How to Overcome Barriers to Interpersonal Communication

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Interpersonal communication is the sending and receiving of messages between two or more people. Everyone communicates in life and business, however, various barriers can exist that distort the message.

Individuals must be able to identify the barriers and find ways to eliminate them in a way that improves the communication flow. Learning a few techniques or using proper preparation can help individuals tailor their communication in a way that provides focus and improves the message.

Select the right channel. Many communication channels exist, although they are not all appropriate to use. For example, saying "Good morning" through an e-mail is much less personable than saying it face-to-face.

Use the right language when sending messages. Receiving audiences may have different backgrounds. Using the right tone and words can help avoid sending a technical message to an audience unfamiliar with technical terms.

Engage in active listening. Rather than focusing on how to reply to the person when listening or reading a message, effective communicators will actively listen first and then formulate their response.

Avoid confusing nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication includes your physical reactions when sending or receiving a message. Other parties may be confused when nonverbal language suggests the sender or listener does not care about the message.

Seek feedback. Feedback allows for the clarification of messages as needed. This also helps improve future communication because senders will know which barriers exist with certain receivers.