Communication is one of the most important parts of any relationship. Business relationships are no different. Having effective business communication or not having effective business communication can positively or negatively impact the success of an entire organization. Unfortunately, there are many barriers that can obstruct effective business communication. Those barriers come in four different categories. Those categories are personal barriers, physical barriers, sematic barriers and process barriers. A manager must know how to work around the communication barriers and use his or her communication skills to keep business operations going smoothly and to make improvements to the company. Personal Barriers:
The first kind of barrier that can impede business operations are personal barriers. One of the personal barriers that come into play are perception differences. People of many different backgrounds and perceptions exist in any given workplace. For that reason it is important for a manager to understand how to deal with the personal barriers that different employees may have to communicating. Different communication barriers have different solutions. Sometimes a sender of a message may not be able to communicate with the receiver what he or she is trying to say. Sometimes the receiver of the message has a different way of perceiving information and will interpret what is being said differently than it is meant. One of the best ways to avoid this occurrence is for the sender to ask the receiver questions to make sure that the receiver understands what the sender is trying to say.
While perception barriers can stop communications from being understood fully, listening barriers can also disrupt the transmission of a message. If the receiver does not have any listening skills, the sender will be unable to effectively send the needed information. Those who have poor listening skills will often misunderstand or misinterpret the information being conveyed. A manager must work on developing his or her listening skills if he or she wishes to be able to connect with his or her staff. A manger would also do well to work with his or her staff on developing their listening skills. A team that has good listening skills will be one that can communicate with each other effectively.
In addition to perception barriers and listening barriers, psychological distance barriers can hamper the transferring of information within an organization. Every person goes into work each day with their own frame of mind and his or her own attitude. If a person has a negative frame of mind and a poor attitude, he or she will be less open minded to any information that is given to him or her. A person’s individual perceptions can also effect his or her psychological distance barriers and add to a misunderstanding of communications. Identifying that one has a poor frame of mind or a bad attitude and determining its source is the best way to eliminate such communication barriers.
While perception barriers, listening barriers and psychological distance barriers are harmful one of the most detrimental kinds of barriers are emotional barriers. Humans are emotional and irrational creatures by nature. Emotional preconceptions can cloud how a person understands what is being said to him or her. A person might resist information or the information may be restricted due to his or her emotional issues. Emotional barriers cannot be ignored. Instead, a person who wishes to work past emotional barriers must understand the barrier and work towards removing the barrier. Physical Barriers:
Physical barriers is another category of communication barriers. The first kind of physical communication is when a communication tool is either used in an ineffective manner or the wrong tool is used to communication information. The medium used to deliver a message can be inappropriate for that piece of information. Therefore, it is important that the right tool be chosen to convey various bits of data.
While choosing the wrong medium to convey a message can be detrimental to the receiver’s ability to understand the message, geographical distance can also cause the information to be gabled. Lag times in the initial communication and feedback from that communication can cause misunderstandings. If the information does not get fully conveyed or gets conveyed too late because of long distances, it becomes useless. The best way to avoid miscommunication due to geographical barriers is to use the best method of communication for distances. With modern technology, video conferences and other electronic tools can keep information from becoming delayed and distorted.
Inappropriate use of communication tools and geographical distance can be easily circumvented with modern technology. However, one physical communication barrier that is harder to avoid is noise disruptions. The world is a noisy place and sometimes noise can make it hard to understand what is being said. While often modern technology can help eliminate noise barriers, sometimes noise barriers cannot be helped. The best way to combat this issue is to acknowledge that noise barriers exist and to make sure that information is understood when that circumstance transpires. Semantic Barriers:
Semantics are often dismissed as unimportant. However, when it comes to effectively communicating meaning, semantics are vital. When the sender of information uses the wrong words to convey their message, the receiver may not be able to understand. Not only can the use of wrong words be confusing but the right words should be used when communicating information to the right people. Because different audiences have different perceptions, the sender of information must choose his or her words correctly to fit his or her audience.
The incorrect use of words will destroy effective communication; however, jargon is another sematic barrier that can ruin communication. Jargon is language that is used in a specific field. For instance, engineers have their own jargon that a sales person is not likely to understand. The success of a business relies on different people with different expertise coming together with a common goal. When one communicates with people who are not in his or her field, he or she should use language that can be understood generally. Even if a sales person does not understand specific engineering jargon, a sales person can understand a basic explanation of the product or situation. Process Barriers:
Process barriers are another category of communication barriers. One of the most detrimental of the process barriers is the lack of a hierarchy of communication dissemination. A hierarchy of communication dissemination can best be built by establishing a structured program and process of communication. Proper communication channels should be used to spread information throughout an organization. Every level of employee should understand how the hierarchy works and to whom to direct their questions.
In addition to the lack of a hierarchy of communication dissemination, communications that are too complex can be serious barriers. If the information being shared is too complicated the understanding of the information can be lost. To best avoid this process communication barrier, one should be sure to communicate the information at the level of those who are receiving it. Additionally, the sender of information should make sure that he or she is not making the information more complicated by presenting it in a confusing manner. Complex information can be clarified if it is broken down in a way that everyone from different disciplines and levels can understand.
Having a proper hierarchy of communication dissemination and delivering information in a less complex manner can help diminish communication barriers. Another way to break communication barriers is to establish an element of trust in the communication process. When there is a good level of trust between management and coworkers, many communication barriers can be removed. When one can trust those who are high up in the company hierarchy, creativity is more likely to flow freely from all levels of the company. Because creativity is the driving force behind most businesses, the high generation of creativity is important to an organization’s survival.
A manager who is not aware of the four categories of communication barriers and their details will not be successful and will not contribute to the success of his or her company. Each barrier has different elements that can make communication attempts fail. Better communication can be achieved by working around and breaking down these barriers.
Managers must be realize that every person has a different background and will perceive things differently, he or she must understand that different people from different disciplines understand on different planes and managers also need to make sure that the right technology and tools are being used to send various communications. Business is all about communicating efficiently. Poor communication with coworkers and managers leads to inefficient work. When communication barriers are surpassed, productivity of a company will increase and a company can thrive.