Barriers To Effective Communication - Know Them, Overcome Them, And You Can Speak Productively
Barriers to effective communication help to inhibit our interactions with other people. They get in the way of our effectively communicating with others. The barriers can either originate within us or can occur as a result of outside interference.
What is effective communication?
To understand the nature, use and importance of barriers to effective communication it would help to revisit what we mean by being able to communicate effectively.
To communicate effectively we need to impart or exchange our information with the intended recipient in an efficient manner. And this does not just include the passing over of the information but also ensuring that the message is understood. And not just understood but responded to if the situation is appropriate.
So what barriers to effective communication might we experience?
Many things can come between us and effective communication, let us consider some now. Barriers to effective communication can be any of the following (either singly or acting together):
So many things can become barriers to effective communication, as we can see.
So there are many different types of barriers?
As we can see that communication barriers can take on many forms. Some we just need to be aware of in order to avoid them, others are things we need to steer more carefully around. Getting our communications right does take effort and a will to succeed. To get our message across may be the aim, with politeness, respect and civility our means, and clarity and meaning our tools, and words our vehicle.
Anything else we should be aware of?
What else need we know about barriers to effective communication? What other 'skills' are there to help us break through the fog of barriers to effective use of communication? The following gives a few of the other aspects of communicating that we need be aware of and utilize.
Listening is not just hearing the words said but a lot more. Words have context which needs to be taken in. Words are said with feeling and meaning, with gestures and mannerisms, all of which need to be taken into account.
In communication body language is very important, if not all important. We do not just communicate with our words but with our whole body. Any listener (and speaker) who does not take this into account does so at their peril.
Listening well is one of the best things we can do to overcome barriers to effective communication. Listening is giving our full attention to the other person. It helps to be enjoying the interchange. It helps to try to get the most out of the interplay. Sharing and giving as well as understanding and receiving. Communication at its best is a joy to participate in.
Silence can be a hindrance to communication. Silence can mean disinterest but can mean concentrated attentiveness. Yet it can also be a sign of commitment and dedication to the communication process.
See communication as an investment. See that it is time worth spending. See that it is worth the effort and worth giving of yourself. Because if you don't make that investment then the communication can fall by the wayside and an opportunity missed. It must be an investment to help overcome barriers to effective communication.
If you ask for something do not consider no to mean never. No can mean not now, I may be interested later. But if it is an unambiguous answer of no then it may be best to step back and regroup, rather than going full steam ahead in an attempt to change this decision. It may well not go down well.
When talking to someone be friendly. Do not push them into a corner, either physically, psychologically or verbally. You will only wind the other person up and communication will end. None of us likes to feel we are cornered and without an escape route.
By all means give as good as you take. But be fair. Be reasonable. Be polite. Be respectful and you will be seen as a person of integrity. You will be seen as a person worth speaking to and worth befriending. If you are not fair and always on the take people will avoid your company and much will be lost.
Shyness is something that I think we have all dealt with in our time. And for most of us it can continue in one shape or form. And what are we worried about?
What can we do? We need to realize that
By realizing our worth and capability we can overcome this barrier to effective communications.
Procrastination is the 'art' of putting things off. Letting doing things tomorrow appear a better option than doing it today, or right now. Often this is because we don't like doing the thing we are putting off; we see it as unpleasant in some way. We prefer to leave it for another time. With communication we can put off that telephone call, try to cry off from a meeting, or we can try to avoid speaking to someone we ought to speak with.
How to overcome this 'putting things off' until another day syndrome? We should try having a 'do it now' approach. We have to give it a shot. If we do that we can realize that our mind was intervening and persuading us (or allowing us to be persuaded). Start small. Speak to someone first, before they speak to you. Find out that the discomfort you envisaged is either less than you thought or it is not really unpleasant at all. Realize that you can do it, that you can speak to someone. The comfort and release is good and the relief of your success is real for you.
Do you control your tongue? Is your tongue over-controlled and you don't speak out when you might when spoken to in a critical manner. Or do you speak out at the least or little provocation? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Do we control our emotions and our tongue or do we let our feelings take over? We are all so different and our speech and communication are different, too. As long as we are conscious of what we are doing, what we are thinking, what we are saying and the way we are saying it, then we can proceed through life confidently.
How can we sum up?
So what can we really do about overcoming the barriers to effective communication that we come into contact with or exhibit ourselves?
When we speak to people why don't we relax? They are not trying to catch us out. Nor do they expect us to be on top form all the time. They expect a normal conversation. They want us to be ourselves. They want us to give of our self.
They don't expect us to come up with scintillating conversation, but they do expect us to converse with them. That is, they expect a two way process. They want us to give them the time of day and listen to what they have to say. As well contribute to the process. Listen to someone else with real interest and you may have found a friend for life.
People want us to share a bit of ourselves with them in our communication and our daily life. And we can do that, can't we? And in so doing we can overcome our barriers to effective communication.