How to Prevent a Communication Barrier

Written by tyran dewalt
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How to Prevent a Communication Barrier
Remove communication barriers to strengthen understanding. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Removing communication barriers is one of the most effective ways to improve communication, according to researchers at The Ohio State University. Without healthy, open lines of communication, it is difficult to build relationships. This applies to jobs, marriages, school settings and all situations that call for constant communication. Non-verbal messages are just as important as verbal messages in communication. It requires effort from all involved parties parts to remove the barriers to good communication.

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    Avoid muddled messages. Be clear about the message you want someone to receive. For example, if you want your son to be home by 7 p.m., you would not say, "Please come home at around 7 p.m." Instead, you want to assert, "Please come home at 7 p.m." The word "around" suggests that you could mean some time "after" 7 p.m. Muddled messages leave people confused about what you want them to do or how you want them to respond. If you aren't sure if the person you're talking to understands you, ask if he or she knows what you mean, or better yet, ask the person to restate what you said.

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    Get rid of stereotypes you associate with certain individuals. It's difficult not to form an idea of someone from face value, but it causes a serious communication barrier when you do. Get to know him for who he is and not who you expect him to be. Stereotyping prevents you from getting to know people based on their personality, interests, accomplishments and goals.

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    Remain silent when someone else speaks, nodding and showing that you are listening. Being an active listener is the key to effective communication and removing barriers. Leaning forward, making eye contact and asking questions are essential to active listening. Try to look engaged and interested when someone is communicating something. This non-verbal feedback assures the sender that you are paying attention, and makes it easier for them to listen to you when you speak.

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    Exchange feedback. If you aren't sure what the speaker is saying, ask him to repeat himself. Ask exactly what something means when it is unclear. Feedback assures that you and the other person are on the same page. Give feedback during the conversation and specify what you want to know. Show tact when you give feedback to someone.

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    Remove the physical distractions that affect open communication. If you sit down with someone to have a serious conversation, turn off your cell phone, the TV and anything else that is noisy. Try to face the person without anything such as a desk between you all. Ensure that the location is comfortable for both of you; physical distractions can be huge barriers to communication.

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