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Barriers to Effective Communication - 5 Ways to Overcome Them

By Admin | 5 May 2018 |

Effective communication is important in the family, workplace, and dealing with friends. Communication is important to not only pass on information and facts but to forge and strengthen relationships. Communication that is effective, needs to express ideas, feelings, thoughts, and emotions in a clear and understandable manner.

Barriers to effective communication can severely impact and even damage relationships. For example, not listening properly, interrupting the other person while they are speaking, or offering solutions before hearing the other person out, can all block effective communication.

What can you do to remove communication barriers and boost your communication skills? Read on to find out.

What is Communication?

Communication is described as the process of using words (printed or spoken), thoughts, behaviours, signals, or sounds to express your thoughts, feelings, or ideas to another person.

So, communication is more than just speaking to another person. It can involve the tone of your voice, your body language, timing of what you communicate, and intention of your communication.

Knowing how to improve your communication skills requires knowing the barriers to good communication.

5 Barriers to Effective Communication and How to Overcome Them

1. Not listening actively

Communicating effectively often means taking note of what the other person says so that you can make an appropriate response. So, good communication starts with not just hearing words but actively listening to what another person is saying.

Here are some ways to listen actively:

  • Listen to the other person more than you speak
  • Observe the speaker’s body language and behavior
  • Try to really concentrate on what is being said
  • Don’t interrupt or reflect back what you’ve heard

2. Not paying attention

If you are an active listener, then it will be easy to avoid the second barrier to effective communication – not paying attention. Looking at your mobile phone, checking your watch, or letting your mind drift off will hinder communication between you and the other party. This happens in 2 ways:

  • First, you give the impression that you are not interested in what is being said that this may stop the other person opening up.
  • Second, you may miss important information and then create confusion and frustration.

3. Not being clear and concise

Not being clear and concise when speaking or writing emails or letters can stifle communication. Important information and facts can get lost in using an excessive number of words or not speaking clearly.

One step to communicating clearly and succinctly is to always ask yourself “why”? If you are the speaker, you should clearly know what you want to achieve. If you are the listener, try to discern why the conversion is taking place. If, you are not clear on what the purpose of the communication is, try to get to the “why”.

4. Using jargon

Misunderstandings and confusion abound when a person uses overly-technical language, jargon, or words that are rarely used. Of course, some rarely-used words may be necessary to get over your point effectively and precisely, but they should always have a purpose. If you are in the habit of using technical language, your listeners may not get the point of what is being said.

To boost communication, always try to speak in layman’s terms, even if your audience has some knowledge of what you are talking about.

5. Avoiding the concerns of others

In any conversation, it’s important to try and see where the other person is coming from. Each person has their own viewpoint, experience, and set of life skills that affect their perspective. For example, two people standing on either side of the road will have a different perspective. One will say the car came from the left and the other will say it came from the right.

To get over this barrier, try to keep an open mind, especially when communicating in a stressful environment. Remember that differences in understanding and perspective are natural. Also, knowing where the other person is coming from can help you adjust your tone, body language, or reassure your listener.