Communication runs the world. It is one of the most basic human skills with which humanity has been surviving ages after ages. Problems with communication can have a huge impact on your life. Therefore, overcoming barriers to effective communication is highly important.
The purpose behind this article is to make you familiar with communication barriers. Even more, you will get to know 9 ways to overcome the barriers to effective communication.
Table of Contents
What is Communication?
Communication is essential to survive. It is because it helps build and strengthen our relations with people. Communication is the method of exchanging information from one person to another. It is the name given to the way of interacting with our message of thoughts and feelings. It can be verbal or non-verbal.
The method of interacting can be speech or oral, written, graphical and even signs, signals, and behaviour. Simply, communication is the process of creating and conveying meaningful messages from one person to another. It can be done through different means.
In our fast-paced world today, we depend upon effective communication from day to day. Interacting is saying “good morning”, giving a smile to our friend from afar, taking instructions to your co-worker. They all fall under the radar of communication. For this, barrier-free and effective communication is highly compulsory. Because of the barrier, our information can easily be misinterpreted.
Four Types of Communication
Generally, there are four types of communication that helps to convey our messages. Each type of communication has its importance. And it should be done to give the message in the best way possible.
1. Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is interacting through speaking. It is the most popular way of communication that we regularly use in the form of talking. People use verbal communication through their voice, gesture and body language.
For example, speech, conversation, talking on the phone, voicemail, or giving an announcement. They are all verbal communication. Essentially, it is used to express thoughts, emotions and sentiments. It is the basic form of communication we learn from childhood by hearing people around us talk. There are 4 forms of verbal communication.
- Intrapersonal Communication: It is the form of communication we have with ourselves. It can be self-talk, acts of imagination and visualisation, and also recall and memory.
- Interpersonal Communication: It is the form of communication we have with another person. It is the form of communication we have with another person. The interaction is usually one to one. So here both person shares express their feeling, thoughts and information.
- Small-Group Communication: It is conversing among two or more people. Just like when we talk among friends and family members.
- Public Communication: It is when we give a speech in a large gathering. Here, everyone receives the same message. Public speaking on a topic and election campaigns are examples of public communication.
2. Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication is the process of interacting without speaking or making noise. Essentially, you have to use:
- Body language,
- Facial expressions,
- Eye contact,
- Haptics (touch),
For example, using sign language is a form of non-verbal communication.
A part of our everyday communication is non-verbal along with verbal communication. For example, we wave at our friends, smile at someone we know when we pass them and give a nod of appreciation to someone. Moreover, our expressions change with our moods. Like a happy face, angry face or crying face also sends everyone around you a message.
3. Written communication
A form of communication that is done with the aid of written words is written communication. It is a way of conveying our thoughts and feelings with the help word written or typed. We usually use written communication when sending letters, emails chatting on digital platforms, reports, articles or memos, etc.
Written communication can be edited. It also leaves a trail of what you said. Written communication can be time-consuming and also somewhat unsuitable for confidential communication. But it can be used along with the aid of visual communication too.
4. Visual Communication
The use of visual elements to communicate ideas and information is visual communication. A few examples of visual communication are:
- Graphic design,
- Industrial design,
- Electronic resources
- Movies and video clips are also a form of visual communication.
Visual communication also includes icons and emoticons. Each icon and sign have a meaning. When these icons are displayed somewhere, they inform the user of their meaning and application. The internet uses a combination of text, design, links, images, and colour to interact with the public. It is one of the best instances of visual communication.
What are the Characteristics of Effective Communication?
The key to overcoming barriers to effective communication is knowing its characteristics. Effective communication depends upon lots of factors. For example, the effective transferring of information requires the art of listening carefully. It also requires reading the information, understanding, processing it and then transferring it.
Communication also highly depends upon different factors like gesture, posture, tone of voice and spoken language. If someone cannot understand the message because of these factors, then a communication barrier might be created.
For example, if you tell someone, “hope you are doing well?” with a mocking tone to your voice, the message’s meaning might come out sarcastically. The intention might seem utterly opposite to what the sentence is implying. The listener will take it in the wrong sense.
Here is 7’C, the characteristics of effective communication:
You have to take care of these characteristics to overcome the barriers to effective communication. Learn more about them in detail below.
