Communication is important in business. Exceptional communication skills among employees lie at the core of a productive workplace. These communication skills help to persuade, motivate, and influence customers and coworkers alike. In this paper, we will discuss why communication is important and the skills an effective worker uses to communicate effectively. What makes a person a good coworker within business? His or her ability to communicate; which is one of the most basic job requirements in most industries.
If a person cannot communicate with his employer, coworkers, or customers, he is at a major disadvantage. Cultural Barrier There are many barriers that can hinder communication. A cultural barrier is damaging in modern business due to the fact that we are rapidly becoming a global society. As of 2014, businesses statistics report 1 1. 4% of our total work force are African American, and 16. 1 % are Hispanic compared to data from 201 2 (marchionesses. Org). As of 201 1, white males made up a whopping 74% of leadership in business (USC. Deed).
Due to the large cultural gap between leader, employee, and coworker, it’s important to be able to communicate on a cultural level in the workplace. Cultural barriers can come n the form of stereotypes, spoken language, or even body language. Language barriers are often seen in “bypassing”, or, using words that are too complicated or different to understand. People within the workplace come from all walks of life, and that includes varying education levels. Using words that are too formal for your message is counterproductive to communication.
Likewise, using too many slang words, or workplace jargon may cause more confusion than communication. All cultures have their own version of slang words with different meanings which can turn an innocent phrase into something quite offensive to another culture. Stereotypes are generally positive or hostile assumptions about a different culture or gender. Stereotypes limit the amount of information we can receive from another person, and prevent others from reaching their full potential in the workplace.
When you begin a conversation with a coworker that you have a negative stereotype about, you are automatically choosing to disvalues the information they provide during your exchange. A stereotype, whether positive or negative, automatically builds a wall between you and them. Differences in language may change the interpretation of certain words or harass, which puts both parties at a disadvantage. The cultural barrier extends beyond spoken words. Even body language can cause miscommunication.
For example, simply nodding your head yes, with an up and down motion, could mean no to someone of Bulgarian descent (stegosauruses. About. Com). If any of these barriers are present, efficiency, productivity, and the sharing of knowledge are all compromised. Perceptual barriers are equally as damaging as cultural ones. Think of Joe, a Harvard graduate who runs a small company in the deep-south. Recently, a few of Joey’s best employees left to pursue different careers. He hired three new people, one of whom was a Catawba graduate, and the other two were also Harvard graduates.
As the years passed, all three employees made equally significant contributions to Joey’s company. The two Harvard graduates’ contributions have been recognized much more than the poor Catawba graduate’s. This was due to Joey’s perception that Harvard graduates work harder, he failed to recognize the contributions of the Catawba graduate. This means the Catawba alumnus will have to work twice as hard as the Harvard alumni in order to receive noticed or praise. Joe doesn’t expect much UT of the Catawba grad because of his perceptual barrier.
Poor Language Skills Barrier Poor language skills are perhaps one of the most detrimental barriers to communication. They are a contributing factor to lower wages in the workplace, frustration with coworkers and superiors, and decreased productivity. Immigrant workers, whose first language is other than English, experience a multitude of communication issues. According to the 2003 IIS Census, at the turn of the 21st century, 12% of the labor force was immigrant. Those job statistics revealed that of those immigrant workers: 2% – service industry 18. – factories, laborers 12. 6% – construction, mechanics, repairs Salaries are lower than IIS born individuals whose first language is English Low representation in management and leadership positions Several studies have been conducted, including those from Stanford university and Indiana university, which suggest that children of lower income households including those whose parents are less educated are more likely to raise children with weaker vocabulary and language skills.
Studies followed toddlers 18 months old to 24 months old, from both lower socioeconomic backgrounds and from those in more advantaged households and found that the toddlers in the lower socioeconomic households learned 30% fewer words in the six-month period. Further studies revealed children of kindergarten age raised in lower socioeconomic homes were nearly two years behind on standardized development tests and that parents who use mature language (as opposed to baby-talk) with their babies and young children give them the opportunity to learn faster.
Another interesting study revealed that children with poor early language skills may later develop behavioral and attention issues. The study suggests that having poor language skills limits the ability to control behavior which can lead to Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADD), as well as academic and social problems in adolescence and adults. Some ways Cultures. Mom suggests overcoming language barriers include: Speaking slowly and clearly (annunciate and slow down speech) Ask for clarification if you are unsure (do not assume) Check for understanding frequently (get feedback that he/she understands) Limit the use of jargon Avoid idioms Define basics of business (provide glossary of business terms within an organization) Be specific when giving instructions (don’t use vague terms such as ‘soon, ‘shortly’) Choose communication channel effectively use multiple channels (follow up with phone call after email, etc. Be patient – cross-cultural communication takes more time Emotional Barrier There is one universal language we all experience: emotion. Everyone in the work place has a different attitude. One person may be a very sensitive and shy person, and the next might be a very outspoken and abrupt person. Taking these different personalities into consideration, there are emotional aeries that must be recognized in the work place. Every person has a different childhood and has different influences throughout their lives.
