How to Overcome Communication Barriers As A Manager

Introduction – Organization Behavior Skills

Communication is very essential in any organization. It highly enhances effective running of operations and other processes. It allows effective flow of information from the management to the workers in terms of instructions, notification, or warnings. In this regard, it is very important for any manager to ensure effective communication, which can highly be done by eliminating the communication barriers (Collins, 2001). There are different forms of communication barriers. The four main communication barriers include semantic barriers, physical barriers, personal barriers, and process barriers. This paper focuses on evaluating the four forms of communication barriers and identifying procedures, practices, tools or guidelines that a manager can employ to overcome these barriers.

Overcoming Communication Barriers

Communication barrier refers to anything which interferes with communication flow between the receiver and sender in communication. A manager should have the aptitude to recognize the communication barriers and establish a way of overcoming these barriers to ensure his or her roles is done ethically, legally, and effectively. The four main forms of communication barriers include semantic barriers, personal barriers, physical barriers, and process barriers. Personal barrier refers to personal prejudices or feelings that can affect communication. The feeling of anger, anxiety, lack of enough knowledge to the subject matter, poor listening ability, variation in the perception and psychological distance can highly affects how one interprets the message, or how one sends the message. To ensure effective communication, a manager needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter to be addressed. This can be enhanced by conducting enough research regarding the subject matter. The manager should also study the employees’ climate and state of mind, whether normal, happy, angry or disappointed. This will determine the tone of delivering the message to ensure that the manager is able to influence their reaction to the message positively. The manager should always speak clearly and slowly, and if the message is written the manager should always avoid jargon words. Simple language should always be used to ensure that the message is clearly understood as intended by the majorities. The manager is always required to be calm and composed while giving the message. He or she should not react while under any emotional state. In addition, he should ensure that the listener or the message receiver is also in a good state to receive the message without emotional influence (Golen, 1980).

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Physical barriers refer to external forces which create adversarial effect on the process of communication. They include geographical distances which delays immediate feedback, noise which interfere with the message creating distortion, and also incorrect medium choice, which lies on the message nature. Others include poor lighting blocking nonverbal gestures, poor words choice and grammar in an email. To overcome physical barrier, the manager should ensure that physical meetings are done in a quiet, well light place to ensure that the receivers are not distracted by the environment nor hindered from listening from seeing the speaker. The manager should also consider using a platform while addressing a big crowed to ensure that he or she is clearly visible. The main form of communication preferred for business communication where geographical distance is involved is emailing. This eliminates possible communication noise that can distort the message and interfere with its understanding. In this case, the manager should ensure that the message is clearly written using simple, grammatically correct language. In case a phone call must be made for immediate feedback, video conferencing should be the most appropriate form of communication since it will give the communicators a chance to read other nonverbal communication gestures. This means, the manager will be required to select the best form of communication to overcome the geographical distance distractions and to maximize the understanding of the message and the feedback from both ends. To ensure efficiency, the manager should consider using different forms of communication to deliver the same message to overcome physical barriers especially where geographical distance is involved (Redding, 1972).

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Semantic barrier can also be regarded as language barrier. It involves the employment of wrong words in a sentence, particularly based on the listeners’ understanding of the language used. This mostly happens if the speaker and the listener come from different professionals where certain words would mean different to them. It can also involve the employment of informal language which can change the original intended meaning or create a great misunderstanding. Semantic barrier can also be brought about by use of technical or jargon words with people of different education level of profession which can create a great confusion. To overcome sematic communication barriers, the manager should always understand the receiver ability to comprehend information. Simple, clear language should be used while addressing workers either via email, memo, or through verbal communication. The manager should always avoid jargon words that are not shared by all based on their professions. Normally, a manager is always involved in formal communication and thus, he or she should always ensure that the formal language is used all through. Abbreviations should be avoided to ensure clear understanding of the message. Also the manager should avoid the use of idioms and other phrases with hidden meanings to eliminate confusion or misinterpretation of the message. Vague language should also be avoided to enhance maximum understanding of the message without making any form of assumption. The manager should also avoid using symbols. Normally, an organization can have diverse population based on their culture, religion, and ways of life. In this regard, they may have different symbols with different meanings, or even similar symbols but with different meanings. In this regard, the manager should completely avoid using symbols since they can easily been misinterpreted by different people or create confusion regarding the actual intended meaning. In other words, symbols can be vague based on individuals (Collins, 2001).

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Communication is a process that involves sending of the message, message encoding, receiving of the message, message decoding, and sending of the message feedback. Process communication barrier normally takes place if there is a breakdown in the message sending or communication process. Poor message encoding or decoding, lack of message feedback or inability to successfully send the message to the receiver can highly interfere with the communication process. In this case, the manager should understand all his listeners and use the language they can understand. In case the organization is highly diversified, the manager should consider using different communication language to give the same message to ensure the message is easily decoded by all.

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For instance, if the organization has both English speakers and Spanish speakers who cannot understand English clearly, the manager should consider translating the English message into Spanish while addressing Spanish-workers. The manager should also be a good speaker such that he can confidently send the message with confidence despite the situation. The manager should also organize his message clearly to ensure a systematic form of communication, and thus a systematic form of message decoding. The receiver reaction will highly be determined by how the message was decoded.  The manager should be keen to evaluate through the obtained feedback on whether the message of decoded as anticipated or not. The manager should be ready to send a clarification in case he or she realizes that the message was decoded incorrectly. He should also request or demand for a feedback to complete the message communication process. This will help the manager in determining whether the message was correctly decoded and that the right intended reaction initiated (Lunenburg, 2010).

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Conclusion

A manager has a duty to enhance effective communication by avoiding all possible barriers that may hinder communication effectiveness. One way to attain this is by understanding his or her audience. Normally, communication or message structuring can change greatly based of who the audience. The message directed to junior managers can be structured differently to a message directed to supervisors or general workers. The manager should understand the climate prevailing before structuring the message. Normally, managers communicate to address various issues in an organization. Thus their message tone may vary greatly based on the problem at hand. The means or the form of communication should also be selected carefully based on the message or the situation. Multiple forms of communication may be used where necessary. The message should also be simple, clear, straight to the point with less use of jargons, idioms and other vague phrases that would distort the meaning. This among other discusses aspects will enhance effective communication and eliminate chances of miscommunication due to different communication barriers.

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