Communication is an integral part of our life and plays an important role in daily living. We communicate with our family members, colleagues, friends, strangers, etc. to get things done, to express our love, to ask for something, to understand others, to get new ideas, to appreciate, to learn etc. We are living in the age of communication, and people who communicate effectively are the ones who succeed better in life.
Communication helps us interact with the world, and it is a mechanism through which we give and receive information from the world around us. It has various forms like speaking, listening, reading, writing, body language, facial expressions, texting, etc.
No matter which form of communication we are engaged in, effective communication is important. It is one of the important factors that determine a person’s success in life. Ineffective communication leads to misunderstandings in relationships, hurt feelings, wastage of time, loss of opportunities, etc. People experience failures in interviews or lose opportunities not because of lack of talent but because of ineffective communication.
Effective communication is a must for getting that dream job or a peaceful marital life or mastering the art of parenting. But not all of us are good at communicating effectively. So, what stops many of us from communicating effectively? Here are those 11 barriers.
11 common barriers to effective communication:
1. Missing eye contact – Establishing proper eye contact is important for effective communication, and when this is missing, communication is ineffective. It reduces the interest of the listener, and it shows that either speaker is not comfortable with the listener or not interested in talking. Missing eye contact can be interpreted by the listener in various ways like lack of respect, lack of trust, lack of confidence, shyness, rudeness, etc.
2. Using difficult words – It looks fancy and great to use high-sounding words, but when they are difficult to understand by a common man, they lose the charm. No one has time in the world to check the dictionary to understand the meaning of such words. So, using difficult words and jargon reduces the effectiveness of communication and leads to a loss of interest in the readers or listeners.
3. Lack of Trust – When the speaker does not have trust in the listener or listener does not have trust in the speaker, communication cannot happen openly without any barriers. Such kind of communication, lacking in the trust factor, becomes ineffective and superficial. It lacks the depth and cannot create a meaningful impact.
4. Poor listening skills – Listening is very important for effective communication. Many of us are eager to speak and lack the patience to listen to the other person. We interrupt the other person and don’t allow them to complete their sentence. This is an ineffective way of communication. The speaker’s ability to share the information depends on the listening skills of the listener. If the listener does not have the patience or interest to listen, it leads to a loss of interest in the speaker and results in poor communication.
5. Too much of talking – In communication, talking is important, but when it becomes one-sided and excessive, it fails to hold the attention of the listener. Many times, people unknowingly enter into this zone of too much talking. Such conversations become boring, and people start avoiding such speakers. So, it is very important to be mindful while speaking.
6. Lack of interest – When the speaker does not have a genuine interest in the subject he or she is talking about, the communication becomes lifeless and cannot engage the listener. Though the speaker uses the right words or great language, it still cannot engage because of this factor. It’s the same with the listener too. When the listener does not have an interest in what the speaker is talking about, no matter how great the information is, it cannot be absorbed by the listener. Lack of interest on the listener’s end discourages the speaker from speaking effectively.
7. Poor attention – When there is a lack of attention to the speaker, communication loses focus and becomes scattered. Nothing goes into the listener, and there is little gain out of such a conversation. The speaker, too, loses interest in talking. Modern distractions like gadgets, internet, and obsession with social media are some of the reasons for poor attention to the speaker.
8. Lack of clarity – When the speaker is not clear about what he or she is talking about, it confuses the listener/reader and causes loss of interest. Clarity is an essential ingredient of effective communication.
9. Lack of knowledge – When the speaker does not have a good amount of knowledge in the subject he is talking about, it becomes shallow communication and cannot create an impact on the listener.
10. Preconceived notions – Sometimes, in communication, the speaker or listener carries certain preconceived notions about the other person and assumes things even without fully listening or understanding the complete picture. They carry past experiences with the other person and don’t give a chance for the present moment to unfold. Such notions distort the truth and make communication partial or biased. This is commonly seen in communication that happens in close relationships. When we spend a couple of years with a person, we assume we know the person and don’t fully listen to the person or let the other person speak out fully. But one thing we should remember is every person is changing every day, and there is always something new in life. There is always a scope for change, and the person with whom we are engaged in communication deserves a fresh chance.
11. Lack of control over one’s emotions – When our emotions are not under our control, we miss the balance in our communication. Emotions like fear, anger, hatred, etc. stop us from expressing ourselves accurately. Fear is one of the main reasons why people fail in interviews in spite of knowing all the answers.
These are some of the barriers to effective communication.
It’s common to have such barriers. When we are mindful of these barriers in our communication and work on them, we can reduce them in our daily communication. When these barriers are minimized or removed, our communication starts becoming effective and creates a great impact. An effective communication can transform lives, create positive impact around, and can make a person a great leader.
“Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.” – Theo Gold