Effective communication depends on the clarity of the message. The more precise your message, the easier it is for the receiver to decipher it in accordance with your actual purpose. Many barriers to effective communication occur due to a lack of clarity in the message.
In order to make effective communication, the message must be to the point. The message must be more about its content rather than its length. Do not add irrelevant information. As a result, it will be easier for the receiver to grasp the exact message. Furthermore, it will make your conversation less time-consuming.
Effective communication requires specific, tangible and valid information. The message you transfer must be supported with facts for increased credibility. It helps your receiver or audience to understand the broader picture of your message. Concreteness reduces the possibility of misunderstanding, builds trust, and encourages constructive criticism.
For effective communication, the language should be accurate. Also, the grammar and syntax should be correct. It increases the authenticity and credibility of the message. Any errors can degrade the clarity of your message, cause vagueness, and raise doubts. They may also have an adverse effect on the overall interpretation of the message. This may give a clumsy or negligent impression to your receiver.
Effective communication must be judgement free. You and your receiver must consider each other’s background and perception. For example, if your message conveys double meaning, sounds disrespectful. Therefore, it might affect the receiver emotionally, and they might see it in the wrong way.
Effective communications are complete because the receiver receives all the information. Giving a complete message helps them digest and act on the message correctly. Likewise, the message should have all the information to act upon. A complete message minimises the need for follow-up questions. It also makes the communication process run more smoothly.
Courtesy is the act of respecting the culture, values and beliefs of the receiver. In a way, it is like consideration. The message should avoid any kind of judgment or discrimination that might hurt other persons’ feelings. Instead, give a message that sounds genuinely polite and unbiased.
What are Communication Barriers?
Anything that prevents us from receiving and understanding a message is a communication barrier.
To overcome the barrier to effective communication, you must understand what are the barriers. If you want to overcome the barrier to effective communication, you have to understand what kind of barrier you are facing.
A few examples of communication barriers include information overload, selective perceptions, office gossip, semantics, gender differences, and so on. Depending on these examples of the communication barrier, there can be 9 kinds of barriers. Here are all of these barriers with small details.
1. Linguistic Barriers
It is the barrier caused due to differences in language, dialect or accent. There are around 6,500 spoken languages globally. And many of them have different accents and dialects.
2. Psychological Barriers
Effective communication requires a perfect balance of emotions and facts. Emotions like anger, frustration, and humour can cloud a person’s decision-making abilities. Therefore, they confine their communication effectiveness.
3. Emotional Barriers
Effective communication requires a perfect balance of emotions and facts. Emotions such as anger, frustration, and humour can cloud a person’s decision-making abilities and, therefore, confine their communication effectiveness.
4. Physical Barriers
It is any form of object or sounds that causes an obstacle in conveying the message. They include noise, closed doors, faulty communication equipment, closed cabins, and so on.
5. Cultural Barriers
Different culture has a different belief, way of talking and living. Like when people from different cultures communicate in different ways, such as speaking different languages, holding different cultural beliefs, or using various gestures and symbols. Their cultural differences may become barriers to effective communication.
6. Organisational Structure Barriers
In any organisation, there are many ways to communicate. Not using a proper communication system or using many different communication systems may create difficulty to deliver the message correctly.
7. Attitude Barriers
Being too introverted or extroverted can create barriers to effective communication. Throwing tantrums or egos during a conversation is a way that makes other people uncomfortable. It reduces the transfer of meaningful messages.
8. Perception Barriers
Having different points of view on a matter can create barriers to effective communication. Not being considerate of another perspective forms an obstacle in communicating correctly.
9. Physiological Barriers
Specific disorders, diseases, or other limitations may also deter effective communication. The shaky voice, dyslexia and others are examples of physiological barriers.
What are the 9 ways to Overcome the Barriers to Effective Communication?
All this time, we have talked about the characteristics of effective communication. We also covered the main barrier to effective communication. All of these are necessary to understand and overcome barriers to effective communication. Now it is time for how you can easily overcome barriers to effective communication. Here are 9 effective ways you can overcome barriers to effective communication.
1. Make Your Ideas Clear Before Communicating
Give a thought to what you are going to say. You need to have clear ideas about what you are about to speak. Know the motive behind the subject. Begin with a clear goal of communication and precise thinking.
