There are many definitions to the word “barrier”, three to be exact per the Merriam-Webster dictionary. But, if I were to sum them up with one word, I would choose the word “obstacle”…something that impedes progress or achievement.
Communication has its own barriers or obstacles as well. These barriers may keep us from being productive or from attaining goals. We need to learn how to overcome these barriers to keep our workplace functioning at a high level of professionalism and reach goals that are set forth by the organization.
So what are some of these barriers and what can we do:
- Perception: Messages are sent and received through many of our own filters, such as biases, assumptions or goals. The best way to understand and “put ourselves in someone else’s shoes” is to listen intently and ask the right questions for clarity.
- Language: We often get caught using “slang” in our personal lives and it rolls over into our professional lives as well. In order for messages to be received and understood, they must be conveyed clearly and be grammatically correct.
- Culture: Being a part of a group and remaining in that group means accepting the behavior pattern that has been adopted. Being engaged in your organization’s culture opens up communication lines and shows a mutual interest in development and growth.
- Environment: Clear and concise communication can be hindered by noise and even temperature. Make sure your workspace is conducive for phone calls and meetings, otherwise, find a different spot, perhaps a conference room.
Breaking these communication barriers is not easy, but it is an essential part of great communication, building strong relationships and increasing our productivity in the workplace.
Do you have any tips about how to break down communication barriers that have worked for your practice? Share them with us in the comments below.