noise-in-communication

What is noise in communication?

Noise is any factor that interferes with or impedes effective communication between a sender and receiver. When noise disrupts the communication process or prevents the transmission of information, it is said to be communication noise.

Understanding noise in communication

Noise in communication describes any impediment to the transmission of messages between sender and receiver.

During communication, noise may distract the person receiving the message to the point where they do not hear it completely.

Noise may also hinder the sender’s ability to communicate the message in the way they intended. 

Noise has the potential to have a major impact on how we view our interactions with others and also on our perceived communication proficiency.

While many of us can relate to communication problems at a loud bar for Friday night drinks, noise is present in almost any context or situation where communication takes place.

When information is misunderstood in some way, mistakes, confusion, hurt feelings, and even panic can result. In an organizational setting, communication noise has significant implications for marketing, company culture, and brand equity, to name a few contexts.

Types of communication noise

Noise in communication can be broadly divided into six types.

1 – Physical noise

Physical noise, also known as environmental noise, encompasses any type of external sound or stimuli such as passing traffic, thunderstorms, loud music, extreme temperatures, pop-up advertisements, and crowds. 

Those who walk past a window or door while a meeting is in place and distract their co-worker is also an example of physical noise.

2 – Semantic noise

Semantic noise arises when there is confusion over the meaning of words and may be grammatical, autochthonous (cultural), complex, or technical in nature.

This type of noise tends to be caused by senders who transmit information that contains abstract concepts, improper context, professional jargon, regional colloquialisms, and grammatical or technical errors.

Doctors who communicate to patients using medical terminology, for example, may find that the patient is unable to understand them.

3 – Physiological noise

This refers to any physiological factor that may affect communication. It may be present in someone who is sick, tired, hungry, on medication, under the influence of alcohol, or has an actual hearing impairment.

4 – Psychological noise

Psychological noise is based on concepts such as personal bias, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness. Those who are highly emotional or suffer from mental illness may also find it difficult to understand others or communicate their thoughts.

5 – Cultural noise

Cultural noise, as the name suggests, arises when either the sender or receiver misinterprets the cultural expectations, values, attitudes, etiquette, or non-verbal cues of the other.

Prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination are also forms of cultural noise that can hinder team and organizational performance.

6 – Technical noise

Technical noise refers to problems with equipment such as slow connectivity, microphone feedback, or a server that goes down in the middle of an important presentation.

Key takeaways:

  • Noise in communication describes any impediment to the transmission of messages between sender and receiver.
  • Noise has the potential to have a major impact on how we view our interactions with others and also on our perceived communication proficiency.
  • Noise in communication can be broadly divided into six types: physical, semantic, physiological, psychological, cultural, and technical.

Read Next: Lasswell Communication Model, Linear Model Of Communication.

Connected Communication Models

Aristotle’s Model of Communication

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The Aristotle model of communication is a linear model with a focus on public speaking. The Aristotle model of communication was developed by Greek philosopher and orator Aristotle, who proposed the linear model to demonstrate the importance of the speaker and their audience during communication

Communication Cycle

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The linear model of communication is a relatively simplistic model envisaging a process in which a sender encodes and transmits a message that is received and decoded by a recipient. The linear model of communication suggests communication moves in one direction only. The sender transmits a message to the receiver, but the receiver does not transmit a response or provide feedback to the sender.

Berlo’s SMCR Model

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Berlo’s SMCR model was created by American communication theorist David Berlo in 1960, who expanded the Shannon-Weaver model of communication into clear and distinct parts. Berlo’s SMCR model is a one-way or linear communication framework based on the Shannon-Weaver communication model.

Helical Model of Communication

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The helical model of communication is a framework inspired by the three-dimensional spring-like curve of a helix. It argues communication is cyclical, continuous, non-repetitive, accumulative, and influenced by time and experience.

Lasswell Communication Model

lasswell-communication-model
The Lasswell communication model is a linear framework for explaining the communication process through segmentation. Lasswell proposed media propaganda performs three social functions: surveillance, correlation, and transmission. Lasswell believed the media could impact what viewers believed about the information presented.

Modus Tollens

modus-tollens
Modus tollens is a deductive argument form and a rule of inference used to make conclusions of arguments and sets of arguments.  Modus tollens argues that if P is true then Q is also true. However, P is false. Therefore Q is also false. Modus tollens as an inference rule dates back to late antiquity where it was taught as part of Aristotelian logic. The first person to describe the rule in detail was Theophrastus, successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school.

Five Cannons of Rhetoric

five-canons-of-rhetoric
The five canons of rhetoric were first organized by Roman philosopher Cicero in his treatise De Inventione in around 84 BC. Some 150 years later, Roman rhetorician Quintilian explored each of the five canons in more depth as part of his 12-volume textbook entitled Institutio Oratoria. The work helped the five canons become a major component of rhetorical education well into the medieval period. The five canons of rhetoric comprise a system for understanding powerful and effective communication.

Communication Strategy

communication-strategy-framework
A communication strategy framework clarifies how businesses should communicate with their employees, investors, customers, and suppliers. Some of the key elements of an effective communication strategy move around purpose, background, objectives, target audience, messaging, and approach.

Noise if Communication

noise-in-communication
Noise is any factor that interferes with or impedes effective communication between a sender and receiver. When noise disrupts the communication process or prevents the transmission of information, it is said to be communication noise.

7 Cs of Communication

7-cs-of-communication
The 7Cs of communication is a set of guiding principles on effective communication skills in business, moving around seven principles for effective business communication: clear, concise, concrete, correct, complete, coherent, and courteous.

Transactional Model of Communication

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The transactional model of communication describes communication as a two-way, interactive process within social, relational, and cultural contexts. The transactional model of communication is best exemplified by two models. Barnlund’s model describes communication as a complex, multi-layered process where the feedback from the sender becomes the message for the receiver. Dance’s helical model is another example, which suggests communication is continuous, dynamic, evolutionary, and non-linear.
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