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Discuss potential barriers to effective communication in the workplace

Over the summer I completed a six week internship at BP.Over time I identified different barriers that prevented effective communication.Being able to communicate effectively involves overcoming and conveying a clear and concise message.

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The communication barrier of effective communication that I faced were cultural differences, background noise, distraction, technical issues, lack of interest, lack of concentration, terminology and spelling and grammar.

Cultural Differences

On my internship I was working with many different people around the world including people from, Alaska, Trinidad, Africa, Norway and Houston. Although speaking to people from Houston wasn’t a problem because there are major similarities in communication, there were many barriers involving the other places. It became difficult to talk to these people because their first language isn’t English and therefore sometimes words wouldn’t be understood or they couldn’t understand due to different accents. Therefore, due to these issues it became more difficult to communicate effectively.

Background Noise

Background noise in the workplace became a large barrier of effective communication at BP. We had meetings in the break area which meant that people were talking all around us. Although the meetings were informal it was still difficult to communicate to each other. Loud background noise can cause people to not be heard and would then have to shout to be able for them to hear which an unprofessional way to communicate in the workplace is. This can then cause people not to hear what is being said and won’t be able to understand and work cannot then be completed effectively.


Distractions can cause barriers in effective communication. The distractions can happen when someone comes late to the presentation and them arriving becomes a distraction. Also if phones start ringing or there are people talking in the background it is hard to talk effectively because they are distracting you from your place. Not only does it distract the speaker but it also distracts the audience which then makes it harder to engage them back into the presentation. This happened whilst I was on my internship. As I was presenting there were many distractions like late arrivals which makes it hard to keep track of where you’re talking.

Technical Issues

A lot of communication at BP was done via the internet through emails or Lync meetings. Technology isn’t always reliable and therefore issues with the computers led to barriers in communication which is frustrating. A lot of the time in Lync calls it would break up and so only certain words were hearable and then they would have to repeat what they said and it becomes to be frustrating because it will take more time that could be spent doing other things. In addition, sometimes it wouldn’t allow people to join the meeting which meant they couldn’t be part of it.

Lack of interest

The lack of interest can impact effective communication. Lack of interest can happen when talking to a college and they are not listening or paying attention to you and therefore doesn’t know what is being said and cannot use the important information being told in their work. This happened to me, when I was in meetings and they were talking about things I didn’t find interesting I found myself unengaged and focussing on something else.

Lack of concentration

The lack of concentration has also major impact on the barriers to effective concentration. There may be distractions in the room or the topic that is being spoken about are boring and you are uninterested. Therefore, it is then hard to concentrate on the speaker and take in what they are saying.


In BP acronyms were used constantly. I didn’t understand most of them and therefore the whole conversation didn’t make any sense and I couldn’t contribute or use that information in my work to because I just didn’t understand.

Spelling and Grammar

When spelling and grammar is incorrect it can have a negative effect on communication. When it comes to written communication, spelling is very important. If there is text that has incorrect spelling then it can be hard to understand what it means, resulting in failed communication. For large text it’s important for grammar to be correct. Bad grammar can make it hard to understand also.

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