Communication Barriers: Simplifying the Communication Process

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The communication process can be much more difficult than a person thinks. Unfortunately, many times a presenter does not realize that their message is being lost until it is too late and they have gone through an entire meeting/lecture talking away about something that their colleagues/audience thinks is absolutely meaningless. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before attempting to relay a message to a large audience.

Communication barriers may be categorized as follows: Assumptions about yourself — Do I really have something to offer? Is it safe for me to offer suggestions? Do I really want to share the information? Will others really understand? How will the communication affect my self-esteem? Attitudes about the message itself — Is the information valuable? Do I see the information correctly or understand it well enough to describe it to others? Is it organized? Am I comfortable with what I am saying? Can I maintain eye contact? Sensing the receiver’s reaction — Do I become aware of whether or not the receiver is actually understanding? Or, in other words, can I “sense” from certain cues or reactions by the receiver, whether or not we are communicating? Am I aware of the receiver’s needs? interests?

Communication can easily be simplified. All you have to do is know the major causes of communication failures and detect them as they occur. Typically, people involved in communication breakdowns are either (a) utterly unaware that the communication has failed and that misunderstanding has resulted; or (b) painfully aware of a communication blockage — or complete breakdown — and frustrated by not knowing the reasons why. In either case, people are powerless to handle or remedy the problem. Remember, the expert communicator not only learns to detect communication barriers but also to anticipate them and use an appropriate remedy to overcome them.