuals hold different perspectives on the same situation, which produces different perceptions.

Different background

It's important to take an individual's background into account when interpreting a message. People come from different backgrounds, have different environments, and have different cultures. Each person responds to new experiences differently.

Blocked categories

It's possible for information not to be well received if it doesn't conform to people's beliefs and attitudes. As a result, they may ignore or even resist current developments, which affects communication. One of the main reasons for intrapersonal barriers is a lack of desire or capacity to adapt.

Categorial thinking

Any further information about a subject is dismissed by those who believe they know everything about it. Their know-it-all attitude causes a communication breakdown because it creates barriers of intrapersonal communication.

It is possible to overcome intrapersonal barriers if one pays attention and sincere attempts to resolve the issue. For example, when a doctor talks to a patient using technical terms without stopping to consider whether the patient understands what is being said, this is an example of an intrapersonal barrier of communication. If the doctor takes the time to think about it, they can explain in simpler terms.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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