Blockers to Effective Communication

Blockers to Effective Communication

When we surf the Net, we can find numerous articles on Communication Blockers as well as certain behaviours that have negative impacts. Many blockers arise from lack of self-awareness and unconscious habits.

Peter K Gerlack of NSRC Experts Council offers a free self-assessment worksheet that really helps you to find your blocks. You can find it at; http// It is an excellent tool to help us reflect and observe ourselves and others.

Personally, I get turned off when the other person has habits that arouses my emotions and prevent me from having a worthwhile dialogue.

Examples of Typical Communication Blocks

The sender sends a double (mixed) message

One or both people are constantly distracted

The other person often interrupts

The other person makes wrong assumptions

The person starts talking before you finish talking

The person denies or minimizes the current emotions

Focus too often on the past

Focus on oneself

Generalizing; always, never, often

Preaching, moralizing, lecturing or advising (this one really turns me off).

Sarcastic, critical, name-calling

Belittling others

Physical or emotional withdrawal

Nonstop talking

Arguing continuously

The list is endless. There are also many behaviours that inhibit communication. No wonder people have difficulty communicating.

Rolling one’s eyes

Crossing one’s arms

Deep and audible sighs

Looking at one’s watch often

Not looking at the other person


Telling the other person what to do or not to do

How many of these habits have you observed or been a victim of?

How do you feel when this happens to you?

What is your typical reaction?

There are possibly hundreds of communication blockers when we stop and observe them. They often hinder problem resolution.

In the next articles, I will dig into the subject and endeavour to describe the behaviours and provide suggestions for improvement and how to react when you are a victim of those bad habits. The goal is to improve the dialogue and prevent tension from escalating in the workplace.


Jean-Paul Gagnon, ACC, CHRP is a professional coach, certified as CINERGY Conflict Management Coach. He is also a trained practitioner in conflict resolution. He is a mediator in the workplace and a volunteer community mediator. He has over 35 years of experience in Human Resource Management.                    

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