I remember the first training session I attended in my career. Through a presentation that was full of text, our team leader gave us a brief of new technologies, and we can use those in our project.
By the time the session was over, the team members had left the meeting with dull and tired faces. How much each one of us could grasp and understand was a puzzle.
During our next training session, our team leader again opened the presentation. But this time it was filled with animated characters. Each slide showed different scenes from the popular story of tortoise and hare. That fact got the whole team’s attention from the first slide with increasing interest to know about what was coming next.
The moral of the story, communication, whether it’s about training, task, or tense situation; as a speaker, it is your job to ensure that your audience is focused and understands most of what you share without any communication barriers.
Barriers of communication
- Language barrier
This barrier hinders the communication process when you choose to speak in a language that your audience does not understand.
2. Cultural barrier
You must have experienced this at your workplace. Employees from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds often misunderstand each other’s points or make perceptions based on their personal views on a certain community which affects the communication between the two people.
3. Emotional barrier
Do you think you can handle a serious conversation when you are angry, upset, tired, or overly excited? None of us do. Whether you are speaking or listening to someone, if you are not in a mental state to communicate, it will certainly affect the communication.
4. Organizational barrier
Organizational hierarchy can sometimes create a communication barrier. It happens when your team feels they can’t have an honest and open dialog with their team leader or a manager. This communication barrier often directly hampers team productivity.
So, how do you ensure communication at the workplace without any barriers? Simply by adhering to the 7 Cs of communication.
What are the 7 Cs of communication?
What does clarity in communication refer to? First and most importantly, it means being clear about the purpose of your communication. Now, all conversations happen for a reason, be it coffee conversation for relaxation, team meetings, or late-night calls with a friend.
So whenever you initiate a conversation, you must make aware of the purpose of the communication. That helps your listener mentally prepare to listen to what you are going to share.
While doing so, make sure you choose a language or way of communication that is itself clear. Try avoiding technical terms or jargon. Use simple language and structure and focus on the core message during the communication.
What happens if you realize that information shared by a website, social media page, motivational speaker, business mentor, or a colleague or friend whose advice you have been following is factually incorrect? Would you believe that person or a website again?
Thus, when you are sending the side of the information, you must make sure that whatever you are sharing is factually as well as grammatically correct. If your audience spots an error in either of these, your credibility will be hampered further, making your communication less effective.
Nobody likes cliffhangers unless it’s about their favorite novel or a TV show. Sharing the complete information with your audience will help them understand your line of thought as well as the core points and conclusion.
Moreover, making the experience complete and wholesome also includes making things easy for the recipient. For example, if you add a “call-to-action”, make sure you guide that action. So that your recipient will easily find your CTAs and know what to expect when they follow certain actions.
When preparing for your conversation, you must make sure that the points you will be discussing fit the situation or support your message correctly.
In simple words, making the communication process concrete means including only those points, information, and experiences that are relevant to the core message of communication.
Imagine you are excited to attend a speech of a motivational speaker you have heard a lot about. You reach the venue well on time and listen carefully to the speaker’s word right from the beginning in the hope of getting your doubts cleared or getting the needed information or advice. An hour passes when the speaker finally decides to speak on the topic of the day. But now you are bored and uninterested thanks to all the irrelevant things the speaker had been sharing for the past hour.
Now, imagine your recipient in your shoes when you do the same. When you make your purpose clear at the start, your recipient creates a mindset and is waiting eagerly when you will start talking about the actual point of the conversation.
The moral of the story, keep your communication short, simple, and to the point.
If your cleverness can’t help you in crisis, courtesy will. You just have to ask politely. You might have experienced this at least once.
Sadly, people show courtesy when they are asking for something and when they are giving or sharing something, whether it’s time, money, material, or knowledge.
However, practicing politeness in your conversations can increase their effectiveness. When you are polite towards your audience, it shows that you respect and appreciate them, which further increases trust and credibility for you in their eyes.
As for how to show courtesy towards your audience, you can do so by empathizing with your audience. Try to consider the message or point from their point of view and make sure your messages are professional, friendly, honest, respectful, and considerate.
Your train of messages or points shouldn’t sound like they have been forcefully glued together under the topic of conversation.
Make sure the points you will be sharing have a logical flow and transition. Also, while ensuring coherency, you must make sure that the core message is consistent throughout the communication.
Including the 7 Cs of communication will make your messages more effective and easy for your recipient to understand, agree upon, and follow the same at work or in personal life.