How can managers overcome communication barriers?

Given these barriers to communication what can mangers do to overcome them? The following suggestion should help make communications more effective.

Why use feedback?

Many combination problems can be directly attributed to misunderstandings and inaccuracies. These problems are less likely to occur if the manager uses the feedback loop in the communication process. This feedback can be verbal or nonverbal.

If a manager asks a receiver, did you understand what I said? The response represents feedback should include more than yes and no answers. The manager can ask a set of questions about a message in order to determine whether the message was received as intended. Better yet, the manager can ask the receiver to restate the message in his or her own words. If the manager then hears what was intended understanding and accuracy should be enhanced. Feedback also includes subtler methods than direct questioning or the summarizing of messages. General comments can give a manager a sense of the receiver’s reaction to a message. In addition, performance appraisals salary reviews, and promotions represent important forms of feedback.

Of course feedback does not have to be conveyed in words. Actions may speak louder than words. The sales manger who sends out a directive to his or her staff describing a new monthly sales report that all sales personnel will need to complete feedback if some of the salespeople fail to turn in the new report. This feedback suggests that the sales manager needs to clarify the initial directive. Similarly when you give a speech to a group of people, you watch their eyes and look for other nonverbal clues to tell you whether they are getting your message.

Why should simplified language be used?

Because language can be a barrier managers should choose words and structure their messages in ways that will make those messages clear and understandable to the receiver. The manager should consider the audience to whom the message is directed so that the language will be tailored to the receivers. Remember, communication is effective when a message is both received and understood. Understanding is improved by simplifying the language use to the intended audience. For example, a hospital administrator should always try to communicate in clear, easily understood terms and that the language used in messages to the surgical staff should be different from that used with office employees. Jargon can facilitate understanding when it s sued within a group that knows what it means, but it can cause innumerable problems when used outside that group.

Why must we listen actively?

When someone talks, we hear. But too often we don’t listen. Listening is an active search for meaning, whereas hearing is passive. In listening two people are thinking – the receiver and the sender.

Many of us are poor listeners. Why? Because listening is difficult and it’s usually more satisfying to be the talker Listening in fact, is often more tiring than talking. It demands intellectual effort. Unlike hearing, active listening demands total concentration. The average person speaks at a rate of about 150 words per minute, whereas we have the capacity to hear and process at the rate of nearly 1,000 words per minute. The differences obviously leave idle time for the brain and opportunities for the mind to wander.

Active listening is enhanced by empathy with the sender — that is, by placing yourself in the sender’s position. Because senders differ in attitudes, interests, needs and expectations, empathy makes it easer to understand the actual content of a message. An empathic listener reserves judgment on the message’s content and carefully listens to that is being said. The goal is to improve one’s ability to receive the full meaning of a communication without having it distorted by premature judgments or interpretations.

Why must we constrain emotions?

It would be naïve to assume that managers always communicate in a fully rational manner. We know that emotions can severely cloud and distort the transference of meaning. A manager who is emotionally upset over an issue is likely to misconstrue incoming messages and fail to express his or her outgoing messages clearly and accurately what can the manager do? The simplest answer is to stop communicating until he or she has regained composure.

What the emphasis on nonverbal cues?

If actions speak louder than words, then it’s important to watch your actions to make sure that they align with and reinforce the words that go along with them. We noted that nonverbal messages carry a great deal of weight. Given this fact, the effective communicator watches his or her nonverbal cues to ensure that they too convey the desired message.

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