No matter how technically skilled your team is and how amazing the products or services you offer, if internal communication fails then eventually everything fails. There are several several types of barriers to communication and it’s therefore essential to develop strategies to deal with this problem.
The ability to communicate is a highly valued soft skill in the business world, taking into account that there are several situations that require effective communication in the workplace, whether it is between colleagues who help each other perform tasks, with supervisors, between departments, externally to the company, with customers, investors, and even other organizations.
Investing in training or in events that develop relationships among your employees - through team building activities, for example, is one possible way to improve internal communication, however, before you take any action, we think it‘s essential that you know the theory properly.
Therefore, we want to introduce you to the most common internal barriers to internal business communication and give you some tips on how to overcome them for the benefit of your team and the company as a whole.
Internal Barriers to Communication
There are several types of internal barriers to business communication. From interpersonal differences to picking a less proper communication channel, several issues can influence the quality of internal communication in your company.
Physical barriers that can hinder communication include, for example, the type of room chosen and the physical distance between the people who are communicating. This may seem like a somewhat obvious factor, but it’s rather important.
When making an important presentation about a new project or any other subject, it’s important to ensure the best acoustics in the room, so that everyone can understand what is being said.
On the other hand, not everyone is comfortable communicating or giving a presentation in a large room.
Several companies have adopted rounded tables for meetings between smaller teams. This is a “cozier” model and makes informal conversations between employees less intimidating.
These internal barriers to communication are caused by devices or machines not working properly. With the increase in the number of employees working remotely, this type of barrier has become more evident recently.
Mechanical barriers include audio and/or video problems on the cell phones and computers used, failures in operating systems, and any other obstacle related to the equipment used in the day-to-day work teams.
This type of barrier is based on the existence of prejudices and stereotypes (homophobia, racism, machismo, etc.) that hinder the interaction between different elements within the company, due to the embarrassment they may create.
This type of internal barrier is probably the hardest to deal with, since it involves individuals’ personal characteristics and emotions.
In a company, we find a wide range of personalities and people who have a greater ability and ease of communication than others. Many of them are more reserved as a result of their emotions at a specific moment, or even their personal experiences.
Hierarchical and Departmental Barriers
Some companies also employ management processes that hinder communication between departments and promote a hierarchical distance between the company’s leaders and the remaining employees.
Excessive departmentalization prevents the effective circulation of information to reach all employees equally. This may compromise the understanding of the company's goals as well as the strategies outlined to achieve them.
Many companies have branches in different countries or outsource services to partners in countries where a different language is spoken. In this situation, there are not only language barriers but also potential delays in decision-making when employees are located in different time zones.
How to Overcome the Different Internal Barriers to Business Communication
There are several internal barriers to communication that you deal with, but not all are bad news: it’s possible to break them. Few people are born with highly developed communication skills, and it takes practice, studying techniques, and learning from mistakes.
To help you overcome the internal barriers to communication in your company, here are some tips you can follow:
- Invest in better equipment. Invest in computers with up-to-date operating systems and any other equipment needed for communication that is new and in good condition. This way you will be able to overcome any mechanical barriers to communication.
- Foster healthy practices and acts of kindness. Small actions like saying “good morning” when you arrive, saying thank you, and taking the time to, at least, talk to your team is a good way to set an example and improve communication between the various members.
- Carry out awareness campaigns. The psycho-social barriers we mentioned earlier are harmful in any setting and create real internal barriers to communication that must be addressed. Celebration days are a good way to naturally promote these kinds of campaigns.
- Expand the communication channels. Technology is constantly evolving and new alternatives to convey information are created every day. Take advantage of different means of communication such as ClickUp, Trello, Slack, and Zendesk to try to overcome some internal barriers to communication. In addition to apps that facilitate communication, you can also find apps that simplify task management, learn about them in this article.
- Listen to and engage your employees. Before making decisions that may impact the daily lives of your employees, make an effort to listen to their feedback and ideas. This way you will be able to encourage your team to communicate openly and clearly.
- Encourage communication outside of work. By fostering closer ties between your employees you are making it easier for them to collaborate in work settings. Hosting an annual team building activity is one way to do this. How? Find out in this article.
The Different Internal Barriers to Communication and How to Overcome Them - Final Remarks
There are several internal barriers to communication, but fortunately there are also many ways to overcome them. In fact, investing in business communication can be very beneficial for your company because it helps improve reputation, increase retention rate and profits, helps you acquire new customers, and improve interpersonal relations.
If you are recruiting and internal communication is one of your concerns, you should know that, at KWAN, we have a team of People Managers whose job is precisely to guide and assist each employee in improving their skills, both the so-called soft skills and also technical skills.
You can count on KWAN as your outsourcing partner for your team augmentation needs. Contact us! Together we will assess the needs of your project to create or expand your dream team.