How to Overcome Barriers to Communication

Communication barriers can make any kind of relationship more difficult, whether it’s one you have at work, a friendship, or one with your spouse. Breaking down those barriers will help you have a happier, healthier relationship overall. Work on your listening skills and approach each discussion with honesty and an open mind. Also, do your best to communicate as clearly as you can with the other person, and you will find you’re communicating more effectively.

EditWorking on Language Barriers
Speak slowly and clearly without jargon and idioms. It’s easy to get caught up in technical language and jargon when you’re used to talking that way around your team. However, not everyone will be able to follow that language, so it’s important to state things as simply as you can. That way, you include everyone when you’re speaking.[1]
Whenever possible, use the present tense and active verbs.

This rule doesn’t just apply to technical jargon. You should also avoid big words that aren’t common and idioms, particularly when you’re talking with non-native speakers. Idioms, in particular, can be difficult to cut out of your language, but they are equally difficult for non-native speakers to understand.

For instance, saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs” isn’t going to make a lot of sense to a non-native speaker, as it uses an English idiom. Instead, you might say, “The rain is coming down really hard outside.”

Provide pictures to make communicating concepts easier. Whether you’re having trouble explaining a difficult concept or you’re speaking to a group of people with different native languages, pictures can be the solution. Pictures and diagrams make it easier to get your point across, ensuring everyone is on the same page.[2]
For instance, if you’re trying to explain a new product, showing pictures or videos of how it works can be more effective than just talking about it.

Hire translators when speaking different languages is causing miscommunication. When you speak another language from people you’re working with, translators are often a necessity. Even if you speak a common language, nuances can be lost when you or the other people you’re working with don’t speak the common language very well. A translator or translation service can make your life easier and help avoid misunderstandings.[3]

Offer classes to non-native speakers in your workplace. If you have people who don’t speak the local language very well, that can create communication barriers at work. On-site classes during the work week make it easier for people to work on their new language, and in turn, that will make workplace communication easier.[4]
Even an informal class taught by someone in the workplace can help if you don’t want to hire someone from the outside.

This concept also works well the other way. If you have a sister office in India, for instance, offer classes in your office to learn Hindi to make it easier to communicate with your sister team members.[5]

Say things more than once for emphasis to introduce a complicated concept. When you’re trying to get a concept across, repeating it more than once will help it stick in the listeners’ minds. Even if you have no language barriers, many people need to hear a difficult concept several times for it to make sense.[6]
Try not to repeat the same thing word-for-word. Rather, re-state it in a different way, just in case someone didn’t understand the way you explained it the first time.

For instance, you might say, “Our new model shows social media is the best way to reach customers. On social media, you can engage people effectively, or so our research says.”

EditEncouraging Open Communication
Be honest with the person you’re talking to. Of course, the relationship with the person will determine how much you share with them. You’ll tell much more to a partner than you would somewhat at work. However, the principle remains the same. You need to be willing to be truthful with them and be vulnerable and open about your mistakes.[7]
For instance, with your partner, you need to be honest about what you’re feeling and how certain situations affect you. For instance, if you snap at your partner, you might say, “I apologize for snapping at you. I’m feeling upset about work, and I took it out on you.”

At work, you need to be open about mistakes you’ve made or problems you’re facing. For instance, you might say, “You know what, that was my mistake. I’ll get it fixed right away.”

Don’t filter the message. This is similar to being open and honest about yourself, but with a key difference. When you filter a message, you withhold key information because you don’t want to be blamed for it, whether it was your fault or not. You need to be able to deliver messages without removing information so that the other person can trust you.[8]
For instance, at work, you might not tell your boss about the bad sales report because you don’t want to get blamed for it. However, holding back the whole picture stifles communication and keeps you from working together effectively.

React positively when someone is honest with you. If you’re honest with others, they’re more likely to be honest with you. However, if you’ve exploded at someone in the past or blamed them for something that wasn’t their fault when they shared bad news, they’re less likely to talk to you about important issues. Also, they’re more likely to filter the message for you, and you won’t get a clear picture of what’s going on.[9]
For instance, maybe your partner has told you in the past when your kid gets in trouble at school, but you tended to explode about it. In turn, your partner may start filtering the information they give you because they don’t want you to get angry. Instead, try to react calmly to the situation and thank them for sharing the information with you.

Calm down before having a discussion. If you’re upset and your emotions are running wild, you’re going to have a hard time listening and communicating with the other person. It’s important that you both take time to cool off before you have a discussion. That way, you can have an honest, calm discussion.[10]
Just let the other person you need a little while. For instance, you could say, “I do want to discuss this with you, but I need a little while to cool down. Can we come back to this in an hour?”

Use “I” statements when discussing your feelings. “I” statements help take the blame off the other person. They allow you to express what you’re thinking and feeling without putting the other person on guard.[11]
For instance, instead of saying, “You always come home late,” which is a blaming statement, say, “I feel anxious when you arrive late.”

