There are many barriers to communication in today’s world, even beyond cell phone reception problems. While some are obvious, there are various others, some of which might even surprise you.
Here are some tools that you and others can use to help make your communication easier, smoother, and better.
Why communication fails
First, let’s go over two of the main reasons why communication fails.
- The message isn’t received exactly the way the sender intended.
- The received message wasn’t understood.
Communication failure is usually caused by some sort of barrier and these barriers may occur at any stage of the communication process. Barriers lead to your message becoming distorted or not even delivered which, in the business world, can lead to the loss of both time and money by causing confusion and misunderstanding.
Effective communication involves overcoming these barriers and conveying a clear and concise message.
Let’s look at some of the common barriers that can affect how well communication is received.
- Physical barriers
Physical barriers generally have to do with the environment or poor or outdated equipment used during communications. Some examples include:
- Background noise
- Poor lighting
- Temperatures being too hot or too cold
To overcome physical barriers, try to set up your meeting in an appropriate space. If you need to meet face-to-face, do it in a room with a door that can be closed. If you know the office is going to be cold, bring an extra sweater. If background noise happens, let the noise settle, then resume the conversation or find a quieter location.
Examples of attitude are emotions, like anger, sadness, or nervousness. It can also include having a personal agenda or “needing” to be right no matter what.
To overcome these barriers, you need to leave your emotions out of things as best as possible. While this may not always be possible, the more you’re aware of your emotions, the easier it becomes to address them. If you notice you’re getting extra angry during a meeting with someone, pause the meeting and ask to reschedule. Give yourself time to process the information that was given, think about your response, and give your response when you’re ready and prepared to talk rationally.
Even when people are speaking the same language, they can have difficulty understanding each other if they are from different generations or different regions of the same country. Everyone has different levels of vocabulary and just because you know what a word means, doesn’t mean that the other person will. To overcome this, keep the conversation simple and avoid using slang, or jargon. If the other person uses a word that you’re not sure about, simply ask what that word means or make a note and look it up later.
When you communicate, you want the message to be clear and concise and not leave the other person confused or with lingering questions.
These are just a few of the reasons why communication fails and what you can do about it. There are many more including how and when to use examples or stories to explain a point that’s being discussed.
Want to know more? Our Communication series contains 54 lessons and covers a wide range of communication skills every employee and manager needs to know to increase productivity and reduce confusion and costly misunderstandings.
In addition to verbal communication, our Business Library also contains courses in Business Writing, Administrative Excellence, and many more critical soft skills.
For more information, contact us to request a demo of the training we can make immediately available to your employees.