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How to recognize communication barriers and remove them.

Effective communication is crucial for successful relationships, both in and out of the office. When a party is able to communicate effectively, problems and misunderstandings are easily avoided. Ineffective communication can result in frustration, hurt feelings, lowered morale, and improper business tactics.

One way to make sure your business is operating as smooth as possible is to recognize communication problems and then remove them. If you don't feel like the flow of communication within your organization is operating smoothly, consider the following barriers and whether they may be having an impact on your own company:

The following are just a few factors that can impede human communication in the work place:

Barrier: Language
While it's obvious that language barriers can impede communication, even people who speak the same language can run into communication barriers. Verbal and non-verbal language are both equally important, and not understanding jargon-even when used within your own organization, say within another department-can cause misunderstandings.

How to remove it: Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification or to restate the issue or problem to make sure it is understood by everyone. This is also important in a group context. It's not a bad idea, especially when dealing with more technical or specialized professions or departments, to clarify anything that not everyone may understand.

Barrier: Emotions
Emotions can get strong, especially in a work situation where deadlines loom and a great deal of money, or even a job, is at stake. When people are stressed or not thinking clearly, they are more apt to listen selectively or not listen at all. They can also be distracted, so they may only hear bits and pieces of your message, and take it out of context.

How to remove it: Be aware. If at all possible, you should communicate when everyone is in a calm emotional state. Because this will rarely happen, however, it's important to be aware of any people or situations that are emotionally charged. Be aware of feelings as they arise and then try and control them. If you feel like the person or people on the receiving end were too emotional, try talking to them when the situation has calmed down.

Barrier: Not listening
Not listening is a huge communication barrier. Sadly, it's easy to do. You may be looking at someone and hearing words come out of their mouth, but you're thinking about other things or what you will say next. These are not good listening skills and can only hinder communication.

How to fix it: Practice. Practice good listening techniques by focusing on what the other person is saying when they are speaking to you. Look at them and listen to their words instead of formulating arguments or rebuttals in your head, and don't interrupt them when they are speaking; you will get your chance to speak eventually. In addition, remove distractions. Don't read notes or look around while someone is talking to you; give them the respect of your full attention. One tip that helps is to rephrase what they have said, or repeat it back to them.

Communication is essential to a productive work environment, but communication barriers can hamper the success and morale of everyone around. By recognizing communication barriers and then making an effort to remove them, you can improve the overall communication within your office.

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