Successful businesses use a variety of communication methods to keep people informed and processes operating smoothly. Those business owners understand that communication is a continuous process and watch for hurdles that can pop up at any point to get in the way of clear, accurate, timely, effective communication with employees, customers and the public. By knowing what to look for you can take steps to prevent obstacles and resolve issues quickly when they do arise.


Every person has a unique frame of reference that filters how they view the world. Differences in age, gender, ethnicity, religion and other factors all create different points of view. Diversity helps work teams bring more solutions to the table. But those filters can also cause the receivers to interpret messages differently than the sender intended or create different expectations.


Businesses must find ways to keep communication channels open with people who are away from the office, such as a remote sales force or people who work from home. Some companies deliver information to mobile devices or schedule regular meetings so employees can anticipate and schedule their trips and sales calls around them. The challenges are even greater for companies that do business globally. Cross-cultural communication adds different languages, business norms, distance and time zones to the equation.


Email, social media, the web and mobile devices allow people to communicate with people around the globe at warp speed. But technology can also present unique challenges. Information that is not face-to-face lacks the non-verbal communication and the cues we get from facial expressions and body language. Information posted online can be taken out of context, and the sender may not be able to clarify a message quickly. Technology enables groups to communicate through web conferences and teleconferences. But time zones, telephone static and other technical glitches can all create obstacles to effective communication.


New companies or those on a limited budget may not be able to compete with other companies that can afford more sophisticated methods to communicate with employees, customers, distributors and the public. They need to find economical ways to deliver their messages to their various audiences, such as word-of-mouth advertising, face-to-face meetings, traditional printed newsletters, bulletin boards and telephone conversations.

Untrained Work Force

Businesses that employ untrained workers or who do business with underdeveloped countries may not be able to rely on traditional forms of communication. Illiteracy or language barriers may be an issue, or employees might not have access to computers or mobile devices to notify a supervisor of an absence or learn about closings or shift changes.