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Tools for Overcoming Barriers to Communication

How many of your workplace challenges could be solved with better communication?

Probably more than you might realise. Strong communication skills are incredibly powerful.

Although we all enter the workplace with basic communication skills in our possession, we often neglect to evaluate and develop these skills.

This can lead to communication barriers cropping up and causing low and high level chaos.

In this article, we discuss frequent barriers to communication, provide you with an action plan for strengthening your communication skills, and a checklist for trouble shooting pesky barriers to communication.

Covered in this Article

What is a Barrier to Communication?

What are Barriers to Communication?

Anything that hinders clear and efficient channels of communication can be considered a barrier.

There are so many barriers, and they can change based on any given situation or working environment. We've noted some of the most common issues below.

4 Barriers to Communication and How to Spot Them

1. Language

You’ll find that language may be the barrier if you use a lot of complicated technical terms, buzzwords, or colloquial terms. It's also something to consider if you're communicating in a language that is not your first language, or to others who are not fluent in your language.

2. Emotion

If you’re too worked up about what you’re trying to communicate, it can be difficult to get your message across. Likewise, fear or uncertainty on your part can instil doubt in those you are communicating to.

3. Interpersonal

Being unable to establish a connection and rapport with others can inhibit your ability to communicate.

4. Cultural

This can even relate to a different workplace culture. Different cultural perspectives and backgrounds may lead to misinterpretation in communication.

How Can You Overcome Barriers?

We recommend 3 strategies for overcoming barriers to communication in your workplace:

  1. Become aware of barriers, and the kind you face regularly.

  2. Develop skills to strengthen your communication and overcome barriers.

  3. Use the pointers below as your “Communication Barrier Solution Checklist”.

Your Communication Barrier Solution Checklist

Use this Checklist, Communicate Your Message, and Achieve Your Goal

1. Get Clear: What is Your Message?

Always start here. Before you speak, take a moment to consider what it is that you really want to communicate. Let this be your anchor as you communicate.

2. Know Your Audience

This is a perfect place to consider cultural and situational differences. Who are you speaking to? What is their experience of the subject you’re talking about?

3. Keep it Simple

This circles back to having an anchor. Avoid an information dump where your intended message gets confused by or lost in a lot of noise.

4. Choose Your Method Wisely

Many sensitive subjects are more easily addressed with face-to-face conversations. Some issues can be resolved faster via email. Consider the situation before you choose your mode of communication.

5. Select Respectful Wording

Once you do, ensure that how you speak or write is both appropriate and respectful.

6. While we’re on it, Select Clear Wording

Once again, circle back to your anchor. Are you explaining this in the most easy-to-absorb wording?

7. Edit, Edit, Edit…

This applies to written and verbal communication, although admittedly it’s easier to do with written communication. Think about what you say before you say it and ask yourself if there’s a better way to explain things, or respond to a comment.

8. Pause for Feedback

Don’t assume anything – just because something is clear to you, it does not mean it will be for everyone. Leave room and an opportunity for questions.

9. Actually Listen to the Feedback!

Yes, active listening comes up time and time again as a key communication skill. So often we almost switch off when others speak. Stay engaged, listen attentively and ask questions. Repeat what others say to determine you have understood correctly.

10. Switch on your Receptiveness

You may find that a better solution or insight comes from the feedback you hear. Leave room to stray from your own agenda and be receptive to new ideas and perspectives.

11. Diffuse Your Emotional Charge

If things get heated, or you meet with criticism or objections, resist a knee-jerk emotional reaction. You’ll achieve more by remaining calm, listening attentively to the objections, and working to resolve these obstacles.

12. Be Confident

Understand what you are talking about, and then trust your own ability to stand behind what you say.

13. Take time to learn from Barriers

Even communication whiz-kids come up against barriers from time to time. When this happens, consider the barrier as an opportunity to get even better. Think about how and why it cropped up, and how you can avoid this in the future.
Start Overcoming Barriers to Communication Now

Start Overcoming Barriers Now

Are you ready to improve your communication skills so that you can tackle barriers as they arise, and in time, avoid them altogether?

We have 2 options for developing strong communication skills:

Option 1: Public Courses for Indviduals

QQI Managing People (3 Days)

This QQI Managing People course is available for anyone to attend. We offer dates in Dublin all year-round.

This is an intensive management course, with 1 module dedicated exclusively to building excellent communication skills. Content includes:

  • The Communication Process
  • Communicating with Clarity
  • Communicating Effectively with Upper Management

Option 2: In-Company Training for Teams

Communication Skills (2 Days)

Designed to be customised for each team we deliver to, our Communication Skills workshop is the perfect way to develop your team's ability to communicate more effectively. Workshop content includes:

  • Mastering Core Communication Skills
  • Building Rapport
  • Handling Difficult Situations
A short video about our QQI People Management Course
QQI Managing People Course

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