How can communication barriers be overcome?
Some barriers will prove difficult and rather insurmountable. However, there are many ways in which communication hurdles can be overcome. One such way is by an appreciation of other cultures and language elements. Learning other languages can help to facilitate greater communication. This can take the form of intensive language courses, or simply by demonstrating a willingness to absorb the dialects and languages featured in another culture. Finding this common ground is more of an issue of will and want. If individuals are willing to do so, it can be done. Seeing that this is being addressed from a business point of view, it might be even more pressing to do so. Allowing communication barriers to exist can result in the lack of development in new markets for products and services and can also result in a decrease in productivity. Business managers must pay attention to how one makes inroads in new markets and communication can play a vital role in this. Advertising in other languages and engaging in broader outreach to these markets can help in a globalized and interdependent system as the current market place. Finally, the use of information technology can allow information to be disseminated and absorbed in quick time, almost "real time." This helps to initiate and continue communication, as opposed to a time lag which, coupled with apathy, can help to increase communication barriers.
There are six main barriers to effective interpersonal communications, namely :-
1. differing perceptions 2. language differences 3. noise 4. emotionality 5. distrust 6. inconsistent communication.
Methods to resolve the six barriers :
1. differing perception : in the message, we must try to explain it so that even those with different views and experiences can understand it. We may need to learn about the background of those with whom we are communicating so that we can empathise with them and see the situation from that person's point of view.
2. difference in languages : simple direct natural language should be used. if technical or unconcentional terms cannot be avoided, they should be explained. Besides, being sensitive to the situation may also help.
3. noise : reduce the source (shut down machine, increase or decrease illumination..etc), increase the strength of transmission (using amplifier brighter OHP) or move to a more conducive environment.
4. emotionality : by increasing our awareness of it could help eliminate negative effects of emotinality. Being sensitive to one's moods and being aware of how they might influence others before communicating an important message is helpful. Prevention better than cure. Hence, by creating an atmosphere in which destructive emotionality is unlikely help to ensure that emotionality will not come a barrier to communication. Foster a supportive environment and give constructive feedbacks.
5. inconsistent communication : best done by being aware of the differences in our verbals and non-verbals and take steps to reduce them. Our gestures, clothing, posture, style, facial expressions should agree with what we are saying because jour audience will not just listen to our words but they will receive other signals like the non-verbals we are projecting and they are not consistent with our verbal message, then the audience or receiver will not know what exactly to make of what we are trying to say. Eg, if we greet someone "good morning" with a smile we project both a friendly face with friendly words and the receiver knows what to make of that, if we were to greet someone with 'GOOD MORNING" and an angry face the receiver will just not know whether we are wishing them well or we mean them harm.
6. distrust : By and large, how the receiver perceives the message form the source depends on the level of trust they have in the source. If we do not trust the sender, we will tend to interpret his words negatively when he could very well be honest with us. Employees will generally believe the manager's words but only with regards to official working information; they may not trust him on a personal basis. Also, a consultant or expert opinion will be given more credibility than someone whom we do not perceive as being knowledgeable in that field. Above all, in communication as in everything else, the principle of 'once bitten, twice shy' is equally valid.
Communication barriers refers to the problems or factors that lead to poor communication. These include the following.
- Message not coded properly by the sender
- The language used for the message is not appropriate for the receiver.
- The message is not transmitted completely and correctly.
- The message has not been received fully or correctly by the receiver. This refers to physically reading or listening, rather than understanding.
- The recipient not understanding the message correctly.
We can adopt the following measures to overcome the communication barriers.
- Sender must develop clarity of thought about the message to be conveyed.
- Also these thoughts must be carefully organized so that it is easier formulate a message that covers the intended thoughts clearly and completely.
- Consult with the intended recipient to develop a mutual understanding of all the issues involves in the subject covered by the communication. A general principle is that it better to "first understand before attempting to be understood".
- Use appropriate language suitable for the recipient.
- When communicating face to face, develop sensitivity to the body language. One should pay attention to the body language of others to understand them better, at the same time it is also necessary to pay attention to body language of self so that it is supporting rather than conflicting with verbal message.
- Avoid communication under conditions of mental stress.
- Use appropriate method of communication - for example face to face, letter, telephone call, and so on.
- Take care to ensure that message has been or is being transmitted correctly. Check for correct and complete receipt of message.
- Pay attention to messages of others. Listen carefully.