Barriers to Workplace Communication
business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com Every workplace is dependent on effective communication. Communication is the fabric of a company that helps employees succeed at their job, relate to the public and conduct business with customers and other businesses. Barriers exist in the workplace that can distract, distort or restrict communication. Identifying workplace communication barriers is the first step in overcoming them and improving organizational communication. Physical Barriers
1. Management may use physical barriers to intentionally limit communication. A common example is the placement of the CEO’s office. Typically her office is located on the top floor and a key is required in the elevator to gain access. A closed office door, dividing walls or separate rooms that departments operate from all hamper communication. Emotional Barriers
2. If a person is afraid of losing his job or that a superior is going to find out that he compromised his work, he will take pains to limit his communications. Jealousy and envy crop up when workers are at odds with one another. If an employee is promoted and others are unhappy with the promotion, this creates emotional barriers that will prevent effective communication. Perceptual Barriers
3. Everyone sees and understands the world differently. A task may be given to a team of employees and each employee may pursue the objective very differently. A team leader may ask a team member to remember to turn in his work before 5. The team member may perceive that the leader doesn’t trust him or doesn’t think he is a good worker. A different worker in that situation might perceive that the leader is looking out for her best interest. Cultural Barriers
4. A person’s upbringing, culture and belief system can all play into complex barriers in the workplace. For example, a person from a South American country may feel comfortable talking in close proximity, while a North American may feel uncomfortable. Learning to keep comfortable social distances and observe other cultural preferences will help overcome cultural barriers Types of Barriers in Communication
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When communication barriers are present, it is difficult for the receiver of information to understand the message the sender is trying to convey. Critical parts of the message get lost. By familiarizing yourself with the biggest barriers in communication, you can work toward overcoming them -- and becoming a far more effective communicator. Physical Barriers
1. This barrier is particularly important when speaking to a group or audience. If the audience perceives you as distant from them, looking down on them, or simply not reachable, then they will not be as receptive to the message you are trying to share. For example, if you are standing on a stage and never venture out into the audience, the distance itself can send a message contrary to the one you intend. Lack of Common Experience
2. If you are using technical terms or other language your audience does not understand, you will miss the mark. Even an audience that should be sympathetic to you could end up providing negative feedback because you chose to speak only to your own level of knowledge or experience rather than considering theirs. Language Barriers
3. Buzzwords, jargon and slang are very specialized. Using them will always prevent some portion of the potential audience from understanding your message. That includes people who might benefit from your message, if it were presented in a way they understood. Gender Barrier
4. It has been demonstrated in studies that women communicate more on a regular basis than men do. Though both sexes have both kinds of communicators, women are more likely to be right-brain communicators -- abstract and intuitive. Men are more...
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