Overcoming Barriers for Effective Communication

Overcoming Barriers For Effective Communication

Effective Communication Improves Social Skills

Overcoming barriers for effective communication can really improve your social skills. We all need to have effective social communication skills to provide others with a clear understanding during our daily oral and written interactions.

Have you ever tried to read something or listen to someone without understanding what they were telling you? Did you not immediately lose interest? How about feeling that you were wasting your time and wanted to leave asap?

Well, don’t feel too bad because you are not alone in such experiences! There are more individuals feeling the same way than they want to admit. The issue of how to communicate properly with others has been around for thousands of years.

What Keeps Your Interest?

I, for one, don’t mind telling you something. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t experience such an incident. Let me ask you a question to illustrate an important point. Do you feel confused or lose interest when you read an article in a newspaper? Or perhaps listen to your favorite news broadcast? Chances are that your answer would be NO!

Are you curious as to why there is such simple understanding in what you read in the newspaper or listen to on  the news channel? The simple answer is that the information you are receiving is by trained professionals skilled in the art of communication.

Does this mean that we all have to be a trained journalist to effectively communicate and inform others? Not at all! You can access an abundance of free information online and on this topic. There are also many  good books that help you to learn on your own.

Some say that effective communication is considered to be a science. In other words, this is not a simple subject and demands much time and effort to become truly competent in it.  

Good news! We are cutting through the chase to help you! We are condensing the very basic essentials plus the vital steps of effective communication to share with you below.

The Importance Of Effective Communication Is A Long Time Concern

We mentioned earlier that the important topic of how to communicate effectively with others has been around for thousands of years. Well, in our research we found out that the pursuit of gaining proficiency in effective communication has been  ongoing for over 5000 years!

The discovery of a composition that was written about 3000 BC, is considered the oldest of its kind. This inscribed essay on a piece of parchment consisted of guidance on how to speak effectively. It was written for the benefit of the oldest son of Pharaoh Huni, named Kagemni.

There was also, a book on written effective communication that was written about 2675 BC. This book, known as the Precepts, was written by Ptah-Hotep in Egypt.

Indeed, the effort to gain the important skills for the know-how in effective communication dates back many thousands of years.

Basic Elements Of Effective Communication

Who What Where When Why and HowEarlier we mentioned the ease and the clarity a newspaper or news channel has when it gives you the information. The open journalism secret is to focus on 6 cardinal requirements. These requirements  give you the important information you need to easily understand a story or message right at the start:

Who?Who was  involved in the story or incident?

What?What happened?

Where?Where did it happen?

When?When did it happen?

Why?Why did it happen?

How?How did it happen?

Effective Communication Steps To Consider

To bring about the required simple and clear information to a reader or listener, we have to follow certain vital steps. Otherwise, our audience will be confused and not at all understand what we are talking about.

There are many people who pay thousands of dollars to be professionally trained in the art of effective communication. Perhaps you might be on a budget like most of us are, and unable to have such a training. Then, how do you improve your communication skills? Don’t worry! You can simply learn and practice the basics we have outlined for you for free here. Hopefully, you will soon become a pretty good communicator.

It is essential to give your audience the important bits of information they want and must hear right away. This will allow them to keep their attention focused on you to see what else you have to say. Obviously, if they are not interested in the initial important basic essentials you have given them, they are not going to stick around anyway.

Therefore, what you have to say has to be simple, concise, and precise. It also has to be worthwhile and of interest to your audience.

Examples Using The 6 Basic Elements Of Effective Communication

For example, below is an effective short message which contains the 6 basic essentials below:

  • A man was killed yesterday on Interstate 270 near Cityville after losing control at the wheel due to a heart attack.

As you may have noticed, it has all the six basic essentials to communicate a simple and clear message to the reader or listener…

A man = Who

Was killed What

On Interstate 270 near  Cityville Where

Yesterday When

A heart attack Why

Losing control at the wheel Why

You have now given your audience the basic essentials and have their attention and interest. Next, you should give them some of the important details about those basic essentials.

Below is an example of how it can be done:

  • A man, named Joe Smith, age 57 of Happyville, CA, was killed yesterday, at 8:30 am, during rush hour traffic on busy Interstate 270, about 7 miles from Cityville, CA. The driver had become unconscious and lost control of his car due to a sudden heart attack. The car hit the median at high speed and the driver was killed on impact as a result of serious trauma to the head.

Finally, if your audience wants to continue on, you can give them some general information and background details.

