Barriers to Effective Communication – How to Overcome

Barriers to Effective Communication - How to Overcome
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Effective communication takes place when a well-encoded message is sent via the right channel to a recipient who understands its meaning. Feedback may or may not be necessary depending on the circumstances. Communication barriers will be discussed in this guide with related subheadings. Read on.

Definition of Barriers to Effective Communication

What are the barriers to effective communication?

The barriers to effective communication are factors that can prevent the recipient from receiving or fully understanding a message. In other words, they’re obstacles to effective communication.

For example: The meanings of messages can be misinterpreted in text chats when abbreviations are used and there are no punctuations. This scenario illustrates barriers to effective interpersonal communication when using digital channels like social media, emailing, and so on.

If you understand the barriers to communication, you can overcome those. Explore the communication barriers in this article. Click To Tweet

Importance of Effective Communication

Close to 90% of people acknowledge the importance of effective communication. However, only 2 out of 10 people rate their business communication as above average. This is not a good statistic. The understanding of the factors affecting communication cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, 5 of them will be discussed here.

  1. Prevention and settling of conflict
  2. Increment of employee engagement and loyalty
  3. Improvement of team cooperation
  4. Encouragement of innovation
  5. Enhancement of business efficiency, productivity, and growth

1. Prevention and Settling of Conflict

A workforce may consist of people from various cultural and social backgrounds. In this case, there could be a higher tendency for conflict to occur as a result of individual differences. Effective intercultural communication skills are needed in such a setting. The barriers to effective interpersonal communication will have to be tackled decisively.

In cases of conflict, the skills mentioned earlier will be essential in tackling the potential barriers to effective communication. Face-to-face meetings have been organized in order to settle numerous disputes. In view of this, it’s only right that business persons should learn how to deal with the physical barriers to communication.

2. Increment of Employee Engagement and Loyalty

Communication barriers have adverse effects on employee engagement and loyalty. Employees will find it hard to maintain good working relationships when there are barriers to effective personal communication. In fact, it would be hard for teams to realize their full potential in such situations.

The same goes for employee-manager relations. There’s a need for trust, respect, and a two-way line of communication. Top-level managers have to ensure that organizational goals and objectives are well-communicated to the entire workforce. No employee should feel left out. Everyone should be made to feel like they’re part of the organization—like a business family.

Doing the above will boost worker motivation and strengthen their commitment to the company. It would also make them willing to communicate their ideas and issues to others or to their superiors. For example: There’ll be better understanding of workers’ needs when they’re comfortable talking about personal issues with the HR (human resource) manager.

3. Improvement of Team Cooperation

Teams cannot execute projects efficiently and effectively when there’s poor cooperation. Also, time will be wasted in trying to address the misunderstandings or conflicts that may emerge. It’s necessary to ensure the efficacy of information flow and interactions in order to tackle communication barriers that can lead to these situations. The following have positive effects on working relationships:

  1. Honesty
  2. Transparency
  3. Empathy
  4. Etiquette
  5. Division of labor
  6. Attentiveness
  7. Motivation

4. Encouragement of Innovation

How will the ideas be conveyed freely when there are physical barriers to communication? For example: A situation where it’s difficult for workers to approach managers. It could be due to the fear of rejection or bullying. The managers may have created a working environment that doesn’t encourage employees to be innovative—only to listen to instructions without feedback and contribute their quota.

There’s bound to be an excellent communication flow in any company where employee creativity is encouraged. Everyone will be carried along from the top-level management to the low-level workers. Employees would be willing to propose ideas that they feel their superiors would be interested in.

5. Enhancement of Efficiency, Productivity, and Growth

Communication barriers can be so negatively impactful on the competence and output of the workforce. This also means that the obstacles to effective communication can have an indirect effect on the success of a business. Start-ups should be very concerned about this. They should implement strategies to manage communication barriers from the onset.

When instructions aren’t clearly stated, it can make the employees perform their tasks in a wrong way or below expectations. There’ll be a high tendency for mistakes to occur. Effective communication between managers and employees involves the following:

  1. Giving directions with clarity.
  2. Asking questions when in doubt.
  3. Dealing with a misunderstanding quickly.
  4. Ensuring that all the necessary information is provided.

Effective communication helps to save time, energy, and resources. It ensures the increase of output in an organization whenever the need arises. Ultimately, long-term success will be ensured.

