Overcoming communication barriers in the corporate world


communication course

If you’re studying a communication course, one of the areas you’ll cover is that of the corporate sphere. This learning material will expose you to just some of the struggles that businesses can have when it comes to communicating. When barriers start to harm communication, collaboration becomes non-existent.  This can often impact more than just the employee management relationship. It also hampers productivity and profitability, fuelling the kind of conflict that can destroy a business.

These are some of the biggest barriers to corporate communication and how businesses can overcome them.

Cultural and language differences 

In South Africa, we have some of the most diverse cultures in the world. We also have eleven official languages. This makes communicating with a group of people through a message challenging. It’s the same in almost every other nation, where businesses struggle to reach their desired audience through a clear, concise sentiment. What’s concrete to one person may be a little more abstract for another. Studying a communication course will highlight this and reveal that the most effective way to deal with this is for management to learn a few key phrases in other languages. Alternatively, hiring someone who is bilingual that can translate in certain situations will help too.

Non-verbal messages

Sometimes what you don’t say is just as important as what you do. We’re talking body language like gestures and facial expressions. For example, a member of management sitting with their arms crossed might make an employee feel like they cannot approach this person with an issue that needs attention. These non-verbal cues are important to convey messages of support and attentiveness. This means that employees at all levels need to be mindful of how their body language comes across to others. This can be mitigated by hosting a training workshop on communication in the workplace. Management can also lead by example to reinforce this.  

A lack of listening 

Communication was never intended to be one-way. The act of listening is just as important as the act of speaking. In paying close attention to what is being said, the recipient ensures that the meaning is not lost. The sender of the message will also feel heard, acknowledged and understood. A focus on listening skills in the workplace is important and management can drive this home by encouraging staff to be more attentive to what information is shared with them. By encouraging feedback and discouraging the interruption of others, more people will feel empowered to speak and be heard. Others will also be more inclined to listen and really hear what is being said. 

Inconsistent messages  

Whatever you say, always ensure that the message is in line with your overall strategy. This is often the guideline for many large entities when it comes to communicating with their employees and their audiences. When a message is inconsistent in tone, it is easy to misconstrue. Businesses can ensure consistency by having a solid communication strategy and evaluating all communication at every level.  

Let’s talk about your future

Joining the world of communications is best done with a relevant qualification. At the IIE’s Varsity College, an IIE Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication imparts the knowledge and skills required to do just that. Students are taught by lecturers with real working world experience so that they leave ready for the challenges of their industry. To take life to the next level or to read more on this particular programme, please click here.

Varsity College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). South Africa’s top private higher education provider.