No two people are the same, and that means no two people will react the same to any given message. Thus, it is important in the work environment to maintain a positive tone, no matter what, by setting personal emotions aside. Workers who set emotions aside and treat everyone with a positive tone promote a safe and stable environment, thereby increasing productivity. For example, let’s consider John, the very abrupt and loud boss. That’s just the ay he IS, but John’s assistant Maria is a very quiet, shy, and sensitive person.
In order to avoid any kind of emotional disturbance, John makes sure to maintain a calm and positive tone when speaking to Maria. Maria gets more work done and is happier when things aren’t so stressful in the workplace. Although these two have very different personalities, they are communicating effectively because they are adapting to each-others differences. To overcome emotional barriers, the best thing that can be done is to remain aware and alert. Be aware of the feelings that have arisen within ourselves and others and try to control them, or diffuse the situation.
Always make sure the message is decoded the way it was meant; ask questions! When a person is upset they tend to say things they may not mean, and likewise, when we are upset ourselves we tend not to listen thoroughly. Try to recognize the emotions you are feeling and determine whether or not they belong in the current situation. In the work place, 9 times out of 10 the answer IS no. Most companies have policies against relationships in the workplace. Emotional disturbances are much more common when two coworkers are involved in an intimate relationship.
It may be very difficult for a worker to communicate effectively if there is a problem within their relationship. Implementing a company policy banning relationships among coworkers reduces emotional barriers in communication, thus improving productivity. Another policy companies’ implement to reduce barriers is the open door policy. An open door policy is usually set so that workers can come forward to management if there is ever an uncomfortable situation that they need to talk about. It ensures to employees that their issues are kept confidential and it builds trust between worker and department.
Listening Barrier Listening also represents a communication barrier. Listening, like communication is a learned behavior, so we can learn to overcome the obstacles that interfere with our listening effectiveness in order to succeed in workplace communication. In other words, we can either choose to be an effective listener by keeping an open mind towards whatever we hear, or create barriers that will hinder effective listening, thereby making listening so much more complicated than hearing.
The factors that make listening much complicated are consideration of the topic or the speaker as either interesting r uninteresting, criticizing the speaker instead of the message, concentrating on details, instead of main ideas, avoiding difficult listening situations, tolerating or failing to adjust to distractions, and faking attention. Listening, when taken for granted becomes much more complicated, for instance deciding that a subject/topic or speaker is uninteresting or boring.
This is like having a perception of something negatively; our perception definitely affects our behavior towards that thing or person. It simply means that the level of interest and the amount of importance we place on a subject or speaker usually govern how much effort we put into listening. An example would be a supply coordinator, who is seen by a lot of co-workers as careless and unfocused, so a lot of interns placed in her department make up their minds before each day that it’s going to be as usual, with such attitude believe they will never understand her when she is teaching because they hardly listen to it.
The difference between hearing and listening is understanding. Consequently we tend to criticize the speaker instead of the message, this happens when we focus on the superficial elements of a person’s delivery style or appearance. Most time in the office for example, people hardly listen to instruction when a manager is talking, we are concentrating on the superficial makeup of the manager, their mismatched shirt and tie, bizarre earrings, or the speakers’ facial expressions that they miss the message. All of these would be considered “noise”.
Another is our concentrating on unimportant details such as the temperature in the room, definitions, figures, and locations assuming that they are important to know instead of focusing on important ideas. Listening could also be much more complicated when we allow distractions to disrupt our concentration. As listeners we have the innate ability to adjust to, compensate for, or eliminate distractions and focus on speakers and their messages. One morning I was cooking and studying, while my family was talking.
My concentration was on what was reading and din ;t know my food was burning. Some distractions must be overcome through mental rather than physical efforts. We at times pretend to pay attention to someone or something. This we do a lot of time at work, we appear to listen intently, but our minds are somewhere. This makes listening more complicated and represents a huge barrier in the workplace; to some people it may become a habit. The quality of our listening changes from time to time and from situation to situation.
Also the context of each communication will affect how important each barrier is, and some of the barriers that reduce our listening effectiveness are under our control. Since effective communication occurs only when the intended meaning is fully received and understood by the listener, it requires word knowledge, proper grammar, and effort. Understanding a message requires a skilled listener; an unskilled listener is often the reason for ineffective communication. Good immunization skills are at the base of any advancement in the workplace.