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Business Communication Challenges & How To Overcome Them

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Communication is crucial to the success of any business. Lack of a clear line of communication can be detrimental to your organization at all levels. About one-third of failed or delayed projects are the result of communication errors.

The ability to identify the most common business communication challenges in your company can help you prevent future communication breakdowns. Don’t let workplace communication suffer. You have the power to improve it in your hands. And we will help you find out how.

Summary

  • People, in their quest to achieve the development of their daily activities, have required communication to be able to organize their strategies and obtain their resources.
  • Good business communication contributes to the reduction of risks. In addition, it reinforces the credibility and reputation of the organization. This, in turn, reduces rumors and creates an effective corporate culture.
  • Business communication addresses the various target audiences with which the organization interacts. These can be divided into internal (employees and shareholders), or external (customers, the media and the general public).

What you should know about business communication challenges

In companies, good communication allows the improvement of productivity thanks to the correct understanding of processes and instructions. There is a strong relationship between successful employees and the communication they have with their managers or subordinates.

Importance of communication at work

Good business communication helps to reduce risks. It also strengthens the credibility and reputation of the organization. This, in turn, reduces word of mouth and helps create an effective corporate culture.

Conversely, poor business communication will create a difficult working environment and cause employees to lose motivation. This can lead to a reduction in your operational efficiency, which automatically affects your image and performance.

What are business communication challenges?

We communicate in all our actions. The way we address someone, the decisions we make, and how hard we shake hands, – everything is communication. Even silence, empty answers or lack of transparency say more about us than mere words.

With the rise of technology, we are faced with a scenario where access to information and opinion has become completely open and democratic. The challenges for corporate communication today are to understand new audiences, adapt messages to increasingly diverse audiences and channels, and know how to form part of a 2.0 ecosystem that is growing at lightning speed.

What are the reasons for poor corporate communication?

Poor leadership

It is not easy to assume the position of manager or team leader. This requires a variety of skills that may be innate, but must also be developed. Poor leadership can be one of the main causes of communication failures in your company.

For example, an autocratic leadership style is one of the causes of communication problems in the company. The result is a fear-filled work environment. On the one hand, it prevents employees from doing their jobs but, on the other hand, it also prevents them from taking advantage of their experience.

In addition, the leader’s insecurities can be confusing by presenting mixed signals. The leader may fail to give feedback on performance or simply promise rewards but fail to deliver. As a result, team members move forward as best they can without fully understanding where they are going, how, why and for what.

Excessive communication

It may seem strange to talk about information overload as one of the causes of communication problems in your company. However, when communication exceeds what is necessary, employees will get lost because they are not getting the information.

As we said, we live in the age of communication. We are used to constant media attacks. Every day we receive data from many different sources. However, never in history has there been such a magnitude of disinformation as there is today. Revealing too much data often generates confusion and makes it difficult to advance towards your objectives.

This can easily be extrapolated to the workplace. If your company regularly holds many meetings or uses many different media, your employees can be paralyzed by information overload.

Fragmented communication

In recent years, companies have introduced internal communication tools that didn’t exist before. Thus, reports and exchanges of views are now being formalized in written form via e-mail or joint documents. This change marks a major step forward in working together. Sharing thoughts or getting feedback has never been easier.

Fragmented Communication Example. (Source: Paula Tevez Varela/ Gitnux)

Employees’ objectives are not aligned with those of the company

Another important reason for poor communication in your company is the lack of common goals. As you know, organizational goals should be a guide. They show the way and guide action. Without a clear goal, your business will drift.

This is what happens to employees when there is no clear motivation to inspire them to perform their duties effectively. In many cases, your company’s goals may differ from the personal and professional goals of your employees. This contrast certainly affects not only internal communication, but also the productivity of your workforce and, therefore, the efficiency of your company.

Aligning goals is the best way to ensure that all employees know where they are headed and work hard to get there. If you want to get to the top, you should sit down to address the communication issues that prevent you from connecting professional and personal goals with organizational goals.

