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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much

Communication is a conversational process of sending and receiving messages. Communication is important in business and personal relationships.
Various barriers exist that can distort or prohibit a message from being properly understood or sent. These barriers can cause conflict in interpersonal relationships, prevent a business from being successful in a different culture and Lead to low employee satisfaction in an organization. Identifying the barriers to communication is the first step to improving the effectiveness of the communication.

Barriers to communication are defined as, “aspects of or conditions… that interfere with effective exchange of ideas or thoughts.” Barriers to communication can be anything that distorts or prevents a message from being properly sent or received.

There are two main barriers of communication: unwillingness to communicate and inability to communicate.

Cultural Differences - All cultures have their own idiosyncrasies in communication. Being open minded to different communication styles helps minimize this barrier to listening.
Personal Biases - Our filters have an effect on how and why we communicate with others. Being aware of these filters and keeping an open mind encourages effective communication.
Distractions - Holding ones attention today is difficult enough without distractions. Thus, we need to minimize distractions. Some of the common distractions are:
  • Noise—Many times it is difficult to have a meaningful conversation due to a noisy location. Noise comes in many forms: from people, equipment, street noise and more. When it becomes difficult to hear and concentrate (assuming it is an important conversation) move to a place that has less noise.
  •  Visual—It can be tough to concentrate when there is a lot of activity or other visual distractions in the area. As with noise, move to a place where there are less visual distractions.
  •  Stress—The stress in someone’s life can make it difficult to concentrate. Stress can be for many reasons such as family issues, work problems, financial concerns, illness of self or a family member, and more. Refocusing frequently works. If it doesn’t (and the conversation is important), then choose another time to talk.
  •  Time—If a pressing appointment (for either you or the other person) won’t allow adequate time to address an issue effectively then choose a more convenient time.
  •  Other distractions—There are many other distractions that can draw needed attention away from conversations. Using common sense to minimize these distractions helps improve the environment for effective listening. 

Cross Cultural Communication
Not understands others because of cultural differences is common.
Traveling to many different places teaches some simple truths. Although cultures, upbringings, economic opportunities, education and a myriad of other factors are different, most people want many of the same things out of life.
We want to feel loved, respected, useful, self-expressive and live in a safe and comfortable environment in our ever-changing world.
Using this simple concept as a foundation for understanding we can break down the barriers of poor communication and personal isolation by working to meet the needs of others, while meeting our own needs as well. 
Misunderstandings are commonplace. They can lead to conflicts, barriers to listening, barriers to effective communication and other issues. To minimize misunderstandings when they occur, do the following:

Communication barriers are lurking everywhere. Sometimes they are even communication games. Being aware of these barriers to effective communication and addressing them with understanding and empathy (and striving to learn the root cause—when necessary) will help resolve many of them.

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