In our post on ‘The Pout we presented how a certain action could be giving off underlying messages – which could be intended for some and unintentional for others.

As much as we want to simplify communication as a subject, it will interest you to know that it is not an easy skill to practice, what with the need to master your expressions and to having a robust vocabulary to suit situations and audiences – a failure to do these can result in barriers to your intended messages, which can also be referred to as noise.

Noise/barriers to communication can be external (a physical sound or interference) or internal (relating to emotional, mental disturbances, adherence to dogma etc.); in a face-to-face conversation situation, barriers that may most likely arise would be from unintended gestures which fall under the category of covert communication.

Covert Communication can be regarded as secret interactions or messages. In the sense that with covert communication, you are unintentionally giving off a message that you would have preferred not to share; for instance, if you are angry with someone but would rather keep the truth of your anger to yourself; the tone of your voice or the tightness of your face could give you away. This type of communication deals largely with what is widely known as body language; where, even when you are not talking, your body is sending messages.

The whole idea of communication is that it is a skill that must be mastered because a message wrongly interpreted can jeopardise a message goal. Now we have tried to explain what noise is and in going into a bit of what covert communication means, we hope you can already see a link.

When a message is intended, it is expected that any barrier that could inhibit the appreciation of the actual message must be taken care of; going back to our earlier example on anger – because the feeling of anger can be very strong, it is expected that before you engage in an interaction, you must ensure that the cause of the anger is dealt with. At other times covert messages can be transmitted by the sheer unawareness of the transmitter.

As social beings (especially in an office situation), we are expected to have positive body languages so as not to produce noise around our personalities or readiness to work. According to WorkHealthlife, the following few actions can be practiced as ways to ensure that you do not embody noise to positive communication;

  • Lean forward a little in your chair to show interest when someone is talking to you.
  • Nod to acknowledge the speaker’s points and Smile appropriately to demonstrate involvement or understanding in what is being said
  • Use hand gestures to demonstrate commitment and lively interest when you speak and look people in the eyes (moderately) to establish trust and open communication.
  • When you go into a meeting and sit close to the front, you suggest that you are interested in the purpose of the meeting. Conversely, if you lean on a wall at the back and continually eye the door, you send the message that you wish you were somewhere else.
  • Avoiding your company’s social events can suggest that you are not really part of the team and are not truly committed.

In all, you must play at being both the sender and the receiver of your message to ascertain that the occurrence misunderstanding is minimised.


As written by Esohe Ebikienmo Eboigbe

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