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How to overcome communication barriers πŸ™Š

How to overcome communication barriers. Young man with long hair sat on sofa looking at his phone, wearing headphones.

How to overcome communication barriers –

Introduction πŸ‘‹

Communication barriers are everywhere!

There are so many different barriers you can encounter that make it difficult to communicate with other people, such as:

  • time e.g. limited time can make it more difficult to communicate ⌚
  • having different communication preferences, skills, or styles
  • social distance or physical barriers e.g. text messages or emails where you can’t hear someone’s tone of voice πŸ—ΊοΈ
  • having different perceptions/viewpoints e.g. different likes and dislikes
  • the other person not being interested (or thinking it’s not important) πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
  • distractions
  • emotional barriers e.g. if you’re stressed you might not be able to communicate well
  • taboo topics 🀫
  • physical disabilities e.g. hearing/speech impairments
  • speaking different languages or unfamiliar accents πŸ—£οΈ
  • false expectations of other people
  • jargon πŸ₯΄
  • stereotypes
  • cultural differences e.g. in Japanese culture slurping soup noodles is seen as a compliment, and not rude. However, in Japanese culture all other forms of eating noises are seen as rude. 🍜

Here are our top tips for overcoming communication barriers! 🧱

1. Learn about your audience (and adapt to them)πŸ‘€

Every person is different and communicates in different ways. πŸ“±

This makes it really important to learn about the people you’re communicating with, to make sure that the message gets across. πŸ“¨

To learn about your audience, you can try and find out things like:

  • how they prefer to be communicated with 🀳
  • what their likes/dislikes are πŸ‘πŸ‘Ž
  • what are their beliefs and cultural influences πŸ™
  • how are they feeling/likely to feel when you communicate with them πŸ₯΄
  • are they going to be interested in what you’re saying πŸ™„
  • how can you keep their attention πŸ‘€
  • do they have any disabilities or language barriers that you would need to consider β™Ώ
  • what are they going to think about what you have to say πŸ€”
  • do they get on well with you? πŸ’ž
  • do they trust you? 🀝

2. Right time⌚

Timing is everything – if you communicate at the wrong time, it could create barriers for people to understand your message.

Before you communicate, it’s important to find out:

  • how much time do you have? ⏲️
  • are you likely to be interrupted? ⏯️
  • how long will you need, to communicate what you have to say properly? πŸ”Š
  • is there anything going on in the other person’s life right now, that would make it a bad time to talk to them? 😬
  • how much time does the other person have? βŒ›

3. Right place πŸ—ΊοΈ

Every location has plenty of distractions and barriers, to make communication difficult for you.

In aΒ study from the University of California Irvine, they found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task after being distracted.

This could be a huge barrier to your communication!

It’s important to pick your location carefully to make sure there are as few barriers as possible. πŸ“Œ

When choosing somewhere to communicate, you can ask yourself questions like:

  • are there any distractions in your location that could make communication difficult? e.g. loud noises, other people, distracting cute dogs 🐢
  • if you’re physically separated, would it be easier to meet in-person to reduce physical barriers?
  • if you’re using technology, is there working Wi-Fi, charging ports etc. to avoid any technical issues?

4. Right method πŸ“±

There are lots of different methods of communication to choose from, so it’s important to think about what would be best for the situation you’re in!

You can choose from things like:

  • Videos
  • Text messages πŸ“±
  • Emails
  • Social media messages πŸ“¨
  • Online posts
  • Face to face conversation πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ
  • Letters
  • Video calls πŸ“½οΈ
  • Drawing
  • PowerPoint presentations πŸ“Š
  • Speeches
  • Telling a story πŸ“š
  • Posters
  • Sign language πŸ‘‹
  • Formal conversation
  • Informal conversation πŸ˜„
  • Writing a book
  • Physical touch πŸ€—
  • Eye contact

Work out what would be best for your audience, based on what you’ve learned about them!

5. Use language they understand πŸ—¨οΈ

Jargon can be one of the biggest barriers to communication and stop people from listening to you straight away, so choose the language you use carefully!

To use language that others can understand, you can:

  • use simple language πŸ™‚
  • avoid jargon πŸ₯΄
  • adapt the language you use to suit the other person πŸ„β€β™€οΈ
  • mirror the way that the other person speaks πŸͺž
  • consider if you need to be formal/informal with how you speak πŸ‘”

6. Keep it brief and clear (get to the point!) 🎯

These days it’s pretty difficult to pay attention.

When you communicate with someone, you only have a short amount of time to keep their attention.

To get as much information across as possible in this short window, you can:

  • plan what you’re going to say in advance πŸ“†
  • pick out the most important points you want to get across πŸ₯‡
  • organise your thoughts πŸ“
  • take it step-by-step 🐾
  • communicate one thing at a time πŸ”’
  • use bullet points when you can 🎯
  • communicate in bite-sized chunks to avoid overloading the person you’re speaking to πŸ”

7. Check that they’ve understood you correctly βœ…

The best way to know if you’re overcoming communication barriers – is to check!

To check that you’ve been understood correctly, you could:

  • Ask them if they’ve understood πŸ€”
  • Test their understanding πŸ“
  • Ask them to repeat back to you what they think you’ve said πŸ”

8. Keep adapting πŸ”

You’re never going to be perfect when it comes to communicating, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try to be perfect!

If a communication method isn’t working for you – switch it up and try something else!

Keep experimenting and learning, to build your communication skills.

9. Be calm, patient, and respectful πŸ’–

If you’re communicating a difficult message, or communicating during an argument, it can be easy to:

  • get impatient πŸ™„
  • feel overly emotional 😠
  • say things that you don’t mean 🀬

This can make it really difficult for the other person to understand you, so try to stay calm, patient, and respectful!

19 ways to stop arguments from exploding πŸ’£

10. Pace yourself🐌

Picking the right pace can be really helpful when you’re communicating with others, especially when:

  • the other person speaks a different language πŸ—ΊοΈ
  • you’re communicating with someone who has a hearing disability β™Ώ
  • the other person is feeling very emotional 😒

If you:

  • communicate too fast, people might struggle to understand you
  • communicate too slowly, people might get bored and lose focus on what you’re saying.

Pick your pace carefully, to communicate well!

Conclusion πŸ‘

So that’s it!

To overcome communication barriers, you should:

  1. Learn about your audience (and adapt to them)πŸ‘€
  2. Right time⌚
  3. Right place πŸ—ΊοΈ
  4. Right method πŸ“±
  5. Use language they understand πŸ—¨οΈ
  6. Keep it brief and clear (get to the point!) 🎯
  7. Check that they’ve understood you correctly βœ…
  8. Keep adaptingπŸ”
  9. Be calm, patient, and respectful πŸ’–
  10. Pace yourself 🐌

If you know anyΒ friends or family membersΒ who might benefit from learning about how to overcome communication barriers, share this post with them!

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