How to overcome communication barriers at work

In office we come across people with whom we have to work to get things done. Our ability to communicate with clients, customers, subordinates, peers, and superiors can either enhance our effectiveness or sabotage us. In an office every individual puts an effort over a period of time in building influential relationships. Communicating effectively and efficiently can help build a good dynamic relationship with your peers, subordinates and superiors. Studies have shown that the top and middle level managers typically devote 60 to 80 per cent of their total working hours to communicating.

The principal barriers to effective communication are: noise, poor feedback, selection of inappropriate media, a wrong mental attitude, insufficient or lack of attention to work selection, delay in message transmittal, physical separation of the sender and receiver, and lack of empathy or a good relationship between the sender and receiver.

Below Q&A session are answered by Amit Bansal, CEO-PurpleLeap

hanji asked, hi Amit Ji,Can you please suggest some good books to increase proficiency in English? Thanks!!

Amit Bansal answers, 1. Improve your communication skills by Allan Barker 2. Write better read better- readers digest 3. English Grammar by Thomson and Martinet 4. You can also read simple fiction or non- fiction novels if you don;t like heavy reading.

Jithendra asked, Amit Ji, I feel i am good listner but bad at communication. specially worried whether other will take in right perspective, or what i speak makes sense, or the thing which i would speak might already been known to other person. Kindly Help
Amit Bansal answers, First of all be positive in your approach and outlook. We should not assume that the others will perceive us wrong. They can get it right as well. To improve your communication other than reading ( grammar and vocab related books) and watching English news channels most important thing is to practice.Speak slowly and if you think someone has misunderstood clarify the point. If someone already knows what you said, there is no harm done.Don’t worry too much.

Rakesh asked, How to improve on business communication front?
Amit Bansal answers, Business communication whether written or verbal has to be crisp , concise and simple. 1. It is always a good idea to have a clear topic of conversation or discussion. 2. language issues can be delt with training. 3. Is is important to encourage listening skills rather than just talking. 4. Written communication pieces should be proof read for grammar and spelling errors. 5. Going slow when talking to someone with foreign accent is another tip. 6.It is good idea to use simple verbiage. 7. Documenting is another way to make ensure you have the missed pieces.

siva asked, I tried to watch movies with subtitles. but ,still my listening skills are not good.
Amit Bansal answers, Try watching a short English film with subtitles and if you don’t understand it in one go, watch it again. Try reading simple books first and use the language you learn while talking. You can also join some communication workshops .

divya asked, how can i communicate with people in office who spoke very worst against me by which i was hurt?
Amit Bansal answers, There are only two ways to resolve such things. One is to simply ignore such people. Second is to talk to them and discuss the issue. This can resolve any misunderstandings. If you feel uncomfortable talking to them alone, involve your manager or any unbiased person who has some influence as a witness.

krishna asked, How to improve the written skills? Can you please suggest me in this mattere
Amit Bansal answers, Language can always be improved by reading and speaking. While writing we have an option to run a grammar and a spell check before sending any document. This will help you to improve and proof read your document.

priya asked, Hi Amit, I am working as a senior manager in a reputed MNC. I joined this MNC some time back because my ex boss is in this org and we have a good connect. But few months back our org appointed a senior person who is now heading that business. My boss doesn’t get along well with this new person who is his boss. Because I report to my boss this new head doesn’t support me. He feels that I am not in his team. Kindly suggest different ways to handle this situation.
Amit Bansal answers, Again a very sensitive situation and should be handled carefully. Sometimes even at such senior levels people do carry a huge ego. Your boss might not get along with his boss for some reasons of his own but you are a different person. If you think you can gel well with your bosses boss without compromising on anything that you hold important than, there is nothing wrong in it. For examples: Sometimes we are friends with 2 enemies and equally good friends but the other two people should be mature enough to understand that. You can only be accountable for your behaviour , not that senior person’s. If all this worries you talk it out with him and explain that his work relationship with your boss is a separate issue and should not affect yours. Hope this essay helps in some way.:)

kumar asked, Am weak in english grammar how to improve writing & speaking
Amit Bansal answers, Few tips: 1. Communication related training or workshops. 2. Reading books on grammar and vocab. 3. Most importantly speaking in English as much as possible. 4. Watching movies with subtitles also help a lot.

