What Are Environmental Barriers in Communication?

There are several environmental barriers in communication including external noise, time, physical distance, space, climate and place. There are also non-environmental barriers, such as focusing on the next response, feeling unwell physically or emotionally, generalizing, having a negative focus and not truly listening to the speaker, according to the University of Waterloo.

External noise is one of the most recognized environmental barriers to communication because it makes it difficult or impossible for people to hear one another. This noise can also change physical cues because a person might need to shout to be heard and will need to alter the way that they deliver communication.

Another environmental barrier is the climate. If the temperature is too high or too cold, then people can become agitated, frustrated and uncomfortable. The place where the communication takes place can also be another environmental barrier. Places where there is not enough space for conversation or places where there are too many people nearby can lead to altered communication. Other problems, such as poor lighting and uncomfortable furniture, can make people impatient and initiate conflict.

The physical distance between two people will also affect the way that they are able to communicate with one another. Space will help to provide good communication; however, when personal space is invaded, a person may feel threatened or annoyed. When the two people are too far apart, then mistrust may occur and the parties may take everything with a negative connotation due to the far distance between them.