Removing Barriers to
The first step to removing barriers to effective communication is to
identify those barriers.
Many of these barriers are based on attitudes
and beliefs deep routed in our psyche and as such tend to be self
fulfilling. It's important therefore to be aware of this and, once
identified, work on removing them:
I'm not good at public speaking
For many, public speaking is their number one fear, coming before even death,
flying and loneliness. Usually fears about public speaking relate to unrealistic
expectations or your own self-confidence. You're not going to eliminate such
fears overnight. But there are some things you can do to lower that fear factor.
The worst part of public speaking is when you first stand up. You should
therefore remember the first few sentences of your presentation. This will get
you over the initial hump and into your stride. See
Your Fear of Presenting for more info.
Also hearing your own voice across a room full of people can be a little
disconcerting. So practice reading your presentation out loud before hand. Get
used to hearing how your voice sounds. See
Good Verbal Communication for tips and advice.
I need to be perfect
Years ago when learning to play golf, my instructor said to me: "Ian you're
trying too hard. Don't try to get a hole-in-one with every shot. You goal is to
hit a good shot in the right direction. Do that, and your score will improve."
And you know what, it did.
That same advice can apply equally to delivering a presentation.
It's unrealistic to remember every word, or know everything about every
topic, or get every slide "just so". Trying to do this will increase your stress
levels, which is one of the biggest barriers to effective communication. I know.
I used to spend hours preparing and worrying about my presentations, often
working late into the night. And you know what? All this did was make me even
Sure, you need to practice your presentation, but don't feel you are a
failure if you aren't perfect. Focus instead on the objectives and main topics
of your presentation.
I talk, you listen
Some presentations are like this. But communication is a two way street and the
best presentations I have seen rely on interaction with the audience.
Interacting with the audience (asking and answering questions, etc.) not only
helps you determine if what you have said has been understood, but it's also
more interesting for your audience as they feel more inclusive.
English is my second language
Depending on you level of English, this may not be as big a barrier as you
think. If you feel uncomfortable about delivering a presentation in a language
other than your mother tongue, you are best to tell your audience this up front.
You may even gain respect from your audience as they will appreciate that you
are doing this for them.
No one is perfect. Everyone has some barriers to effective communication. But
if you can identify where your weak areas are it's possible to work on and
improve them. In some cases it will require practice and hard work, in many
other cases it's about challenging inherent attitudes.
Fear of Public Speaking from
Removing Barriers to Effective Communication
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