On Sunday night I was on the phone with a friend when my acupuncturist beeped in on call waiting. I knew it was important and put my friend on hold. She said she had a cancellation and knew I was anxious to see her before our “usual” monthly appointment which was to take place the following Friday AM. She asked me if I wanted to come on Wednesday morning.


I had an important meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and told her I would do the best I could to move it. So I wrote a rather personal email to my colleague (who was going to be interviewing me) to see if I could move that appointment. Thankfully, I could!


So this morning, I got on the road for the 40 minute drive, anxiously awaiting a solution for some challenges I’ve been having. I got there on time, but she didn’t. She arrived 15 minutes after me and walked into the office and said, “What are YOU doing here?”


Did you guess it? She was making the appointment for NEXT week and I was hearing what I wanted to – that she had an appointment open today.


Obviously a mis-communication had occurred. One that brought with it disappointment and frustration.


Here’s the irony – just the day before I was working with 12 young Positive Leaders on zoom and teaching them Part Two of my Win-Win-Win Communications workshop.


Want to guess the title? Busting Through Communication Barriers!

Big DUH!


So herewith some of the barriers we talked about:


Unclear Language


Miscommunication often arises when two people define the same word differently due to their unique ‘Inner Dictionary.’ Ensure your words convey precise meaning because words shape perception, and “perception becomes reality.”




We often jump to conclusions or let past experiences cloud our judgment. I assumed she meant this week, she assumed I knew she meant next week.


Lack of Clear Expectations/Lack of Specificity


People bring different expectations to conversations, often leading to negative emotions when those expectations aren’t met.  To understand someone’s specific expectations, simply ask questions during conversations like, ‘What do you need from me? How often should I stay in touch? Where should we go from here?’ Or, in my case – Wednesday THIS week or NEXT week?



Defensiveness is a common reaction to perceived personal attacks, but it hinders open communication. Instead of instinctively shielding yourself, consider a different approach. Pause, ask yourself why the person is behaving this way, and shift to a mindset of curiosity.




Blame is lame! Excuses are useless! Has making excuses ever gotten you anywhere positive? Take ownership of mistakes. Empower yourself and your organization with your willingness to take responsibility for the whole.



Stress gears your body for ‘fight or flight,’ depleting your focus and energy. Listening and communicating clearly becomes challenging in this state. Develop your personalized stress-busting techniques. They say stress makes us stupid, and sometimes it does.


Forgetting to Express Appreciation


As William James wisely stated, everyone craves appreciation. Remember, as a colleague of mine used to say, ‘Unappreciated people won’t appreciate their customers.’


So here you have 7 of my favorite “Busting Through Communications Barriers.”


If you’d like 7 more with a little more explanation to each send me an email

JoAnna@ReturnOnHappiness.com with the words “Bust the Barriers” and I’ll get a handout to you!


Here’s to clear concise communications without blame or judgment. Imagine how smoothly life will go when you become a better communicator! In my case – I’ll save a lot of gasoline!


With gratitude,



PS – If your company is interested in my “Lunch and Learn Series” which includes two programs on Win-Win-Win Communications click my email and go right ahead and ask. And you know I love to hear your voice so go ahead and call me if you wish 561-279-0027 – It’s a great time of year for learning!



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