Overcoming Barriers to Communication, Essay Example
Problems of communication diminish the success of principles in the performance of their function. If messages are poorly transmitted or misinterpreted and if action is not effected, managers can not plan and monitor activities properly. Managers can do several things to improve communications in organizations. In general, these center around understand the barriers to communication and knowing how to overcome them.
The sender, the receiver, and the medium are the essential elements of the communication process. But unless a message is interpreted as it was meant, one still does not have communication. Misinterpretation is always possible when two individual in the organizational environment interact. The four types of communication barriers are (a) process barriers, (b) physical barriers, (c) semantic barriers, and (d) personal barriers.
Process barriers may arise in many situations. They stem from unwieldy procedural approaches that limit teams’ ability to do their work. Cumbersome approve processes and communication channels that follow the chain of command are incompatible with effective team operation.
Physical barriers are environmental factors which prevent or reduce the sending or receiving of communication. They include distance, walls, distracting background noise, and similar interferences. For example, in a hospital setting, which functions round the clock in three shifts, the senior officers may not see their subordinates for several days at a time. These are usually obvious barriers.
Personal barriers arise from judgments, emotions and the social values of people and are less obvious. These factors cause a psychological distance between people, which can be just as real as a physical barrier.Managers see and hear what they want to see and hear, and they remain selectively “tuned out” to that which they do not wish to see or hear. Psychological distance may entirely prevent communication, filter part of it or cause misinterpretation. For example, three doctors were discussing the serious condition of a patient. The sister-in-charge, who was working in the duty room, thought that they were talking about her incompetence. She rushed to the matron and requested her to transfer the patient to another floor because the doctors felt that she could not give sufficient nursing care to their patient.
Semantic barriers arise from the limitations of language. Language may take any of the three forms: words, picture and actions. Words have several meanings and they become meaningless if not they are put in the proper sense. One of the basic problems in communication is that the sense and meaning which is actually understood by one person may not be what the other intended to imply.
In a case, an employee noticed a banana peel lying on the floor of the office. She instructed the sweeper on duty to remove it immediately as it was a safety hazard. The sweeper, who was busy mopping up the floor, nodded his head to indicate that he would remove the banana peel. Just as the sweeper had finished mopping up the floor, another employee slipped on that same banana peel. The employee was furious at this mishapwhich could be avoided. She decided to report about the sweeper for disobeying her instructions. She was informed by the sweeper that he was going to pick up the peel just after completing the job in hand, i.e. mopping up the floor. By the word “immediate” the employee meant at once, whereas the sweeper understood he could do the job after completing the one in hand. This example clearly shows that even simple words carry different meanings to different people. Employees have to be told what managers want them to do. The speaker and the listener should understand the words in the same sense.
Managers must be clear about what they wish to communicate as wellas the objective of that communication. Before communicating, it is necessary to be clear about the problem and the information sought to be communicated to solve this problem. Therefore, it is necessary to decide what the receiver should know. If the objective is clear, communication is likely to succeed.
It is preferable to speak in the vernacular language of the receiver, because this is more effective. This is often not practicable in organizational setting because most of the employees belong to different regions and speak different languages. Though English is the most common language used in organizations, its use for communication still causes a language barrier because the majority of employees lack fluency and mastery over it.
Managers should use the right medium of communication, such as diagrams, charts, visual aids; according to the requirements because these can help the receiver achieve a better perception of the content of the communication.
In cases of upward communication, it is necessary to remove the organizational and intentional blocks. While communicating, it is desirable for managers to consider a complete physical and human setting. Even the tone of the communication matters. Therefore, the right climate should be created for communication in terms of the subject matter, the medium used, the situation and the persons involved.
The amount of communication must be adequate so that the recipient gets the complete message. The message should neither be unnecessarily lengthy nor too short.
For written communication, clarity, brevity, and style are important to make reading easier and the content is understandable.
One of the biggest assets of any organization is its human resources. Therefore, it is essential for managers to have interaction with them. The manager any organization should make it a point to meet employees occasionally, ask their problems and try to know whether they know the developments that are taking place in the organization.
Managers can control the choice of words; the use of technical terms, acronyms, or trade jargon; and the speed of delivery. They can sometimes control the time and place of the communication. They also can enhance understanding and retention by repeating vital information and showing the same information in some graphic form. All of these techniques will have considerable impact on the listeners.
A successful system of communication must operate not only from the Chief Executive’s office downwards but must consist of four interlocking circuits transmitting information, opinions, etc. downward, upward, horizontal and grapevine. It is manager’s responsibility that the management of an organization should realize the importance of effective communication within the organization. The management should find from their senior managers and lower employees the difficulties involved in communicating. They should know what information the employees would like to know from the management and what they should know from the employees through upward communication so that unnecessary bottlenecks of communication may be eliminated in the interest of the organization and for the free flow of communication.
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