Avoiding Communication breakdown

Communication is so important and yet can be difficult to achieve. Two or more people, each with different thought processes, are trying to come to a mutual understanding. However, communication breakdown can result instead. When this happens, people disconnect instead of connecting with each other. This article looks at communication breakdown and provides some helpful tips for better communication.

why communication breakdown occurs

When communication breaks down

Communication is imperative when involving two people. We often don’t realize how to effectively communicate in which our counterparts will understand the true meaning of what we are saying. Everyone processes information differently. That in and of itself is something that needs to be taken into account. We live in a world and time in which everything tends to go at a very fast pace. Information is transmitted through multiple streaming outlets. Yet, sometimes the simplicity of talking to someone face to face is all that’s needed to truly identify where they are coming from. Effective communication can help us understand people better. This can remove misunderstandings and create clarity of thoughts. It bridges the gap between individuals and groups through flow of information and understanding between them.

how misunderstandings happen

We need to talk

When communicating, great care should be taken to ensure that no one is misinformed. The information should use language that the other person can understand and relate to. The use of difficult words should be avoided. The problem with lots of people is that when they are communicating, they are only trying to get their point across. They aren’t truly listening to what the other person has to say. Feedback is essential from the receiver, and communication will be defeated if one is not able to listen. We say one thing, the other person hears something else – and misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts arise. This can cause problems in your home, school, and work relationships. When you are stressed and overwhelmed, you’re more likely to misinterpret what the other person is saying. Learning how to separate yourself from the situation until you are calm is vital to a two-sided conversation. You have to give your full attention to the other person. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to express your feelings to someone who is distracted and not really listening. That is only going to make the other person feel as though they aren’t important enough to get your full attention, which leads to both parties being dissatisfied.

Learning to listen well

I'm listening

Listening attentively means not only just understanding what the other person is saying, but also the emotions behind what the other person is trying to convey. By communicating this way, you’ll also experience a process that lowers stress and supports emotional well-being. This sets everyone up for an effective outcome. Try to avoid interrupting someone. You can’t concentrate on what they are saying if you’re already forming what you are going to say next. Try to set aside judgement and prevent casting blame and criticizing one another. Make it your goal to fully understand the other person. Summarizing what the other person is saying back to them shows you are really listening. It also helps clarify what the meaning behind the conversation truly is. Practicing these healthy methods will only better your future relationships and endeavors. Mediation is a great way to address communication breakdown and better understand each other.

how we can help with communication

Keiter Mediation provides online mediation for those wanting to address the communication issues in their relationship. This can lead to better understanding and results. The first step is to set up a consultation, which is now available online.


In summary, communication is a big task that’s worth the effort and skills needed to arrive at mutual understanding. Mediation can help couples communicate better because:

  • Mediation helps both parties feel like they’ve been heard regarding what’s important to them.
  • Mediation can lead to greater understanding between the parties.
  • Mediation helps couples learn better listening skills.
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Dr. Robert Keiter

Dr. Robert Keiter is an Oklahoma court-approved family and civil mediator. He is a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM), the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), and the Oklahoma Academy of Mediators and Arbitrators (OAMA). Dr. Keiter serves as Program Coordinator for the Oklahoma Special Education Resolution Center (SERC). Part of his role at SERC involves mediating special ed disputes between families and schools in Oklahoma.
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