In order to minimise vagueness and confusion in the communication process, clear communication builds upon exact terms and concrete words. Making your ideas clear before speaking, make your message simple and to the point. The receiver will understand what you’re trying to say.
Think of it from start to end and analyse all possible options when it is a new idea you want to share. When you have to explain it, be sure that all steps and linkages are fully understood by you and why they exist. Expect questions from your listener and be prepared to answer them.
2. Ensure the Time of Your Communication is Good
When you speak to someone, try to see the time and the mood of the person. Do not go and knock on your colleague after office hours. Time is an important factor in communication. When a group of people initiates communication, you must pay attention and communicate in due time.
It is also important to say the right thing at the proper time. For example, when your listener is in a sad situation, don’t try to tell an irrelevant joke. Or, if your listener is in a particularly happy mood, do not say anything that will trigger sadness or a bad mood.
3. Use a Language Your Listener Can Understand
You have to ensure that you are speaking the language which your listener can understand. Make your grammar and vocabulary as easy as possible while talking and writing. You can always show your language skills in report or thesis writing. But when you are delivering a meaningful message or conversing formally or informally, avoid any complex language or using a different accent.
Verbal and written messages that are easy to understand and jargon-free engages your audience. It will increase their interest in the conversation. Also, they will easily communicate back and forth with you.
4. Make your Message to the Point and Short
When speaking or writing emails or chatting, make your message to the point. Firstly, avoid any kind of unnecessary information. Secondly, only communicate one idea, thought or feeling at a time.
Thirdly, do not make your message too lengthy. When people hear long messages, they usually lose track of it, get bored or lose interest in the topic. Your message receiver will have a hard time grasping the message and take action on it. As a result, It will increase your time to explain again.
5. Check if the Other Person has Understood Your Message
When you communicate with someone else, ensure that they understood the message properly. Giving and requesting feedback proves that you are serious about what the other person says and their views on the subject.
The motive of feedback is to determine whether the recipient has grasped the significance of the received information. The reaction on the recipient’s face can be understood in face-to-face communication. However, the sender should adopt an appropriate feedback method in case of written communication or other kinds of communications.
6. Take Care of Your Body Language, Tone and Content of the Message
Your expressions, gestures, posture and voice tones are powerful tools. Whenever you are speaking, make sure you are communicating with correct body language.
Aggressively saying something good might take your listener aback. Use a polite tone is equally important. For example, when you are congratulating someone, you have to see it with genuine excitement. Saying “Congratulation!” with a sad face will make you seem like you are not happy with their progress. When you use the wrong body language and tone, the subject matter of your message can be easily misinterpreted.
Also, when you are choosing your word, make sure it is not contradictory and does not have any kind of double meaning.
7. Listen Before you Speak Again
As Polonius said in Hamlet, “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.” For effective communication, you must always listen to the other person attentively. Even though you and the other person may have a different perception of the subject, listening to the person overcomes barriers.
By listening, you will make the other person feel that their perception is equally important as yours. Furthermore, you will be apple to give more appropriate feedback.
8. Do Not Interrupt When Someone Else is Speaking
Strongly avoid interrupting someone when they are speaking. Wait till they are finished with what they are saying. It is considered rude behaviour. But when you interrupt someone, it distracts them from the things they were saying. As a result, they might lose their flow.
So if you are interrupting someone, you must have a strong reason for it. Otherwise, strictly avoid speaking until the other person is done.
9. Make your Message Judgement Free
When you are speaking, do not speak rudely or impolitely about someone’s culture, religion or belief. It will demean your listener and may affect your listener emotionally. As a result, they will lose interest in the conversation.
Respecting other people’s opinions and perspectives plays a huge role in overcoming barriers to effective communication. If you want to say something about a culture, religion, or belief, make sure you say it politely.
Speak and Connect!
So there you have it, 9 ways to overcome barriers to effective communication. Speak your heart out, but always be aware of the characteristics of effective communication.
If you have a problem with communication, always keep these 9 tips in your mind. You will be able to give your message effortlessly. If you want to be a great communicator, join our course Communication Skills Training. Get a grip on everything that you need to be successful in every kind of communication.
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