What is Verbal Miscommunication?

Miscommunication has been observed to occur along, the dimensions of communication. Specifically, society has a strong influence on the effectiveness of Nonverbal Communication. Moreover, in the Verbal Dimension, the words are chosen and used for the Message and the context in which they are used also leads to communication being effective or not. However, there are several possible barriers to Verbal Communication.


The first barrier is the people themselves who are participating in the interaction. They may have physical infirmities such as poor hearing, bad eyesight, stuttering, etc.; they have personal opinions and beliefs; they follow cultural mores (the customs, values, and behaviors that are accepted by a particular group); or they adhere to society’s attitudes towards gender and sexuality, business practices, religious beliefs, etc. These can lead to their inability to deliver, listen to, and respond appropriately to the Message.

Opinions and Beliefs

Sometimes, opinions and beliefs color our Message or our Response. Both Speaker and Listener have opinions and beliefs and belong to a culture and a gender. Gender comes into communication when we categorize certain ways of speaking or using words as being masculine or feminine. Or when we react to such communication precisely because we think they are masculine or feminine. We do not expect a male speaker to be soft spoken and have a high-pitched voice just as we do not expect a female speaker to be harsh and have a low-pitched voice. Among our OFWs, all nurses used to be female and manual workers, male. Here and abroad, women now run companies while men stay at home with their children. Husbands who stay at home are not thought of as being any less masculine than other men who work in an office or any other work environment.


The Topic may also present possible barriers to communication because of its vagueness or ambiguity, complexity, emotional pull, and hidden agenda. The Speaker must avoid these qualities in the topic of the Message so that, instead, it will be clear, simple, restrained, and with no ulterior motives. General topics such as religion or politics and particular topics such as abortion or militarization are more than likely to give rise to emotionally charged discussions.

Communicative Situation

The third group of possible barriers to communication is the Communicative Situation itself. First, there is “noise” in the physical setting and in the participants themselves. Actual “noise” from the surrounding environment also may make it difficult to understand each other. At the same time, the participants may also have their own motives for participating, motives that are not aligned with or support the Speaker’s Purpose for communicating. Second, there may be confusion as to the Purpose of communication itself. For example,”Is the Speaker trying to persuade or entertain?”Third, the Listener may have limited knowledge or experience to form a basis for interpreting and responding to the Message. Similarly, the Speaker may have a limited knowledge of the Listener which could help him/her tailor the Message to make the Listener understand.