Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communication

Educator effectively communicating with 4 people sitting on chairs listening to a seminar.

In business, communication is an effort to give and receive information about what people want us to do and what we expect from them. Effective communication can only be ensured if the message conveyed is clearly understood and comprehended by the person receiving it. 

All of us create barriers to effective communication, whether we realize it or not; it’s part of being human. The good news is that we can all improve by learning about the barriers to successful communication. Understanding the behaviours that muddle understanding will help us to improve.

Avoid using big words when a simpler one will do. Big words are likely to disconnect us from the people we’re trying to communicate with because they tend to wonder what the big word means, rather than listen to what we’re saying.

Keeping your speech as simple as possible will make you sound more authentic than if you’re trying to impress others with how much you know. For instance, a salesperson shouldn’t start discussing the technicalities of a product if he or she is pretty sure the customer wouldn’t understand. It would be far better to offer only a few of the important and most useful features.

It’s also important to remember that not everyone you’re talking to has English as their mother tongue, so keep it simple.

Not Thinking Before You Speak

Clear communication is very important. Before you begin a conversation, you need to be very clear about what you want to say and how to say it by arranging your thoughts in an organized way before beginning.

Noisy Distractions

No one can be expected to be heard and understood in a noisy restaurant or over a cell phone service experiencing difficulties. Your own thoughts will be disrupted and you won’t be sure your message was even heard.

Always choose a quiet place in which to converse with someone and talk in person whenever possible. Alternately, find the source of the noise and remove it before beginning to talk.

No Feedback

Almost 75 percent of people involved in communicating with others either don’t understand the information given to them or it wasn’t properly presented to them. 

A lack of feedback can sidetrack effective communication. Allow your listener the time to respond to your message and ask questions, if necessary. When you’re the listener, be sure that you understand what the speaker is saying.

The Communication Chain is Too Long

The longer the communication chain, the more likely there is to be a breakdown in communication. Sending the message through a third person means it could become distorted or altered. The person for whom the communication is intended may not receive the complete message.

Whenever possible, communicate with the person concerned directly. The more people that the message is passed through; the more likely it is that the message will become distorted.

A State of Emotional Turmoil

It’s actually the unspoken connections that we instinctively feel around each other that are the primary factors in communication and not the spoken word. If you’ve ever picked up on a bad vibe from someone, you’ve recognized their emotional state. Being sympathetic to another person’s emotional state gives you the advantage in every communication.

Learn to be conscience of your own emotional state of mind before entering into a conversation. You won’t be able to express yourself well if you’re in emotional turmoil. When you find yourself being affected by someone else’s bad mood and become negative, defensive or hostile, your emotional state is lowered and your ability to reason and think clearly will be limited.

On the other hand, someone who doesn’t allow negative words, actions or surroundings to get them down, makes you feel happy and empowered, too. The way you present yourself is a very powerful aspect of person-to-person communication.

Not Minding Your Manners

Using rude language can inhibit all efforts to communicate, whether it’s in writing or face-to-face. Avoid angry and aggressive language in favour of stating your thoughts politely. It’s inevitable that disagreements will happen but you can disarm an emotionally charged encounter by remaining positive and pleasant. 

Slang language will not be understood by everyone and can be equally discouraging to a listener.

Important Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Speak clearly and slowly
  • Include all of the pertinent details
  • Never assume that something is obvious
  • Be prepared to stop talking and ask if something needs repeating
  • Consider what’s important to the listener
  • Restate key points, rephrased
  • Ask your listener to repeat details back to you
  • Pay full attention to the speaker
  • Ask pertinent questions
  • Repeat what you’ve heard back to the speaker in your own words
  • Ask that information be repeated if you don’t understand
  • Make a note of important details

Don’t:

  • Be over-assertive or aggressive
  • Talk too fast, which can make you sound insincere
  • Talk too slow, which can make you seem unprepared or nervous
  • Use jargon that can be misunderstood

Let the communication experts at AnswerPlus help your business communicate a favourable impression to your valued customers.

Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Transactional_comm_model.jpg

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28
Jul
2017