Communication Basics

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Communication Basics
Since we’re talking about communication, it makes sense to define it. You might know someone who is an excellent verbal communicator, but not so much in writing. Or you might know an excellent writer who is a terrible speaker. How is it that people get good in one area and not another?
In this lesson we’ll talk about what it takes to be considered a skilled communicator and what people have done to develop those skills.
Communication Barriers
Now that we have a good idea of what it takes to be a skilled communicator, we also need to consider some of the things that get in the way of good communication. These barriers can occur for many reasons. Having a way to deal with them is an important skill for strong communication.
In this lesson, we’ll explore communication barriers and what our own preferences have to do with our expertise in communicating.
Common Barriers
This barrier comes from one person always sharing their own experience, and not allowing others to provide input. This can also occur when a newer employee meets existing staff and feels that they need to prove themselves independently, instead of listening to or respecting the experience of their new colleagues.
Anger can stop up from hearing what someone says. Love can cloud our judgment.
If someone comes from a very wealthy or very poor background, we might make judgments about them. People can also make judgments based on the area that a person is from.
These can stop us from hearing, observing, and perceiving the truth. A negative attitude can prevent someone from adapting to a change. An overly optimistic attitude can stop someone from seeing what is really going on.
If we do not have respect for what other cultures contribute, or the positive attributes of our own culture, people experience discrimination.
Subject Knowledge
If one person tries to push their knowledge on others, resentment can arise. On the other hand, if someone pretends to have knowledge and is lying, they will lose credibility and erode trust.
Prejudices are another thing that can cloud our judgment. If I think that all people who live in Midland are lazy ne’er do wells, none of them will ever be good enough, in my estimation. Examine what triggers your prejudices (and why you have these thoughts) in order to deal with them.
If we are tired, grumpy, or feeling upset, it’s possible we won’t hear others or want to engage with anyone. If we are excited and joyful about things and interrupting other people’s work, it’s possible they won’t get things done either.
How do you feel when someone starts an e-mail without a greeting? If this is also your style, it might be fine because there are no wasted words in the e-mail. Other people might feel that the tone is abrupt for no reason, or that the writer is angry at them.
If I am intimidated because someone approaches me and they have a lot more education than I do, even though they are asking me for help, I might become nervous, short tempered, etc.
Noise Level
If there is a lot of noise around and I don’t hear properly, I’m not likely to get the entire message.
Clear language helps to remove uncertainty and avoid confusion.
Non-Verbal Messages
Non-verbal messages can convey a lot of meaning, even if you aren’t saying anything. If I enter your office and you turn your back to me, I will know you don’t want to talk to me, even though I need to speak with you.
Hearing Difficulties
In order for messages to be understood, we need to express ourselves. For listeners who are hard of hearing, we may give up before they have understood, or we may avoid calling them in order to avoid having to take extra steps to make sure that they hear us.