PP asked, Whenever I do some good thing,my boss takes credit for that and he gives the pie of credit to his pet person,eventhough he is not involved.How can I solve this problem ?
Amit Bansal answers, Situations like this are very sensitive. It is always a good idea to communicate about such crucial projects on an email so that you have a record of all the good work you have done. Even if someone else takes credit for your work, that doesnt mean they know the work. They will not be able to do it themselves but you can. Your knowledge and experience will anyway show in the way you work. Anyone who copies the work or takes crdit wont be able to actually do it however you can. That’s your victory.

PP asked, How to please my seniors by communicating ?
Amit Bansal answers, Wel, most people like courteous and polite employees. By being a good listener and positive in communication, i believe most of the communication related problems can be avoided and congenial work enviornment can be created.

divya asked, how can i communicate with people in office who always gossips about me?
Amit Bansal answers, There are people who like to waste their time in idle gossips. You just be indifferent to them and continue being polite. As long as it doesn’t affect your work and performance, there is nothing to worry about.

hoggs asked, Hi Amitji. What needs to be done if a team member is throwing lot of attitudes and egos
Amit Bansal answers, Well, you will for sure come across such people every where you go. The most important thing is to not let their attitude affect you. Ignorning them is always the best approach however, if it affects you a lot, speak to them and discuss it out. Involve a senior management person as a witness to this conversation to avoid any misunderstandings.

Muthu asked, In conf call/Meeting it’s difficult to understand few peolpe prounnciation ..How to overcome this problem?
Amit Bansal answers, This is a very common situation that we face. Few tips are: 1. Hold the con call in a quiet room with no extrnal disturbance. 2. Ask the people on the call to speak slowly. 3. Make sure the equipment is working. 4. Take notes and exchange the minutes after the call to make sure nothing is missed. 5. There might be people who may not be good with the language, and may need training.

Satish asked, any specific news paper, you will recommend which can help in improving communication?
Amit Bansal answers, reading any English news paper can be helpful however, you should target the letters to the editor columns in HT, Learning English section in ‘ The Hindu’. Look for intersting articles in foreign papers like Newyork times that will improve your knowledge and language.

virendra asked, Sir, I’m working in new company as executive. Been reading books on improving my english, but still it is not better. Any other practical solution to improve communication
Amit Bansal answers, Reading ofcourse is a good idea however, things improve only when we practice what we read. Try conversing in English at work and with friends. Ask them to correct you when you go wrong and take the feedback positively. Watching BBC and English documentaries with subtitles is also helpful as it will tell you both the accent and the words.

Baby asked, how to talk with arrogant people at work?
Amit Bansal answers, You will come across all kinds of people at workplace. You should not let anyone’s bad behaviour affect you. If it is impacting you in anyway there are always solutions to resolve such issues like discussing it out on a one to one basis , simply ignoring them also works at times but if nothing else helps, then seek help of the senior management.

amul asked, my englis very pur. very little while speaking with colleagues. how to impruuv?
Amit Bansal answers, There are workshops on improving language and accent. Apart from that one should develop the habit of reading and talking in English as it is a global language.

ankit asked, Hi Amit, How can I improve my communication skills?
Amit Bansal answers, There are a lot of things that can be done to improve one’s communication skills. 1. Reading books. 2. If someone has accent or language issues, there are trainings to overcome that. 3. I also believe to be a good communicator one needs to be a good listener and free of any biases or prejudices. 4. Open communication is another way to make communication effective. 5. Main thing is to practice the above consistently.

aaa asked, sir, how to deal with difficult bosses who are bad with their communications?
Amit Bansal answers, The first step to effective communication is to give others benifit of doubt and by not taking everything they say negatively. Couple of things that help in office scenarios are : 1. Getting into a one on one with your boss and clarifying the concerns to avoid any misunderstandings. 2. Making sure any conversation that is important is documented on an email etc.


Chat Date: Feb 27, 2013


How to overcome communication barriers between subordinates, peers and managers

Topic: How to overcome communication barriers between subordinates, peers and managers

Below are the Q-A sessions in Rediff chat answered by Amit Bansal, the founder and CEO of PurpleLeap.


