Interpersonal Communication is one of the most simple, yet effective tools you have as a leader. It can increase team productivity, improve problem solving, enhance and promote great results.
Leaders sometimes encounter barriers to effective communication, but these barriers need not prove to be insurmountable. Preparing strategies to deal with these obstacles ahead of time is the key to quickly and effectively overcoming them.
The crucial first step in overcoming barriers to effective communication is recognizing what they are to begin with. Here are some of the most common problems that arise, in addition to suggestions for how to overcome them:
Misunderstandings with Employees
Simple misunderstandings are often the most common barriers to effective communication. Misunderstandings occur when your goals, ideas or directives are not clear to your employees.
Although they provide a challenging obstacle, misunderstandings can be overcome quite easily. In order to do this, consider your audience. Think about the best way possible to get your point across in a manner that will interest your employees. Present your message in a structured, well-organized manner in order to avoid confusion. Also, when making a presentation, use visual aids to clarify your ideas.
Hesitation When Speaking
Hesitation may seem like a small barrier to effective communication, but can actually be a powerful obstacle. When you are speaking, avoid hesitation because it leads your employees to believe that you are unorganized and unprepared.
Hesitation can be avoided by preparing what you intend to say and sticking to your plan. Being articulate and clear, and speaking at a slow, steady rate can also help you avoid hesitation.
When you are trying to communicate your ideas, but you contradict yourself throughout your presentation, it is easy to loose the interest of your employees. If you contradict your own ideas, your employees may reject your entire concept.
Self-contradiction is another barrier that can be avoided by having a well thought out speech prepared before hand. This will enable you to evaluate what you are going to say before ever having presented it to your team. That way, when you do present, your ideas will flow together and support one another, rather than clash together and undermine your entire effort.
It is important to avoid distractions when you are addressing your employees because the focus should be on you, not on everything going on around you.
Distractions can be avoided by preparing an isolated space in which to communicate your ideas. If you prepare this space beforehand, ensuring that there will be nothing around that could distract your employees while you are talking, you will be less likely to have to deal with distractions during your presentation.
The barriers to effective communication listed above can be overwhelming if you have to deal with them out of the blue, so avoid them altogether. Preparation and planning for clarity is the key!