The barriers to effective workplace communication

Effective communication can be undermined by communication barriers. It imperative to overcome to barriers to improve communication.

Communication is the process of passing information from one person to another. The purpose of communication is to understand the information. Anything a person wants to say to a person should be clearly understood otherwise the very purpose of communication can be defeated. It can be undermined by communication barriers.

Good communication can improve collaboration and lead to better project collaboration. It applies to almost all industries. Work communication is essential for improving internal communication. Therefore, communication helps people to better understand, remove misunderstandings and build clarity of thought and expression. It also keeps people well informed.

We use a variety of communication types at our workplace: verbal, written and graphic mode and broadcasting. 

In general, there are three types of communication barriers

Physical: Physical communication barriers face the environment in your workplace. Examples include buildings that obstruct the view of partners, remote work environments that minimise communication, and closed doors that keep partners from speaking with each other.

Emotional: Emotional barriers to communication may arise due to feelings of doubt or anxiety. A threatening boss can cause anxiety among employees, as well as frustrating open conversations.

Language: Language barriers to communication include written, oral, and physical gestures used to convey a message. When people speak different languages, the use of unfamiliar jargon, obscure body language, or different dialects can create communication gaps.

Communication barriers affect your ability to perform your duties, may disrupt work relationships, and affect team performance as a whole. Identifying barriers to communication is the first step in solving them. 

Here are the key barriers to work communication

Overwhelming information

If you share information in a meeting with a colleague or give induction to new employees about company policies and procedures, or update a client on its campaign status, it is important to deliver an important message. You may be sharing too much information because you are eager to help and miss out on the main points.

Jargon used in technical fields

Each industry has its technical names, or jargon, that experts rely on for quick communication. Although using jargon is helpful when talking to those in the same industry, it can be confusing to outsiders. Jargon is commercially available, may vary from company to company, and may vary from office to office depending on the work.

Barriers resulting from language

If someone’s language is different from yours, you may have a problem understanding each other. Idiomatic sentences or expressions, where the literal meaning differs from what it says, do not translate well between languages and can cause misunderstandings. Having a multilingual work culture has great benefits, but it is important to be aware of the challenges in communication.

Diversity of cultures

Culture is the foundation of how we look at the world and governs much of our behaviour and habits. Cultural differences can create barriers between individuals.

Having physical disabilities

Hearing impairment, speech impairment, visual impairment, or other physical or mental impairments can act as barriers to speech and can cause difficulties in daily activities and difficult interactions with others. It is important to have in-service support and educate all employees about the communication changes and strategies available for fostering a productive and inclusive workplace.

Listening inactively or impatiently

The key to successful communication is listening. The conversation is the exchange of information, but when one shows a lack of interaction or lack of interest by focusing on electronic devices or by looking away, the information required is not being transferred.

Overcoming barriers to work communication: How to do it

Take time to be fully present

It requires concentration and practice to focus on the opinions of others with an open mind. Hold any reflection on the information shared with you as you listen. Listen carefully and wait until later to reply.

Describe your knowledge in detail

Share important information briefly to make the information understandable and memorable. Be brief and allow others to ask questions to make the discussion more meaningful.

Engage your audience with questions

Invite and tell participants consistently to ask questions. This helps you to see different perspectives and can lead to understanding and finding ways to avoid future communication pitfalls. Through open communication, you can also learn about different communication methods in your workplace and adapt your methods to meet the needs of all.

Beware of others

Show interest in him by looking into his eyes, keeping electronic devices away from your hands, smiling, shaking your head to show understanding, and stopping to look at the others if possible. Empathy can be demonstrated by mimicking someone else’s language, such as laughing when they laugh, smiling when they smile, or using similar gestures.

Organisations should adopt a system for training their employees in Effective Communication in order to accomplish projects in a well-managed and safe manner. Many organisations use classroom training, online training, or e-learning to train staff on this topic.

In order to improve communication, what measures have you taken?

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