Follow up agreements with actions. Once you compromise or come to an agreement, stick to it. Show that you’re true to your word by following through with what you’ve said. Otherwise, in your next discussion, the other person will have a hard time believing you.[12]
In other words, be honest in your actions as well as your words. If you say you’ll be home at 6 each night, be home at 6 or call to let the person know you’ll be late.

Avoid continuing an argument just so you can win. Discussions shouldn’t be about winning. They should be about coming to a compromise or agreement you can both live with. If you keep holding on to the need to win, you’re just going to make both of you upset as you try to dominate every discussion.[13]
This process requires you to regulate your emotions and your competitive drive. If you feel yourself wanting to keep arguing, step back for a second and ask yourself if it’s worth it. What compromise can you live with?

Forgive faults in other people. No one is perfect, including you! If you are constantly criticizing other people for their faults, you’ll break down the roads of communication. No one wants to be around someone who’s negative all the time! The next time you catch yourself continually criticizing someone, try to stop yourself or rethink what you wanted to say.[14]
For example, if you’re always telling your partner how bad they are at cleaning up, you’re going to make them upset and frustrated. Instead, praise them when you see them doing something good! Then they’ll want to do more things like that to please you.

EditLearning to Listen
Give the other person your full attention. Turn off distractions, such as the television or the radio. Set your notifications to “off” on your phone and put the phone down. Don’t try to listen with half your focus. Consciously turn all of your thoughts to the person you’re listening to.[15]
Sometimes, you can’t turn off distractions. For instance, if you’re in a cafe with the person, you can’t turn off the music or the television in the background. In that case, do your best to block them out.

In addition, make sure you’re not just focusing on your side of the argument and what you want to say next. Try to focus on what they have to say and actually hear their point-of-view.[16]

Re-state and summarize what the person said. Don’t repeat everything you hear. However, do take time to check in with the person as they’re speaking. Give a brief statement or summary of what you’ve heard and ask the person if that’s right.[17]
For instance, you might say, “So, if I’m hearing you right, you’re saying you’re feeling overworked and stressed out by your boss.”

This shows you’re listening and helps you to make sure you’re getting the story right.

Try not to interrupt the person. Rather, wait for them to take a break before making a statement.

Ask for clarification when you miss things. Most people don’t talk linearly. They may go back and forth in time or not tell a story logically. If you feel like you’ve missed something, don’t be afraid to ask a question. That shows them that you care enough to make sure you understand exactly what they’re saying.[18]
For example, you might say, “Would you mind going back to that other part of the story? I think I missed something.”

Offer emotional labels for what the person is saying. Often, when you’re wanting to listen well, the other person is trying to communicate how they’re feeling emotionally. However, they won’t always do that in a straightforward way, so offering emotional labels back to them can be helpful in the communication process.[19]
For instance, you might say, “If I’m hearing you right, this situation is making you anxious and frustrated.”

Ask for time to think when you need it. Sometimes, when a person finishes, you may need a few minutes to analyze what they said. It’s fine to take a moment. You don’t have to respond instantly, but you should let them know.[20]
You might say, “That’s interesting. Give me a few minutes to think about that.”

Learn to express empathy. Empathy is when you feel for the other person for what they’re going through. However, you can’t connect with them unless you are able to express that empathy. Expressing empathy encourages connection, as you’re telling them you understand their emotion and you wish you could help.[21]
You can say things like, “I’m sorry you’re going through that,” or “I know that must be hard for you.” If you need to, work on saying them in front of a mirror and try to pick a tone of voice that seems the most empathetic.

Think about your nonverbal communication, too. You don’t want to be grinning broadly when you tell the other person you’re sad they’re divorcing their spouse, for instance.

You don’t necessarily have to feel empathy to communicate empathy. In other words, it’s fine to fake it, as long as you can do it well. You may not feel depressed by what they’re saying. However, it’s still important to them, and you should acknowledge that.

In a global world, some communication barriers are cultural. What means one thing in one culture can mean something completely different in another culture. Be aware that cultural differences exist and try not to get offended when someone makes a mistake with your culture. After all, we’re all just human.

EditSources and Citations
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Today in History for 17th March 2019

Historical Events

1804 – Friedrich Schiller’s play “Wilhelm Tell” premieres
1891 – British Steamer “Utopia” sinks off Gibraltar killing 574
1901 – At a show in Paris 71 Vincent van Gogh paintings cause a sensation, 11 years after his death
1966 – US submarine locates missing H-bomb in Mediterranean
1996 – “Bus Stop” closes at Circle in Sq Theater NYC after 29 performances
1997 – CNN begin Spanish broadcasts

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1920 – John La Montaine, composer (Pulitzer 1959), born in Oak Park, Illinois (d. 2013)
1927 – Nancy Sheehan, writer
1936 – Ladislaw Kupkovic, composer
1939 – Robin Knox-Johnston, British yachtsman
1942 – Sidney K Barthelmy, US politician(?)
1979 – Nicole “Coco” Austin, American glamor model

