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.
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Covered in this Article
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
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.
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.
Being unable to establish a connection and rapport with others can inhibit your ability to communicate.
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:
Become aware of barriers, and the kind you face regularly.
Develop skills to strengthen your communication and overcome barriers.
Use the pointers below as your “Communication Barrier Solution Checklist”.
Your Communication Barrier Solution Checklist
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.
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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
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
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