I would like to give you a brief of barriers that may exist in group communication, techniques to overcome those barriers and enhance group communication and the role of conflict in effective group communication drawn from my personal and workplace experience of learning Team members.The first barrier to effective group communication is filtering information. Filtering occurs when a sender deliberately manipulates information so that the receiver sees it as more favorably than it is. Filtering occurs due to the fear of conveying bad news, the fear of resulting consequences and the desire to impress the boss. The most effective technique to overcome filtering is adopting a horizontal group structure rather than a vertical structure in groups.
The second barrier is information overload. Normally, people have a limited capacity for processing data. When people receive more information than they can process at a time the result is information overload. Therefore, individuals are likely to forget, ignore some details or simply stop processing information completely. From my workplace experience, the most effective technique of overcoming this barrier is continually asking for feedback as you give instructions to know what details the receipt has synthesized and what has been left out.
The third barrier is emotions. The feelings of the receivers of information when receiving of a communication will impact on how they will interpret it. The same message maybe interpreted in differently depending on the receiver’s mood. From personal experience, the most effective method of overcoming this barrier is first understanding the mood of the receiver at that point in time before passing information. If it is evident that the mood of the receipt is likely to impair rational judgment; it would be appropriate to postpone the communication.
Another barrier to effective communication is language. Although we speak the same language, different words denote different things to different people depending on the age, context and background of the recipient. For example, whereas the word cookies ordinarily mean a type of food, in information technology circles it means data placed in your computer from a web server. Groups normally comprise of individuals with different backgrounds, ages and professions. As a manager, you need to understand the jargon used by different groups of people to effectively lead groups. This barrier can be overcome by learning the language different groups use in order to tailor communication to suit the group when communicating with that group.
Lastly, another barrier to effective communication in groups is politically incorrect communication. This is the use of offensive words while communication which may seem to be targeted to a particular group. Groups normally comprise of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Therefore, use of racial slur or politically incorrect slur may stereotype, insult or intimidate group members. For example, use of the word ‘nigger’ to refer to African-Americans has always elicited emotions among African-Americans. Therefore, it is paramount to be sensitive of how certain words or phrases may offend others .
I hope you will enjoy your new roles.
Adair, J. (2011). Effective Communication: The Most Important Management Skill of All (illustrated ed.). London: Pan MacMillan.
Caputo, J., Palosaari, J., & Pickering, K. (2003). Effective Communication. Chicago: Dramatic Lines Publishers.
Fielding, M. (2005). Effective Communication In Organisations (3, illustrated ed.). New York: Juta and Company Ltd.