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Hello? …. No one can hear you!

In meetings, presentations or even at home, you think you can communicate, but are you sure you are communicating effectively. By enhancing your communication skills you MAKE people listen to you. They understand you better and want to listen to you. This helps create respect for you as a presenter, mentor and manager. At home, it will better your relationship with your kids and spouse. Ms Elmarie Pretorius, International Speaker, Motivator, Author, Trainers and Owner of The Mindspa Institute – a soft skills training company, takes you through the various barriers to communication.

To put it plainly: anything preventing the understanding of a message is a barrier. There are both psychological and physical barriers like for example:

•           Culture

•           Perception

•           Environment and noise

•           Emotions

•           Gender

•           Language


We allow our past experiences to affect or change the meaning of a message. Our culture or background can be good as they allow us to understand or relate to something new. It is when they change the meaning of the message that they interfere with our communication.


Preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen, we tend to dismiss something or someone because of these ideas we have made up. We tend to listen to a person with higher status and dismiss the person with a lower status.

Environment and Noise

Physically- Environmental noise or equipment impedes clear communication between the speaker and the listener. We should be able to concentrate on the message that is being given to us by the speaker.

Psychological- Moving into a different direction can cause psychological noise. Not sticking to the basic core idea and having different opinions thrown together while doing a presentation or leading a meeting, can mean one confused listener which result wasted time and effort.

Emotional & Stress

We cannot think logically if we are in a high emotional state. People do not think or see thing in the same way when they are in an emotional state. What we see at that moment is influenced by the state we are in.


Men and woman have always communicated in different ways. There is a distinct difference in a woman and a man’s speech patterns. A woman will speak freely with mixed logical orders and emotions, where as a man speaks in a logical order.


Not just literal language can be a barrier, but as well as body language. By not picking up on subtle messages a person sends out through body language, the presenter/communicator cannot adapt the message or communication style to enhance the listening.

If you think about it, you probably also do some of the above or have been exposed to situations where listening was impossible. The Mindspa Institute tailor-make courses to suite the South African reality. Browse our website for a detailed outline on the effective communication skills course on offer. Invest in your communication skills and you will be surprised with the results you achieve.