[Image by Manfred Richter of Pixabay]

We’ve all been there when no matter how hard we try it seems our communication isn’t working out or feels like it’s blocked.  Certainly there may be a host of reasons for this.  One option may be the result of the speaker’s efforts, the listener’s response, or a combination of each.  Any way you look at it, it’s frustrating and isn’t an effective means of communicating.  So what can we do?

In conducting some research I read an article by Nancy J. Foster, J.D., Director the Northern California Mediation Center. Among the articles she’s authored, she has one that is titled Barriers to Everyday Communication. Ms. Foster explains that based on feedback from her clients, common communication barriers are judging, sending solutions, or avoiding other people’s concerns. She goes on to give specific examples which include:

  • criticizing, name-calling, and diagnosing (judging)
  • ordering, threatening, moralizing, excessive questioning, and advising (solving the other person’s problem)
  • diverting, logical argument, and reassuring (avoiding other people’s concerns and allowing us to keep an emotional distance on uncomfortable topics)

Ms. Foster points out in her article that these high-risk responses are used 90% of the time when discussing a problem or a need. She points out that they don’t always have a negative impact on communication but may be of a higher risk when interacting under stress.  The reason for this is they tend to block the responses of the other person who may not respond in a constructive manner.

As a Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist, I encourage my clients to  be cognizant of these potential bad habits and strive to be more effective when communicating, particularly in the business world. It’s certainly quite natural to use any of these responses, however what you want to focus on is how the other person feels.  Knowing you can positively influence that is truly significant and takes patience and practice to master.

As always, I’m here to help you and your staff.  Please feel free to contact me at 518-664-6004 or dale@profitablespeech.com and together we can avoid blocked communication.