Common Barriers to Effective Communication

This section provides general answers that you need to know if you ever ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are some barriers to communication in an informal setting?
  • What are some barriers to communication in a romantic relationship?
  • What are some barriers to communication in an organization?

Now let’s take a look at the possible communication barriers that can be faced

  • Lack of motivation and/or job satisfaction leading to a rise in employee apathy.
  • Making assumptions about the needs of others instead of asking them to state it.
  • Distrust and secrecy.
  • Differences in communication styles in terms of specificity, straightforwardness, conciseness, and so on.
  • The emergence of conflict that could suspend the communication flow between two parties.
  • Cultural and social differences in terms of race, language, dialects, nonverbal cues, etc.

The following are the types of communication barriers:

  • Language barriers (e.g. differences in dialects)
  • Psychological barriers (e.g. a mentally stressed person)
  • Attitudinal barriers (e.g. an individual’s resistance to change)
  • Physical barriers (e.g. noise)
  • Physiological barriers (e.g. impaired hearing)
  • Systematic barriers (e.g. misinterpretation of individual roles in the line of communication)

How to Overcome the Barriers to Effective Communication

Do these to deal with the negative factors affecting communication:

  1. Pay attention to details
  2. Seek advice from others
  3. Do everything possible to help the recipient to understand the message
  4. Ensure proper information flow
  5. Always assess the effectiveness of each communication process
  6. Be sure that you’re getting appropriate feedback

1. Pay Attention to Details

The language used should be simple and clear in combination with a well-structured message. Also, be straightforward when conveying ideas. Aspects such as tone should be courteous all through, so as not to sound offensive to the recipient. Pay attention to potential barriers to effective communication.

2. Seek Advice from Others

The input of others can prove to be useful in a situation where you’re unsure about the best way to convey a message. Always ask for opinions or suggestions if you need to handle an aspect of the communication process properly. Moreover, you can request for tips on handling potential barriers to effective communication.

3. Do Everything Possible to Aid the Recipient’s Understanding of the Message

Try to tackle as many obstacles to effective communication as possible, so that the receiver can easily grasp the contents of the message. Be considerate about his or her literacy level, background, and environment.

4. Ensure Proper Information Flow

The contents of a message should be in line with what connects the two parties. It can be a business deal, working relationship, or organizational goal. Ensure that the purpose of the message is communicated clearly, especially when it has a connection to a previous message.

5. Always Assess the Effectiveness of Each Communication Process

Ensure continued success by evaluating each communication process. Also, take note of the communication barriers encountered.

6. Be Sure that You’re Getting Appropriate Feedback

Feedback lets you know whether the recipient understood the message. If necessary, always seek replies to messages. Physical barriers to communication are discovered this way.

Learn more by watching this YouTube video:

What are Ways to Overcome Barriers to Effective Communication

Best Ways to Improve Effective Communication

Take a look at the two Coursera courses below.

Description: Learn effective business information flow in view of the factors affecting communication. The course comes in 11 languages.

Description: Learn writing, presentation skills, and graphic design for business purposes.

Related Articles:

FAQ

  • What are the barriers to effective communication?
  • What are the physical barriers to effective communication?

What are the Barriers to Effective Communication?

They are listed below.

  1. Lack of motivation and/or job satisfaction.
  2. Making assumptions about the needs of others.
  3. Distrust and secrecy.
  4. Differences in communication styles.
  5. The emergence of conflict.
  6. Cultural and social differences.

What are the Physical Barriers to Effective Communication?

The physical barriers to communication include the following:

  1. Noise
  2. Timing
  3. Workspace design
  4. Geographic distance
  5. Distortion when encoding and decoding a message
  6. Technical issues of mediums (technologies) used
  7. Overflow of information in a specific period
  8. Environmental and climatic factors

Conclusion

What are the barriers to effective communication in an organization? Now you know the answer to that question. Make the move to develop the necessary skills by practicing what you’ll learn from the courses suggested earlier. Your skills will be well-sharpened in no time. Now you can start dealing with communication barriers in your workplace like they’re nothing!

By Kalpataru

Kalpataru is a Software Sales, and Product Marketing professional. He writes on business development, personal development, personal finance, and career development. He has more than 10 years of experience in driving revenue through data-driven Sales & Marketing.

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