As much as we’d like to be able to communicate easily and effectively with everyone, there are many barriers to communication that make this a real challenge. At work, barriers to communication are obstacles that prevent you from exchanging thoughts and ideas in an effective manner. These obstacles can relate to many workplace factors, which means they should be identified before being dealt with. Today, we’re going to provide you with a guide to 4 of the most common barriers to communication that you can stumble upon at work, so that you can be aware of them and learn how to overcome them.
4 Workplace Barriers to Communication
One of the first barriers to communication that you should be aware of are emotions. Emotions can interfere with effective communication in more than one way. First of all, people can become overemotional and allow their decisions to be dictated by their emotions instead of their reason. Objectivity is really important when communicating with someone at the workplace, and emotions tend to cloud it. Second of all, at the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people who simply can’t express any emotion, which is also not desirable. They might find certain things impossible to talk about, and this could get in the way of effective communication.
When we say that language can be a barrier to communication, we don’t mean the situation in which two people don’t speak the same language. Even if they do, there can be other kinds of obstacles impeding effective communication. One such example would be a conversation between two people from different generations. Apart from them having different understandings of certain concepts, they can also use jargon that the other doesn’t understand. Or they can claim superiority and become impatient when faced with the task of explaining something to the other person.
Making assumptions about people goes hand in hand with the language barrier. Sometimes, people tend to form certain opinions about others even before they’ve actually interacted with them. While this can be the case no matter the age gap, it’s something that is more prevalent when it comes to people from different generations. Assuming you know what the other person is thinking or what they’re going to say can severely damage the success of a conversation. It’s important to always keep an open mind when talking to someone for the first time.
Whenever you have a conversation with someone, try to avoid being ambiguous. While a saying can be catchy if used right, using too many things that can be interpreted in different ways might bring the conversation to a grinding halt. Similarly, using generalizations or only saying half of what you wanted to say can lead to misinterpretation. Which is why we advise you to always be clear about what you want. Moreover, make sure your interlocutor has understood everything you said.
These are only a couple of communication barriers in the workplace, but they’re definitely some of the most common ones. Look out for them the next time you have a conversation with someone!
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