Here A Good Example That Takes It Further

How general information and background details can be communicated effectively:

  • Joe Smith leaves behind a wife and four adult children. He was an architect and had driven the 22 miles to Cityville, where he worked, from his Happyville home for the last 16 years. He had had a chronic bad heart and was scheduled to have a pacemaker put in next month.
  • Fortunately, there were no other injuries at the time of the accident and the police had managed to control the scene within minutes of the crash. It took about 30 minutes to get Smith’s body out of the badly mangled wreckage with the help of jaws of life. The medical personnel on the scene had determined that the driver did not die of his heart attack but rather because of a fatal injury to his head at the time of the crash.
  • The rush hour traffic on Interstate 270 was backed up for miles on both directions because of the cleanup operation and curious drivers passing by. It took about 3 hours before traffic was back to normal again on the Interstate.

If your audience has managed to hold their interest and read the information and background details part, you have done great! Because you have effectively communicated your message to them. Do you see how important it is to seek, hold onto, and satisfy your audience’s interest?

Telltale Signs Of Ineffective Communication

There are many parts that make up the process of effective communication. In our opinion, two important ones are significance and interest. Of course, we mean this from the viewpoint of the reader or the listener.

We can think the world of what we have to say. But unless your audience likes your message, you are wasting everyone’s time and your breath! Your audience will be long gone!

Jay says: “Just the other week I ran into someone I had not seen for a long time. I was happy to see him and asked him how he and his family were. However, I seemed to have asked the wrong question!

Why? Well, because he talked and talked for the longest time telling me in great detail about his house, his job, his wife, his children, his dogs, his cat, his garden his car, and so many other things! I just stood there for over 10 minutes listening to him and waiting to get a word in.

I wanted to tell him that I was in a hurry and had to be at a doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately, he just would not stop talking! By now, I was feeling really tired and anxious from listening to him go on and on. I was moving my body nervously and looking away from him without thinking about it. This was a sure sign of my body language telling him that I was not interested in what he was saying…. And, that I needed to get away.

Finally, I gently squeezed his upper left arm and told him firmly that I have to leave now! He stopped talking and just stood there looking surprised as if to say ‘I haven’t finished yet!’ I quickly walked away to make my doctor’s appointment.”

What Is Rude Communication?

The incident I described above can be defined as a perfect example of “what is rude communication?”  If he had thought to ask if I had a few minutes to talk, it would have been appreciated since I was genuinely glad to see him at first. However, he put me in a very awkward predicament as I was in a hurry and did not have much time. How would you feel if someone treated you like that?

I am sure that you don’t do that to other people? Admittedly, though, that type of behavior could cause a person to avoid you next time, instead of being glad to see you!

Common Barriers To Effective Communication

There are many barriers to an effective communication. A few widely used examples include:

  • When you choose to use jargon or technical terms in communication with others.
  • Not displaying consideration, attention, or interest to your audience.
  • Allowing distractions, or being irrelevant to the point you are trying to convey  to your audience.
  • Being unaware of your audience’s differences in perception and viewpoint.
  • Not paying attention to physical disabilities (such as hearing problems or speech difficulties) of your audience.
  • Avoiding looking your listener in the eyes when talking to them.
  • Not giving your listener a chance to get in a word.
  • Lastly, effective communication MUST NOT BE just a one-way street.

The Solution

Communication in a social setting MUST BE a two-way street with each party listening and contributing to the conversation. Monopolizing a conversation is rude and shows that one doesn’t care about the other person.

Such behavior clearly demonstrates a lack of respect and concern for what the other person thinks and feels. Hoarding a conversation only means that one only seeks a sounding board at the expense of his/her audience.

Effective communication can only be accomplished if it is simple, concise, and precise. It should be carried out with consideration for other people. If  they do not appear interested in what you have to say, don’t just keep talking.

 When stating important points, ask the listener to repeat back to you their understanding of what you’ve said to them. This is generally a common practice in business settings. In our everyday social environment, however, we usually make the big mistake of assuming that we are understood correctly. Perception is everything. If your point is important… Clarify, clarify and clarify.

Overcoming Barriers For Effective Communication – Bottom Line

Well, there you have it! As promised we have given you what we think are the basic steps of overcoming barriers for effective communication. You can practice using them properly to establish a pleasant two-way interaction between you and your listener or audience.

It is equally important to capture the attention of your audience by giving them what they can understand and benefit from. You should also pay attention to their body language as you are giving them your message. They may be anxious and be moving their head, hands, feet, or body around… This is called “Body Language” that is indicating a lack of interest in your message. It could also mean that you are making your message much too long and exhausting your audience’s patience.

It is our sincere wish for you to succeed in your journey to become a great communicator soon…  To help you explore further the many aspects of effective communication, here are a few of many books available. We hope you have a good day.

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