A communication barrier is a mental or emotional roadblock that stops two or more people from accurate understanding. In simple terms, barriers to effective communication stop you from connecting to people. This is important for employers to understand when hiring, delegating, and working with employees if they want to maximize job satisfaction and other measures of good employment. Be aware of these five communication barriers and how to overcome them.
Language is the most basic of all communication barriers. If you speak only English and someone talks to you in Spanish, you cannot understand them. Obvious, but that’s an extreme example to show my point of breaking down the language barrier. Such communication problems are funny when they do occur, however, language barriers are not limited to different dialects.
You use terminology familiar to you. Golfers talk of tees, bunkers, and doglegs, while non-golfers think these terms refer to dinner, war, or animals.
Tailor your language to those you talk to overcome the language communication barrier. People will understand you better and you’ll more easily build rapport.
Individuals in a group behave similarly to one another. Psychologists say this is a natural part of the belonging process.
Cultural communication barriers arise when differing, mentally-closed cultural groups merge. A group’s way of seeing things dominates other potential perspectives, shutting down communication and creating fights. Closed-mindedness is a formula for conflict anywhere.
Many cultural barriers can be knocked down when you become aware that your group and your reality are one of many. You can accept another person’s perceptive without believing it.
Gender barriers in communication often result from how each uses his or her brain. Other times, it’s their lack of effective communication skills.
Males tend to speak logically (don’t confuse logical with rational!), a left-side brain function. Their communication is compartmentalized. Females on the other hand tend to speak using a mix of logic and emotion located in both sides of the brain. It’s possible this explains why women talk more than men.
Not much you can do about these gender barriers in communication other than to understand them for more awareness. As frustrating as it can be to talk with a man, I don’t advise women to get a lobotomy of their brain to overcome gender differences. Julie has some extra communication tips on Ground Report to help.
There are too many psychological communication barriers to list here. Some common ones include: ego, belief in one’s righteousness, vagueness (common for general thinkers talking to specific thinkers), and in-completion. There are many in your personal and business life. Psychological barriers are really up to you to explore. Mental Floss have a good article about cognitive biases.
Like psychological roadblocks, there are many perceptual barriers. Perception is a major barrier of effective communication to overcome because we all see things differently. “All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions,” said Leonardo da Vinci.
Perceptual biases are difficult to overcome. It’s not so much about complete avoidance as it is about mitigation. Communication and social skills development take time.
Know that most communication barriers can be overcome by opening your mind. Limit judgments. Become curious. Explore what another person is thinking and feeling. You’ll then be on your way to communicating effectively.