Seven Barriers to Effective Communication
Why is it so difficult for people to use effective communication techniques? It seems to me that people must be studying how to be ineffective communicators! And within organizations, lack of communication is always in the top three of issues for the organization.
So what are the barriers to effective communication? Here is a list of seven factors that I find each week with clients or just plain old observation of different people situations…
Seven Barriers to Effective Communications
- Understanding Style – This is the number one issue or barrier for effective communication. This simple knowledge – which should be main stream in the public – is still treated like rocket science. Whenever I get the opportunity to teach behavior styles and how style impacts all communication, I get a steady stream of this is great, I wish I had known this before, can you see that “so and so” gets this information! Wow! Basic knowledge provides major communication skills – it works.
- Word Usage – Words do make a different in effective communication and particularly the barriers to effective communication. When people use the wrong words in their messages – written or spoken – another person may have issues with certain words and once spoken there is little reason to listen to the rest of the story.
- Listening – Passive or Non-Active listening is a major barrier to effective communication. When people are not actively listening to another person, then the energy of the conversation drops, misunderstandings multiply and little accuracy of the message is used. Listening is the secret to great communication. The more active listening is used, the more interactive the conversation becomes for both people.
- Eye Contact – This one is tough since some people do not want any eye contact for various reasons. Most of the time, the people who do not want any eye contact have self-esteem issues and don’t feel worthy to make eye contact. Others just do not understand the importance of good eye contact and the impact upon effective communication.
- Questions – Most people believe that effective communication is all about talking or telling their story to another person. This is really a barrier to effective communication because the effective part or true understanding of the message is missing for lack of interaction. Questions open up the mind of the person getting the question. It shows respect for the other person’s point of view. Remember, the act of allowing others time to talk allows them to feel you care about them more than yourself – surprise! Effectiveness is present immediately.
- Assumptions – This one is a major reason for misunderstandings and poor decisions made. Always test your assumptions including the definitions of common terms or “buzz” words. When you assume you know the meaning, you could be making a major mistake since the other person may have a different opinion as to the meaning of the word or term. Eliminate this barrier to effective communication by checking your understanding of words, terms and phrases with a simple “Help me understand…”.
- Brain Systems – Also known as representational systems – this is an advanced effective communication techique that uses knowledge of how the brain operates. Every person uses a preferred representational system in their thinking and communication process. There are three primary and two secondary systems that you need to know. The primary systems are visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Personally, I use two the most – visual and kinesthetic. This means I speak and think in terms of visual actions – I see – and touch or feel actions – I got it. The people who are the most difficult for me are the auditory types. It is not a natural state for me and I have to consciously work to break the barriers to effective communication with these people.
There you have the list of seven barriers to effective communication, you will need to understand and eliminate these barriers to have effective communication with anyone or everyone you meet. Start with the first barrier and improve your knowledge of behavioral style and you can improve 80% of your effectiveness. If you feel you need help on this call us at 901-757-4434 or go to our Effective Communication for Results website for more information on this topic.
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