Article Title

Ways to Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication is critical in socializing with one another or communicating with a team of diverse individuals in the workplace. As an employee, understanding the communication barriers and effective strategies could help you become more effective and productive. Before diving into the communication strategy for effective communication, let’s explore the common communications barriers you may experience at the workplace, especially when working with multicultural teams. 

In general, communication barriers include lack of understanding, divergent points of view, inability to listen to others, interpersonal dynamics, generation gaps, different attitudes, language, cultural differences, etc. Communication is not just sending or receiving information. It is complex, and the possibilities of miscommunications are numerous. Communication barriers in the workplace could significantly impact job dissatisfaction, lack of creativity and innovation, poor coordination, lack of cohesiveness, and poor employee morale in the entire organization. Effective communication at the workplace is inevitably critical to preventing potential barriers and problems from occurring. 

Having an efficient internal communication flow in the workplace can significantly impact nearly every aspect of the productivity and success of an organization or company. Effective workplace communication is one of the topics students of the Organizational Culture and Communication discussed in their class. The course instructor, Akary Tun Thein, and her students shared their real-life experiences and practical communication strategies when tackling workplace communication obstacles. 

Being active listener 

Active listening is a foundation of effective communication. Being an active listener with the proper understanding and thinking is essential in workplace communication. To successfully communicate, it is crucial to complete the communication loop/communication process that includes receiving messages, showing interest, asking questions, and providing feedback to the speaker/message sender. 

Creating open and direct communication

Creating open communication and dialogue encourages people in the organization to communicate with one another honestly. Having a judgment-free environment at work is essential as it promotes free-flowing conversation in order to provide constructive feedback for further improvement of individuals, teams, and even the organization. 

Using effective communication channels

While many communication channels are available, it is vital to choose appropriate channels that help deliver the message better, keep people engaged and promote effective workplace communication. Moreover, adopting different communication channels for formal and informal communications will enable successful team communication in various ways, such as improving communications flow, and boosting collaboration, especially when working remotely.

Embracing diversity 

Diversity promotes creativity and productivity in the workplace. Embracing differences in your team is essential. While learning to appreciate their diverse ideas and perspectives, you will eventually find a way to communicate with team members more effectively. 

Apart from understanding how to avoid barriers, having a communication management plan is essential to achieving effective communication. Everyone has a different communication strategy or approach. Creating your own communication management plan can also help you communicate effectively in different situations. A communication management plan usually reflects your communication goal you want to achieve when communicating with people.

Below are a few examples of communication management plans with acronyms developed by the instructor and students of the Organizational Culture and Communication class. They use this plan as a guide when communicating with their team members at work and even in everyday life conversations. 

  • HEART: H – Harmony, E – Encouragement, A – Appreciation, R – Respect, T – Timing
  • SMILE:  S – Stay positive, M – Mindset, I – Integration, L – Listening, E – Ego-free
  • FBGKT: F – Factual, B – Beneficial, G –Good-will, K –Kind, and T – Timely

Communication is one of the essential skills for the 21st century, especially during pandemics when almost everyone works remotely. Maintaining effective communication helps strengthen team collaboration, positively impacting an organization. As a liberal arts institution, Parami University also aims to equip students with articulate communication skills to become effective communicators in various situations.

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