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5 Ways to Avoid Communication Barriers in any Environment

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5 Ways to Avoid Communication Barriers in any Environment
A post from our Communication blog

      Written by Ronnie Peterson
Miscommunication can cause a host of issues in any environment, be that at home, work, a club or elsewhere.

There are so many different styles of communication out there that they often clash with each other. There could be cultural, psychological, or personal barriers. Or it could simply be the case that strong communication skills are not something that come naturally to many people.

It can sometimes feel like some communication barriers are too difficult to get past, leading to a number of problems and slowing down progress and efficiency.

I'm here to tell you that there are many possible solutions that can help you avoid, and even overcome, many of these issues.

In this article, I'll go through some of the most common communication barriers that people face, as well as 5 ways that you can try to avoid them and potentially overcome them.

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What kind of communication barriers can you come across in any environment?

I've pulled together a list of some of the most common communication barriers that you're most likely to witness in any environment, though there are a host of others you may witness.

When people listen just to respond, they don't understand the point others are trying to make.

Sometimes people can be too focussed on their own personal agenda during a discussion. You could spend too much time formulating your own response while others are speaking, without actually listening to them.

This means that you're unlikely to understand the point that others are trying to make, as you're too focussed on the thoughts in your head.

It is possible to try and cram too much information into one statement, when trying to get your point across.

When you have a lot of different things on your mind, you sometimes feel the need to just get it out there as soon as you get the chance to speak.

By doing this, you risk overloading those around you with too much information and potentially confusing them.

A lack of confidence or shyness can be the biggest barrier to effective communication.

If you're not a naturally confident or assertive person, you may find yourself struggling to become a strong communicator.

Any lack of self-worth causes you to question your own opinions. You may not then deliver them with as much conviction as you should. In fact, a lack of confidence can cause many people to completely retreat into their shell and not communicate at all.

Emotionally driven dialogue can lead to issues.

When having an exchange with someone, especially in the workplace, it can be extremely helpful to leave emotion out of it.

Feeling strongly about something is not a bad thing, but it can impact your communication style negatively if you don't keep a control of your emotions.

Communication through technology can cause misunderstandings

In this day and age, many of us are using email and messaging to communicate. It can be so easy to misconstrue someone's tone or point if you can't see them or hear them in person.

So those are some typical barriers. Now let s looks at how to work around them.

5 methods to avoid communication barriers in the future:

1.  Have clarity of thought before speaking out

Before you try and get your point across to others, you should be very clear yourself on what you are hoping to convey.

Arranging your thoughts before verbalising them can help you communicate much more clearly and succinctly.

You're much more likely to stay on point, and your listeners are much less likely to be left bored or confused.

It's a better idea to say something like, "I've got a few ideas here. Let me go through them one at a time. We can treat each one on its own merit."

Then, you can give the first one, discuss it, before giving the next one.

If you're unsure that your point has come across as you intended it to, you can also ask your listeners if the point you've made is clear. Whereas, if you've just given a whole lot of points at once, you're then going to get questions from all over the place.

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2. Learn to listen

As simple as it sounds, you'll be surprised how many people out there don't know how to listen well.

Not understanding those who you are trying to communicate with will lead to a conversation fraught with misunderstandings.

If you don't understand the point that someone is trying to make, don't be afraid to ask them to repeat it, or explain it further in a polite manner.

3. Take care of your body language and tone

Often, when people think of improving their communication skills, they focus a lot on verbal communication.

But non-verbal communication such as your tone of voice and body language, is equally important.

If you are unintentionally coming across as hostile or emotional through your body language or facial expressions, this can cause misunderstandings or cause others not to want to engage with you.

Keep your emotions in check, try to maintain eye contact, and adopt a relaxed tone when conversing with others.

4. Build up your confidence by asking for feedback and observing others

If a lack of confidence is leading to a communication breakdown, then you may need to consider using different tactics to improve your skills, to the point that you start to feel more confident.

Focus on improving your skills by practicing in front of those who you may feel more comfortable with.

You can also ask those whose advice you value to give you feedback and critique your communication style after a discussion. Just knowing that you are working on improving your communication skills and practicing will make you feel more confident over time.

5. Communicate face to face on the important issues

As tempting as it can be just send an email or shoot over a text message, try and avoid doing this for more important or personal things.

Having that face to face dialogue means you can convey your point more clearly, with your body language as well as your tone of voice.

It can also help to clear up any misunderstandings or distortion of the message that could occur through other mediums.

Besides, I really can't see your spouse wanting to cover which college your child goes to by text! Some things just need to be done face to face, if only to show how important they are, and how seriously you're taking it.

Hopefully, the above article will help you understand and avoid potential communication barriers in the future.

Remember, becoming a strong and effective communicator takes time and practice. Over time, using these strategies can lead to better communication in your personal relationships,  and more productive workplace environments as well.

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