There are six crunching barriers to business communication:
1. Poor structure to communication 2. A weak delivery 3. The use of wrong medium to deliver communication 4. A mixed message 5. The message is delivered to wrong audience 6. A distracting environment
Let's consider each of these barriers to business communication in turn...
Poor structure to communication ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The structure of a communication is an essential factor in how well a business communication is received by an audience.
It doesn't matter whether that audience is an audience of one or one million, good structure is essential if a communication is to be 'heard' amongst advertising and marketing 'noise' of today's business environment.
So a poor structure to your message or delivery is therefore a major barrier to effective communication.
Weak delivery ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It doesn't matter how important or impressive subject of your communication is, if you deliver it without any 'punch' you will not get as many people to take your desired action as you would like.
A weak delivery is like very funny joke with badly-told punchline --- it is not as funny or as memorable as you remember original to be.
It is important to not get confused between delivery and presenter. I know of one English businessman, Richard Branson, who is a shy and reticent public speaker. Yet I have seen audiences hang on his every word.
Branson may not be a powerful orator, but his message and its structure are very sound.
The use of wrong medium ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You have to announce a temporary hold on non-essential stationery spending in your department. How do you communicate this?
Believe it or not, I know of one company who were seriously considering holding a major public meeting about this, with department head having to get up in front of entire department in staff restaurant and explain why her staff couldn't order disposable fountain pens for a while.
I know of one group that were thinking of rolling out a small internal initiative via an expensive multi-media cd-rom, one to be given to each member of staff.
In first case a simple memo would have sufficed; in second a simple announcement on their intranet would equally have gotten message across.
Similarly, an advertising campaign on local radio would be a highly ineffective way of reaching desired audience if message was complex and really intended for a narrow niche audience.
A public presentation, with 'obligatory' PowerPoint slideshow full of complex charts and data, would be wrong medium if message you were trying to communicate would be better served by a white paper, or some similar print-based format that allowed audience to digest complexities at their own pace.
A mixed message ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It is very hard for an audience -- whether an audience of 1 or 1 million -- to understand your communication if you unnecessarily obfuscate.
If you deliberately, or otherwise, confuse them. A HUGE barrier to business communication is ability of 'business-speak' to confuse and alienate its audience.
It does this in two ways:
1. By using terms and phrases that are 'jargon', meaning of which are possibly recognised but probably not fully understood
2. By trying to 'save time/paper' by rolling several different communication messages into one.
An example of latter is where a business communication mentions, in one communication, two or more completely separate events. Such as, for example, a memo that talks about what management expect you to do to conform to latest departmental stationery budget cuts alongside an events list of up-coming staff picnic.
Another barrier arising from mixed messages is when a previously-held stance is lightly overturned to meet some political or business expediency, then upheld again.
An example of this would be where acceptance of corporate gifts is not allowed, but then allowed if it a brand new client who has contracted a large amount of money to your business, then not allowed again after gift-giving and receiving season is over.
Or a company-wide budget cut that stops all business-class travel, but very senior management are found to be travelling first class.
Be very careful of mixing your messages, as mixed messages are a very real barrier to effective business communciation.