Barriers to business communication?

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Effective communication is crucial for businesses to interact with stakeholders. Barriers can arise from lack of trust, technical jargon, unclear communication policies, and outdated technology. Appointing a director of communications can help overcome these barriers.

It is essential for companies to communicate effectively with customers, suppliers, investors and the media, and to communicate internally with staff. Communications can take place via the Internet and emails, videoconferencing or telephone, letters, brochures, periodicals and reports, or face-to-face through presentations, meetings, seminars and conferences. Barriers to business communication can arise from a company’s withholding of information, which can be the result of a lack of trust between management and external stakeholders. Unnecessary complexity and the use of technical jargon in advertisements can also be barriers to business communication, as can an unclear communication policy that leads to conflicting messages being given by different parts of the business. Internal communication with staff can be hampered by unnecessary secrecy or unclear hierarchy within the company, leading to ambiguous or contradictory messages.

A company may need to communicate externally to manage its image through marketing and brand building. This can be done through advertising, newsletters and participation in seminars and conferences. Company people can contribute articles to trade journals, and the company itself can issue newsletters for customers and the general public. Barriers to business communication can be created if many different teams across the company send their own messages with no central coordination. To avoid creating confusion in the minds of potential and existing customers, a company may need to appoint a media communications officer and team to manage external communications and whose authorization is required before any communications are sent.

Internal communications are much more difficult to manage because they occur throughout the day in the form of face-to-face meetings, email messages, formal letters and reports. Employees may receive numerous messages of varying levels of importance from people in various departments of the company or from their managers. Barriers to management‘s business communication with staff can arise from managers’ desire to keep some information to themselves as a result of lack of trust or fear of a backlash. This barrier can be overcome by appointing a director of communications who manages all communications with the team and ensures that messages sent to the team on sensitive topics are worded directly and unambiguously. In this case, it is critical that other directors and managers accept these communications as being handled by the director of communications and not attempt to independently send team messages, leading to further ambiguity and distrust.

Another barrier to business communication in the modern age can be technology. A business with an outdated or poorly designed website may find that the website is not effectively communicating a positive message to anyone, although customers and investors may view a faulty website as a sign of a faulty business. Likewise, a website that cannot handle the required traffic load at peak demand can cause website visitors to develop a negative perception of the business. Having employees who can create and maintain an effective website capable of meeting demand can go a long way in overcoming some barriers to business communication.

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