Day 2 Lecture 3 Communication Barriers

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Communication Barriers


What Resolving Conflicts Requires

Five Barriers to Effective CommunicationTopics Covered: five most common communication barriersUsing jargonBecoming polarizedScreening out constructive feedbackBluffingIdea crushingVerbal BarriersTeam members sometimes unconsciously sabotage their own effectiveness. This can happen for several reasons:they use a lot of technical jargon, which distances peoplethey use ambiguous language so others won't know when they're uncertain about somethingthey block out criticism they don't want to hear from othersthey have a hard time compromising their points of view, which can cause group polarization, andthey shoot down team members' ideas without considering whether those ideas might work

Using JargonUsing jargon People often try to impress others with their use of technical jargon, which can include everything from acronyms to technical terms. If it's something that new team members or other stakeholders won't be familiar with, it's jargon. But this ploy usually backfires because very few people understand what's being said. In fact, it usually makes them feel isolated and keeps them from getting vital information they need. Whenever possible, limit your use of jargon. If you have to use it, be sure to explain your terms.

Becoming PolarizedBecoming polarized Teams can become polarized broken into opposing groups when one or more team members can't or won't compromise. When the team is split over an issue, communication between "camps" doesn't flow smoothly. Progress is destroyed, and productivity and morale are diminished. This often leads to increased levels of team conflict. If your team encounters polarization, defuse it through open discussion.

ScreeningScreening If anyone on your team seems to block out constructive criticism from team members, even if they have a valid point, this person is engaging in screening. Screening keeps you from feeling hurt, but it also keeps you from learning about things you should change to be a more effective team member. To counteract this defensive behavior, the team needs a culture of trust. And the person doing the screening must learn to listen to his teammates.

BluffingBluffing People often make up responses when asked questions they don't know the answers to. This is called bluffing pretending you know what you're talking about when you don't. You may end up giving people incorrect information, which could damage the project. Bluffing destroys your credibility, and people will stop listening to you even when you do know what you're talking about. To avoid this pitfall, encourage team members to admit ignorance rather than try to bluff their way through conversations. Do this by modeling the desired behavior.Crushing IdeasCrushing ideas A common communication barrier involves crushing ideas offering automatic and undue criticism of any new idea a team member comes up with. Crushers like to come up with reasons why something won't work instead of figuring out how to make it work. You've probably heard these reasons before "it'll never work," "it's been done before," and "the boss won't approve it" are all examples of crushing ideas. This can have a negative effect on team communication, and you might not always be able to change idea crushers' attitudes. You want team members who are committed to the team and who don't constantly crush the ideas of other people. At the same time, you don't want team members who are easily discouraged by negative comments either.


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