Dheeraj asked, what are the important communication points while giving presentation?
Amit Bansal answers, it’s a skill. My suggestion is take a course on presentation skills. Or you can read a lot of material available online for good presentations. You can also see a few you-tube videos of some powerful presenters.

rfgh asked, If the boss takes the credit always, and paints a not so good pic of sub in front of top Mgmt. Also if the Boss is involved in lot many corruption related matters, but still in good books of the Top Mgmt. How to deal in such situation
Amit Bansal answers, Emails are powerful documents at workplace. All significant work should be communicated over emails keeping in loop as many people who should know about your efforts. As for the corruption, I think again following proper processes help. Unless you come in line of the corrupt activities you really can’t do much but whenever you get an opportunity it’s a good idea to raise your voice regarding this, however with proper evidence.

ramsingh asked, How to communicate a boss who is showing partility in recognisation of for executed tasks.
Amit Bansal answers, Document work rather than taking it to the desk or communicating over the phone. Emails are powerful documentations at workplace. Ensure at least one more person in your department or another department is aware of the work that you are doing apart from your boss.

Dheeraj asked, How to acknowledge communication gap in the team and remove it? Since team have all type of person (good/bad/avg) what should to be taken care about (in communication part) while building, appreciating, guiding the team?
Amit Bansal answers, I think a good practice is to keep everyone in loop on all email communications. Discuss important issues in a closed room team meeting and do not miss out on anyone. Offer equal opportunity to different people and assign responsibility. Take accountability often and cultivate a healthy open door policy where people can walk up to you and discuss issues whenever they want.

Hari asked, I always fear that bosses may underestimate about my capabilities through the way i speak. How to overcome this? Otherwise
Amit Bansal answers; the only way to overcome this is by speaking about it. See you have nothing to lose but if you don’t speak you will probably be sitting with some very good ideas which may never get materialize. So give it an effort.

sunder asked, Hi Amit, is there a difference from being in control and being in charge?
Amit Bansal answers, both if are used positively can be every effective in managing people and situations. However there can be a negative connotation to it, when being in control or being in charge is derived out of sabotaging or manipulating.

Dheeraj asked, How to communicate effectively in team meeting?
Amit Bansal answers, There are certain etiquette that should be followed during team meetings. First of all there should be a clear agenda for the meeting which should be communicated to all the participants of the meeting. During the meeting everyone must stick to the agenda and an action plan must be created at the end of the meeting.

Tester asked, How to communicate effectively with lady boss at office?
Amit Bansal answers, I don’t think there is a specific or different way you would communicate with a female or male boss. Both have a personality and you need to assess a personality to communicate with them not the fact that they are male or female.

durgaprasad asked, How to communicate with the boss who wants to hide something and not forthright while dealing with the subordinates??
Amit Bansal answers, It’s not possible to discuss all issues with subordinates. Maybe an understanding which issues can be shared and which cannot be shared will help reduce the communication gap.

mgs asked, If your boss has got limitation in understanding,then how to communicate to him?
Amit Bansal answers, why do you feel that this person has a limitation in understanding?

durgaprasad asked, Ok. If you want to convey something true but starightforward thing to ur boss what should be the tone of communication??
Amit Bansal answers, polite suggestive tone with straight forward sentences along with enough evidence to substantiate your stand.

prakash asked, Hi, Amit, how to improve verbal communication skill?
Amit Bansal answers, Best way is to speak prakash:)…on a serious note….try reading aloud and taking every opportunity to talk or speak in front of an audience.

anuradha asked, Hi Amit, Are there any tips to keep everyone happy? Sometimes when you try to please your managers, you look like you are buttering them up and things just go bad. On the other hand, when you chat up with your subs, they have complaints about the seniors and if you join in you never know which of them will reach your managers ears…
Amit Bansal answers, Hi Anuradha, keeping everyone happy are an impossible feat. In my earlier chat also I said, focus on the task and help people understand what’s in it for them. You can create a benefit for each individual participating in a task.

Hari asked, I will have lot of thoughts but i always live in fear while communicating to bosses. please advise
Amit Bansal answers, Hari, what is the root cause of this fear? Do you think people will not take you seriously or is it a fear of communicating? You can practice your conversation before talking with the bosses. Anticipating all questions that might come up.

durgaprasad asked, Hi Amit, I have a question for u. What should be frequency of communication to client when u r not getting response on a subject.
Amit Bansal answers, Hi Durgaprasad, frequency depends on the gravity of the issue. If you are not getting any response even after 2 to 3 reminders or requests it’s better to call up and find the answer rather than over emails.

Rediff Chat Date: Sep 9, 2011