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1764 – George Parker, English astronomer, dies
1806 – David Dale, industrialist and philanthropist, dies
1902 – George William Warren, composer, dies at 73
1994 – Arthur C. Jacobs, Scottish poet, dies at 57
1995 – Ronnie Kray, English gangster (The Firm), dies at 61
1996 – Kenneth Jameson, art educationalist, dies at 83

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Do a St. Patrick’s Day Makeup Look

Many people use St. Patrick’s Day as a reason to dress up in festive green and gold and celebrate Irish cultural traditions. You can complete your St. Patrick’s Day look and stand out from the crowd with this makeup look that incorporates green eyeshadow, neutral lips, defined lashes and a subtle highlight!

EditPreparing Your Skin
Cleanse and prime your face thoroughly. A clean face is the best canvas for any kind of makeup look. Priming with a product for your skin type will help your makeup stay on your face all day. Products such as cleansers, toners, and priming lotions can help to protect and prepare your skin and should be applied all over the face in any place where you will be applying a makeup product.[1]
Most skin care products will have specific directions that vary by product. Try to select products that have formulations specific for your skin, such as oily, blemish-prone, combination, or normal.

Apply your foundation. Foundation helps to correct blemishes and discoloration in your skin. Follow your usual makeup routine. Applying foundation will give you a more professional look to complement your festive eye makeup.
If you haven’t applied foundation before or do not do it regularly, make sure you pick a shade that matches your skin tone. Apply small dots of foundation all over your face and blend in using a beauty sponge, large brush, or your fingers (after washing your hands) until you can’t see any lines.[2]

Apply a dot of skin-colored concealer to your eyelids. Blend it in thoroughly with your pinky or ring finger. This will create a neutral base for your eyeshadow so the pigments of the colors show up brightly, and it will help the shadow stick to your lid.[3]

EditApplying the Shadow
Apply a medium-toned green all over the lid. Pack the color from the pan onto a medium-sized brush and tap lightly to remove any excess so that it doesn’t fall onto your cheeks. Using the brush, pat the color onto your lid and carefully blend the color up to the crease of your eyelid in small circular motions.
It might help to learn the best ways to apply eyeshadow for your eye shape and practice a few times before trying a new look.

When it comes to shadow, less is usually more. Take small amounts at a time onto the brush and continue build on top of the color until it is the desired shade. For lighter skin tones, this might be a light green achieved after the first application, and for darker skin tones it may require more building to get the desired color.[4]

Blend a smoky gray shadow into the outer corner of your lid. Using the same process as earlier, plat the shadow just in the corner of the eyes and blend. This will give the effect of the lighter green fading into darker gray. Be careful not to apply too much of the gray or it will become very dark.[5]
If you find that you used too much shadow, blend it out with a brush until you have the desired look.

Apply a small amount of gold shadow to the center of your lid using a shader brush. Gently blend this shadow into the green to create a shimmer in the center of your lid. This shadow should be about halfway to where the dark gray begins. The gold will add a subtle shine and give you a ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ look.[6]

Apply a white eyeshadow mixed with light green to your brow bone. Blend it down to almost meet the shadow on your lid. The light shade will act as a highlight to your eye with a subtle tint of green. Like the gold, this should be subtle and fade into the shadow on your lid.[7]

EditComplementing Your Eyeshadow
Apply a light or dark pink lip stain or lipstick to your lips. Pink and peachy colors will give your lips a hint of color without overpowering or clashing with the green tones on your eyes.[8]
Choose a shade that complements your skin tone but doesn’t stand out too much. If your skin tone is lighter, you might opt for a lighter pink, or a darker pink for a darker skin tone. This will ensure that the focus of the look is your eyeshadow rather than lip color.

If you are planning to wear this lip color all day, it may be helpful to set the shade with a clear gloss.

Apply your mascara. For this look, use a mascara that is lengthening and volumizing for a more dramatic effect. If you want to opt for a more subtle look, use a mascara that is separating.[9]
To maintain focus on the eyeshadow, you should refrain from using eyeliner. It will cover some of the green eyeshadow and take away from your hard work.

Set your makeup with a setting spray or powder. Since you’ll be celebrating, a setting product will make your makeup last as long as you need it to without running. Simply spray or brush lightly all over your face to keep everything in place. If using a spray, let the product dry for about 30 seconds before touching your face.[10]

Be sure to blend your eye shadows. Colors should smoothly transition into one another. If the colors look blocky or very distinct, keep blending.

Remember that the focus of the look is primarily green, and the other colors should not overpower the green.

Make sure you are using the right brushes for the look. Preferably, you should use a blending brush and a shading brush, but there are a number of different options that will work.

EditRelated wikiHows
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Plan a St. Patrick’s Day Party

Throw a Fourth of July Party

Make a Meal of One Color

EditSources and Citations
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