Effective Communication Stoppers

This week I’m in a tongue-in-cheek mood and thought I should offer some really bad advice.

Are you looking for a way to show your lack of interest and alienate those who have something to talk about? If so, here are three sure-fire ways to interfere with effective communication and really stifle your brand.

Offer solutions

When someone begins sharing information and ideas, especially when they are talking about a thorny issue, jump in to diagnose and solve the problem. Not only does this interrupt the other person’s conversation, it also discourages further discourse on the topic. When people begin to share concerns, telling them what to do is usually one of the most effective ways to show that you are not listening and demonstrates your lack of faith in them to manage the situation. Labeling, criticizing, and evaluating the speaker’s words or actions can create a similar response.

Dismiss people’s thoughts, feelings, or points of view

If you want to impede conversation quickly, make sure the person realizes their thoughts, feelings, or perspectives are mistaken. Being sarcastic, condescending, or patronizing while you do this ensures that people will not share their opinions again. In a similar vein, avoiding or ignoring others’ concerns is an easy way to demonstrate that you are unresponsive or uninterested. As an alternative strategy, being overly reassuring or sympathetic accomplishes the same results. Nothing stops conversation better than a simple, “Oh. You poor thing!”

Respond defensively

If you are being challenged or offered negative feedback, make sure you jump in and defend yourself immediately. This will demonstrate your clear superiority while making the person realize that it’s not possible they could have been right. Argue right away when someone says something you don’t like. If you stop and listen people may assume they have something valuable to offer and this will encourage more of their same, annoying behaviors.

By engaging in these three communication interference techniques, you’ll have more time to spend on your own and less hassle from people trying to talk with you. If you practice these techniques long enough you’ll also save money by not needing a phone because no one will call you anymore.


Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. Donna’s guiding principle is: Know yourself, respect differences, learn and grow. Follow Donna on Twitter and Facebook and visit her website.