Effective communication among individuals and the team is pertinent at the workplace. Efficient communication translates into efficient working. Communication is one of the major pillars that help a company get things done quickly. Thus, the need for an effective communication system is vital. Global projects, with members all over the world need a robust communication structure. With advancement in technology, communication has become a lot easier. But like any technological invention, it does have its challenges.
Communication barriers develop when there is no effective system in place. Some of the most common communication barriers are encountering people speaking different languages, difficulty in following technical jargons and language, and even an uninterested boss. All these barriers to communication can lead to challenging situations and ultimately hinder the project’s performance. Every project has communication barriers. But their ability to overcome such barriers and become successful is what makes them stand out. There are several ways through which organizations can deal with these barriers:
Using simple language: Speaking in simple language is key. Even while explaining a technical problem to a person who is not technically sound, using simple language can ensure that information is conveyed efficiently. Usually people use large and incomprehensible words to portray themselves as superior in language. But this in no way will help the listener as he/she will just be facing the same issue as before, if not worse. Using technical jargon to explain a particular problem is not always necessary. Incorporating simple words to convey a technical message will help in universal understanding of the message rather than creating problems.
Using visual modes of communication: When words fail to convey your message, the usage of visual cues and presentations can be helpful. Portraying certain actions that point towards the subject of your message or simply writing or drawing it for the person can also help. The ultimate goal is to make the listener understand and interpret your message, however you convey it. Using creative ways to relay such messages to people who find it hard to understand your language can be of help.
Listening carefully: From the listener’s point of view, it is important to do your job properly. There is a massive difference between “listening” and “hearing”. It is important to listen attentively and make sure you understand what the other person is saying. If you don’t understand something, do clarify and find out what exactly the speaker wants from you. It is generally felt that a person in superior position doesn’t really pay attention to her/his subordinates. This notion is false, but not so everywhere. There are people who fail to listen to others just because they are in a higher position and making sure this doesn’t happen can address all problems.
Avoiding information overload: Apart from making sure information is conveyed properly, it is also important to regulate the amount of information. Usually people resort to relaying large amounts of information just to prevent the process from being repeated. But this can result in loss of information. It is important, especially when there is a lot of technical information, that it is relayed in parts, so that the listeners can understand and interpret it easily. A lot of information can confuse the listener and can result in inaccurate interpretations. Thus, avoiding information overload is important.
Effective translation service: In multinational companies, with employees from all over the world, the number of different languages spoken will be high. Thus, employing an effective translation service is important. There are various translation services on the internet, but none are comparable to a real person. A person who knows the language of the speaker, the listener or even both, can help them relay information a lot easier. Resorting to an online translation service can only be helpful to an extent since it rarely identifies different dialects within a particular language. That is why having another person facilitate communication between you and the listener can help promote effective communication.
Being respectful: As a speaker or listener, it is important to respect each other. Speaking to someone in a respectful manner will garner their attention. If you treat someone with respect, that person will be more interested in what you say. This will help in effective communication. On the contrary, if you are disrespectful, the speaker will not only be disinterested in what you say and the information conveyed will be lost. Similarly, as a listener, it is important to be attentive towards what is being said. Listening to the speaker, without interrupting her/him, will boost efficient communication.
Giving constructive feedback: As a listener, it is important to give constructive feedback to the speaker. Giving feedback doesn’t mean you say negative things about what was said but put forth your opinions without hurting the speaker. Even if there is negative feedback, say it in a way that doesn’t harm the speaker’s relationship with you. However, always give feedback. Constructive feedback can help foster effective communication between superiors and subordinates.
These are some ways to overcome communication barriers. There are so many more, but these are the most common methods. It is never enough to reiterate the importance of effective communication. Efficient communication helps a company grow and become successful. It helps boost the morale of the employees and improve their productivity. We at Progile Tech understand the importance of communication in the workplace. With our PMO Consultants, working hand-in-hand with our IT Project Management Consulting team, aim to break all barriers that hamper communication. Ineffective communication is prevalent across organizations and with our experts, we look to break them one-by-one and ultimately improve the communication structure.