It was Rajeev’s big day. He had to make a presentation on a project he had worked hard on in front of corporate bigwigs. Everything was going fine, until the moment Rajeev went blank.
He suddenly lost his train of thought and stood there trying to remember the next point. Thankfully, his favorite quote came to his rescue.
“F.A.I.L. means First Attempt In Learning. E.N.D. means Effort Never Dies. N.O. means Next Opportunity. So let’s be positive.”
He remembered the link between the two points he was making and continued with his presentation.
What Rajeev faced that day is something called a ‘communication barrier’, which hinders the communication flow between two or more people or groups.
A communication barrier can occur at any stage and make the process of relaying key information less effective, which can jeopardize your success.
Let’s understand the different barriers to effective communication.
Language is needed for any kind of communication. And communication becomes tough if people don’t understand each other’s language. This is known as a language barrier to communication.
But a difference in language isn’t the only kind of communication barrier. The use of jargon and technical language also creates barriers to communication.
You may have heard lawyers discussing a case or doctors talking among themselves about a patient, but not necessarily understood the conversation. Not everyone can understand legal and medical jargon. However, lawyers and doctors regularly interact with their clients who are not from the same profession and are able to convey their points to them by explaining the case, legal or medical, in simple language.
Excessive use of jargon, ambiguous words, or technical terminology is another kind of language barrier. You can overcome these by keeping communication clear and appropriate for the target audience. If you practice doing this, you will be able to make an impact at your workplace.
Sometimes people have a habit of starting an argument when someone counters their opinion. As a result, people tend to avoid them and this affects their personal as well as professional relationships.
Psychological barriers such as anger, fear, jealousy, insecurity, shyness, and close-mindedness can always damage communication, and in turn, relationships.
If you know how to connect with your listener, you can avoid the complicated situations that arise due to these barriers.
The global market has opened up lots of opportunities for business. However, due to cultural barriers, people or companies often miss out on these opportunities.
Language differences can lead to misinterpretations, the activity of labeling people can create stereotypes, and behavioral patterns can form mental blocks. Also, different cultures in different places can turn into strong communication barriers.
So, how would you handle such cultural barriers? Conscious nurturing of cross-cultural sensitivity is the answer.
We all know how celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking, who wrote the genre-defining book A Brief History of Time, overcame his challenging physical disabilities and excelled in his career.
“Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. I have traveled the world, from the Antarctic to zero gravity,” he was quoted as saying.
His words are inspiring. Physical barriers such as hearing impairment, defects in vision, speech problems, or learning disabilities such as dyslexia affect communication, but they can be overcome with proper training and practice.
Discrimination on the basis of gender, race, or religion also hampers communication. Prejudice, suspicion, and emotional aggressiveness often affect communication. They arise because of the refusal to change or a lack of motivation. Effective listening, feedback, problem-solving, and being open to change can help you eliminate attitudinal barriers in communication.
Organizational hierarchy can be a problematic communication barrier. Even a family may have a power hierarchy, leading to a lack of transparency or a communication barrier. The solution to this is to establish a clear dialogue with the right people.
Here’s an example. Rajan was used to working in a small and tightly-knit start-up. When a lucrative job in a multinational company was offered to him, he jumped at it. Two months later, frustrated, he was on the verge of resigning.
Rajan was unable to grasp the organizational hierarchy and the proper process to go through for specific tasks. His immediate boss was wise enough to solve his problem and retain him.
Here are some of the ways to remove communication barriers:
Choose appropriate words and communication channels
Be an active listener, let the other person feel you are involved in the conversation
Minimize distractions such as noise
Analyze feedback and implement the required change
Be compassionate, unbiased, and inclusive
Focus on forming constructive and long-lasting bonds
Removing communication barriers is a gradual but essential process. This skill is the need of the hour in today’s highly competitive world. Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course is your gateway to effective communication. It acquaints you with the communication tools of Purpose, Audience, and Message through The PAM Framework. Taking the course will help you enhance your communication skills and scale new heights in your life and career.
Explore blogs on topics such as the importance of communication, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, types of communication, and the difference between verbal and nonverbal communication in our Harappa Diaries section to make your world of work better.