What are Communication Barriers?
People, either at workplaces or in their personal lives, communicate in various ways with each other. However, not all communication is fruitful or effective. There are misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and at times, a complete breakdown of all communication. These situations are often a result of various types of communication barriers.
While language barriers are an obvious hurdle, physical, emotional, and cultural differences present more subtle challenges in the process of communication. They are often challenging to overcome without a conscious attempt.
Ways to overcome barriers of communication
Communication barriers are a serious workplace hazard. It can potentially disrupt the smooth flow of work and pose a danger to the business health of organizations as a whole. Likewise, if we ignore communication barriers, it can have adverse consequences in our careers.
Here are some simple ways to help overcome barriers of communication and improve our productivity and success.
- Body language
Remember, even a darting movement of your eyes can say a lot. The movement of your hands and facial expressions play a massive role in verbal communication. Ensure that your body language does not include cues of aggression, fear, or contempt
Standing up straight or sitting upright in your chair displays a positive attitude and alertness
- The tone of voice
We not only listen to people’s words but are also constantly interpreting those words through their tone of voice. A serious topic requires a confident and firm tone, just as a sympathetic tone is important while addressing someone’s grievances
- Eye contact
Maintaining eye contact means you pay attention to the other person and play an active part in the conversation. Distracted eyes can easily be mistaken for disregard and indifference
Offering and seeking feedback makes for an interactive conversation. It shows that you care about the topic of discussion
- The flow
Avoid interrupting when someone else is speaking. Be patient, even if you think you have already understood the point. Often, people take a few moments to convey their actual message, and by interrupting them, you are in danger of completely missing the point. Paying attention is, in fact, extremely critical to effective communication
Put away your mobile phone, take your eyes off the computer and avoid multitasking when conversing with someone. If you are pressed for time or faced with an urgent deadline, request a break, finish the other tasks, and give them your full attention
- Diverse views
A common barrier to effective communication is an inability to accept a difference of opinion. There can always be situations in daily corporate life that are subjective, open to various interpretations. It is imperative to learn how to respect and handle diverse points of view. Avoid aggressive arguments and over-heated debates
- Friendly demeanor
It helps to be pleasing in your manners, steadfastly courteous, no matter the situation. Acknowledge others by nodding, using positive facial expressions, and exhibiting a pleasant smile
- Thoughtful responses
Take a moment to assimilate your thoughts before you express your opinion. Careless remarks, even if meant as a joke, can backfire with harsh consequences. If you do not have anything to contribute to a discussion, it makes sense to keep quiet rather than voice out hollow platitudes
- Written communication
Before sending an email, text, or other written forms of communication, take care to proofread and make any necessary edits. When your written communication is articulate and professional, people automatically respect your points of view
Whether you are an engineer or a sales manager, avoid falling prey to constantly using abbreviations, slang, or management jargon to impress others. On the contrary, using simple, straightforward language can help you connect far more easily with people
Successful organizations encourage and nurture people who have a good command over verbal and written forms of communication. The art of choosing the proper medium of communication to suit the message is an invaluable trait. Whenever convenient, it is always good to choose face-to-face interaction.