If one is asked about one distinction that sets humans apart from all other living beings such as animals, birds, and trees then it will surely be the ability to communicate. In the current era, the means of communication have increased tremendously. We have developed communication types such as body language, written communication through social media, emails, and chats as well as voice communication through in-person, telephonic and digital interactions. Humans need to communicate for expressing emotions, thoughts, sharing knowledge, giving or seeking instructions, social and professional engagements, brand communications, and so on.
Despite such advancement in channels of communication and the need for it, we still struggle with the process of communication. According to a survey by SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management), 400 companies with 100,000 or more employees each reported losing millions of $62.4 million dollars annually on an average due to poor communication. That’s over $24 billion of losses and we are not even capable of counting the exact losses all global businesses put together might lose due to the barriers of communication.
Thus, it is very important to identify and eliminate these barriers to communication. Let’s take a look at them.
Apart from physical and technical barriers, we also encounter six common barriers of communication, overcoming which can turn us all into proficient communicators irrespective of whether it is casual or formal communication that we aim to improve. These are:
Lack of job satisfaction:
Being unhappy or losing interest in the job you do is likely to make you less communicative. You won’t be keen on maintaining the communication channels. This is a major mental barrier and might lead to a scenario where the person leaves the job or the company takes some initiative to add value and improve engagement for the disenchanted employees.
Not listening to others:
One of the core elements of the process of communication is the art of active listening. If you don’t listen to others then you won’t be able to have a meaningful conversation with them because you will assume what they said and that is likely to snowball into misunderstandings.
Lack of trust:
Lack of trust is one of the most challenging barriers of communication between the management and staff. The employees feel that they are being kept in the dark about their future prospects and the management doubts the integrity of the staff. Thus, there is a strong barrier preventing transparent and genuine communication.
Different styles of communication:
Everyone prefers different communication approaches. One person might be blunt and direct whereas others prefer being subtle and indirect. The difference in approach between these two types is likely to make each one feel unhappy about the communication.
An unhealthy workplace atmosphere is one of the prominent barriers to quality communication. The conflicts don’t get resolved as people are less likely to be collaborative, supportive, or even empathetic towards each other.
Differences of culture and language:
In a linguistically and culturally diverse organization such as a multinational company, there are bound to be people with different sensibilities, behavioural styles and languages. What’s normal way of greeting to one might appear as an insult or slang to the other. Similarly, not knowing the language your co-worker speaks could also lead to a break down of communication between you and your co-worker/s.
The process of communication is an essential as well as important part of all business operations. Identifying and overcome the above barriers to communication is essential for all to achieve success, cordiality and to generate trust.