Effective communication is critical to the success of any business. When you are able to get your point across, you will be in an optimal position maximize the opportunities that come your way. This is why it is important to have strategies for effective communication in place.
Effective communication skills allow you to deal with customers accordingly, from promoting your products and services to answering questions about them. The same skills also pave the way for you to negotiate and bargain with clients and other stakeholders and therefore reach your goals. Communicating effectively is also a must in dealing with your internal customers – your employees and staff. The better you communicate within the company, the higher the morale your people will have. When your people feel happy and engaged at work, they become more efficient and productive.
Barriers to Effective Communication
But let’s face it; effective communication can be difficult to achieve, due to many barriers. If you are on the receiving end of the message, you might miss the essence of the message due to the following listening and perception barriers:
1. Inattentiveness. Focusing on your own agenda can keep you from fully understanding what is being said. Inattentiveness also results from focusing on the negative aspects of the message or information.
2. Information overload. When there is too much information being conveyed, it can be very difficult to absorb the main point of the message.
3. Emotional noise. Sometimes you cannot help but be distracted by non-verbal cues, concepts and even the speaker’s appearance – all of these can take your attention away from the essence of the message. Likewise, physical noise can also cause distraction; other people, music playing or ringing phones can take your attention away from.
4. Assumptions and generalizations. Again, you cannot help but react emotionally to what is being said. You are human, after all. However, you must get rid of your preconceptions, as they can cloud your interpretation.
If you are the one sending the message, then you can also muddle up the communication process and cause misunderstanding due to the flowing barriers:
1. Unclear messages. When you use jargon, colloquialisms or overly formal language, you risk obscuring the message, making it more susceptible to misinterpretation.
2. Lack of confidence. If you are to function as an effective communicator, you must be assertive and confident, but not without being too aggressive or pushy.
3. Jumping to conclusions. Make sure to communicate just the facts; otherwise, your own biases and conclusions can turn into all sorts of misunderstanding, especially if you are sending the message to a big group.
Breaking Down the Barriers with Strategies for Effective Communication
If you are to communicate effectively, you must get through communication barriers. Here are some tips you can follow:
1. Focus on the speaker. Quiet down our biases and your internal commentary so you can really hear what is being said. You must also analyze your perceptions and change them if they are getting in the way. To do this, you must observe more, paying attention to additional information.
2. Watch out for non-verbal cues. These cues give more insight about the sender of the message and the information he is trying to convey. To gain a richer understanding of the message, you must pay attention to the speaker.
3. Listen. Seek to understand the essence of the message being communicated, rather than individual words or phrases that can cloud your understanding.
4. Be genuine. If you are on the giving end of the message, be authentic and open. Only then will you be able to properly communicate what you need to say.
5. Empathize and use affirming responses. Communication is a two-way process, so even if you are the message sender, you must know how to receive as well. Empathize with your audience and make sure to acknowledge other people’s inputs, even if you disagree.
Making communication effective for your organization can be a challenge, but it is not impossible. By following the above-mentioned strategies for effective communication, you can break through the barriers and achieve your communication goals.