Most conflicts between the sender and receiver arise because of communication problems. Lack of effective communication may lead to disagreement and misunderstanding between the two parties resulting from inadequate communication and can worsen the conflict. Further more; whenever there is a conflict, the involved persons tend to keep to themselves hence lessening communication between them. They may not relate as clearly or honestly like when there is no problem.
There must be two parties involved in communication, the one giving information and another on the receiving end, at times there may be a third party, like the media which conveys information from the giver to the receiver. Communication problems can arise from any of the three.
Many speakers may unintentionally fail to say what they mean hence the listener receiving unclear information. Someone may have a massage; he may try to put in words, which to the best of his ability is exactly what he is thinking. But several factors may hinder the intended information from reaching the receiver. The receiver can at times fail to listen carefully therefore failing to get the exact massage which was to be conveyed. This is normally common in conflict situations because people tend to think of whatever they are going to say next instead of listening.
Third parties can lessen or increase communication problems. They can clarify what the speaker is saying and cause the listener to get the exact information or be the source of more problems especially if they have a different agenda. Third parties can twist the massage to suit their own goals. They can as well take the role of a go between thus conveying information between conflicting parties. Problems occur whenever misinterpretation of communication takes place. Someone may say things that when interpreted to convey a different statement. Angry people are more likely to misinterpret information. In verbal communication, tone of voice may sway interpretation.
Failure to understand an opponent's perspective can also result to miscommunication. Depending on one's cultural background, religious believes or economic position he may have a different perspective. For example, culture sways how people express themselves, someone may talk openly about his feelings to anyone while another may only do that with a very close friend. Such dissimilarity may influence people from different culture to understand what is said differently. Therefore, it is important for one to understand perspective of the other party for effective communication to occur.
Lack of proper communication channels can also result in communication problems. Whenever there is a conflict, the two groups involved rarely have reliable ways of passing information to each other. This may be caused by fear of the other party or refusal to communicate. Therefore, a channel must be identified in order to allow transfer of massages for effective communication to occur. Poor listening skills, someone should listen carefully and actively. He should ask questions to confirm that he understands what the speaker means. Secrecy, when information which can aid in better understanding of a situation is hidden to all parties, communication becomes complex leading to further misunderstanding. This is rampant in business conflicts, since most companies tend to hide details of products or process.
Inflammatory statements can escalate communication problems instead of solving it. Threatening massages or hostility may amplify conflicts rather than defuse it. Inflammatory media can also contribute to communication problems (Holliday, 72). In conflict situations, people may break down communication links. For instance, if there were two parties, one or both may pull out their representative's .each group may minimize the amount of information they release to the other side. Consequently, this will lead to misunderstanding, distrust and fear. The important step to take in such a case is to open lines of communication. Try to re establish clear communication paths. This may require structural framework to initiate communication, hence the need for a third party.
The third party may meet the people engaged in the conflict and can begin the conflict management process. Initially he may begin with restoring the broken communication link. This may be done by making conscious effort to correct the misunderstanding between the two conflicting parties. Publicity before, during or after negotiation can complicate matters such that parties involved may pull out of the process. Failure to gather information that is required in order to solve the conflict, may require more time and can take a long duration, this can also lead to further misunderstanding. Whenever there is a crisis, the usual communication methods become ineffective.
In solving communication problems, the first step is to identify the actual problem, note where the breakdown in communication occurs. Is it due to Lack of proper communication channel or misinterpretation of communication? Determine whether it is the sender or the receiver who is causing the breakdown. Could it be the communication infrastructure interfering thus leading to ineffective communication? Hence, make a decision on how to approach the problem. Second, involve both the sender and the receiver since they are the ones experiencing the miscommunication.
Inform them where the problem comes from. If there is a third party, let them in so that everyone can brainstorm solutions to the problems. Implement strategies that solve the communication problem thus preventing further reoccurrence in future. Third, encourage the sender and the receiver to communicate with one another openly and reduce the damage that miscommunication may have had on all stakeholders. This can be done by giving an overview of the problem to everyone involved.