The importance of communication is often taken for taken for granted. After all in the modern age technology has connected the world like never before. However, despite all this technology to enhance communication effective communication is still difficult to achieve.
Effective communication is so hard to achieve for a variety of reasons. One is fear, people are often afraid to express themselves because they do not know what others reaction will be. Nobody wants to be the one to say something that offends someone or upsets the status quo, especially in a professional environment. Often times the outspoken one alienates themselves and this could cost them professional advancement. Some people are afraid to be ridiculed by others. Self doubt also has a major impact on communication. If someone is not confident with themselves then they will have a harder time placing themselves in a position that will expose their lack of expertise or other vulnerabilities.
Priorities and experience are also other possibilities for a breakdown in communication. Often the objectives of one individual may not align with that of another. In this case communication is lost because it did not fit the mold that the other person was accustomed to. People often tend to communicate best with people with common beliefs and assertions because it reinforces their own ideas and values. It is hard for a person to effectively communicate with others if they do not understand them. Understanding and being able to put ourselves in others shoes is probably one of the most significant reasons that there is a breakdown in communication. People that have trouble relating to others ideas may find themselves dismissing others opinions and arguments especially if they are contradictory to the notions of truth that they hold true.
Life experience often impacts how a person communicates. People develop opinions and behaviors on what they know and the environment they were brought up in. Things like religion background, family structure, and culture will have a significant impact on how people communicate. Even regions in the same country often use language differently even if the language is common. I remember the first time I was in the south I had trouble understanding some of the things I heard even though they were speaking the same language. These barriers often make it hard to effectively communicate. Since no two people view the world in the same way and people are constantly interacting with others it is only natural that some elements in communication are lost.
Communication is difficult enough but when foreign customs and a potential language barrier are added, there can be unexpected and undesired consequences. Also gender differences can play a significant impact in the way people communicate especially across cultural lines. Also there is a potential problem that the median used can create barriers especially if the median is not used as frequently in one culture. As the global economy becomes larger medians such as e-mail that are used common in the United States may not have the same effectiveness in another region. If introduced to India for example, where electronic communications are not widely used and people are unfamiliar with this median a possible breakdown could occur.
The use of jargon and slang poses a significant barrier to effective communication. This example can be seen by on a global, regional, and generational level. When communicating it is important to ensure that jargon and slang is not used due to the fact it can cloud the intended message.
I think the main reason that there are so many communication breakdowns occur is because the sheer volume of information that we take in is simply too much for us to process. A conversation is a good example of this because I cannot remember every detail of a simple conversation much less all the information I come across in the course of a single day. The examples above help highlight the barriers to effective communication. With all the potential pitfalls that can occur on a daily basis as we communicate with one another it is important not to take it for granted. Often time’s people may think they are communicating fine to find out later that they have not really understood each other for awhile.