The company does not have a unified organizational culture

In an increasingly globalized world, companies often lack a unified organizational culture. The introduction of remote work has contributed to greater diversity in companies. While this has a very positive effect in introducing new ways of thinking and resolving conflicts, it can also lead to misunderstandings.

Multiculturalism. (Source: Paula Tevez Varela/ Gitnux)

Strategies to overcome communication barriers

  1. Decide in advance on an appropriate time and place to communicate so that you can speak in a distraction-free environment. If you want to convey a message to a specific group of people, and you are distracted, it is easy to miss an important detail of the message.
  2. Establish good relationships, create harmony, and communicate through an atmosphere of trust, attachment, or sympathy. Use a polite tone of voice.
  3. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to better understand their needs, concerns and motivations, and thus better tailor your message.
  4. Monitor your verbal and nonverbal communication (this is when people reveal more than they say through body language: facial expressions, posture, eye contact, and tone of voice).
  5. Give and ask for feedback. Feedback is the information sent to us by the receiver and helps us to understand if he/she understood the message correctly or not.
  6. Practice active listening. To hear well, in addition to using the senses, it is necessary to empty and free the mind. If your head is full of prejudices, biases, etc. you will not be able to listen to what others can do for you. Active listening begins with asking the right questions so that your interlocutors can express themselves.

How to overcome information hoarding?

One of the best ways to encourage people to share what they know is to make it easy for them to do so. For example, you can create forms for experts in a particular field to fill out, or allow SMEs to share knowledge in a format that works best for them.

It is also important to make sure that employees understand the benefits they receive from sharing their knowledge. In some cases, the benefit can be a long-term time saver: if a domain expert records the answer to a frequently asked question, he/she will not have to answer it many times.

How to overcome assumptions and misinterpretations?

As a manager or team leader, you can demonstrate clear communication so that assumptions don’t get in the way of collaboration. In action-packed meetings, repeat these steps before participants leave and make sure everyone understands their responsibilities and next steps.

When someone shares an idea with you, paraphrase the idea and ask if you understood it correctly. Ask questions for clarification if necessary. Schedule periodic status updates and broadcast on the secondary link side.

How to overcome the lack of feedback?

As a manager, be sure to meet with your immediate subordinates regularly and provide timely feedback. Be sure to share both positive and negative feedback. Focusing on the negatives will make high achievers feel unappreciated by your company, and they will look for a job at a highly regarded company.

When you need to share negative feedback, make sure it is constructive: be specific about what needs improvement and don’t criticize things the employee has no control over. Start a two-way conversation with a member of your team and give them the opportunity to respond and ask questions.

How do you overcome a lack of psychological safety?

Start increasing psychological safety by showing employees that sharing ideas doesn’t hurt and that sharing good ideas is rewarded. This needs support from the top. Leaders need to provide feedback and the best of them get the support teams need to make their ideas a reality.

Psychological Safety. (Source: Paula Tevez Varela/ Gitnux)

Conclusion

Strong communication is not easy. Fostering real relationships takes time, effort, and transparency. Communication mistakes make the job difficult because they create unnecessary conflict. But no one is perfect, and even the closest, most empathetic and charismatic people make these communication mistakes from time to time. It’s important to recognize them in time and prevent them from happening again.

On the other hand, if you do the opposite, avoiding these communication mistakes and staying closer to that person, you will gain traction and, therefore, others will want to be close to you. And this is the first key to success.

References

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4. Madrid O, Sánchez JC, Tejero B, Yurrebaso A, Lanero A. CULTURA ORGANIZACIONAL: DESENTRAÑANDO VERICUETOS [Internet]. Redalyc.org. [cited 2022 Nov 28].
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5. Ocampo MC. Comunicación empresarial: Plan estatégico como herramienta gerencial y nuevos retos de comunicador en las organizaciones. Ecoe Ediciones; 2011.

6. Kaplún G, Communicator M. THE EMERGENT AND THE RESISTANT IN ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION [Internet]. Scalahed.com. [cited 2022 Nov 28].
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8. Complete N. ICONO 14 scientific association [Internet]. Redalyc.org. [cited 2022 Nov 28].
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