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August 26, 2021 · 7 min read

Communication problems
“Communication works for those who work at it.” – John Powell

Communication problems are one of the arising problems in the 21st century, especially when technologies are escalating so quickly and offer more than ever communication tools to pick from.


A survey has been posted that included 400 companies with 100,000 employees each. The survey found, that a total loss of $62.4 million annually per company was lost due to poor communication. It was also found that even companies with 100 employees average a loss of $420,000 per year.


I have also personally encountered a lot of communication problems in workplace, personal relationships. To be fair, who didn’t? Reasons for that and the outcomes of communication problems can range drastically: from nothing to something tremendous.


However, our personal relationships also suffer from bad communication. Therefore, it’s important to analyze thoroughly and understand the causes behind communication problems and solutions how to solve them.

Why it’s important to understand communication problems?

Communication problems lead to inefficiency in workplace and heated arguments in relationships. A 20-25% Increasement of productivity in communication-efficient teams was found in a McKinsey report.


Also, 97% of surveyed CMSWire respondents have emphasized the importance of communication on their daily task efficacy.


In other words, a proper communication has a very significant value in establishing good relationships and maintaining and increasing a good productivity in workplace and relationships.

Communication problems

It’s important to identify communication problems as soon as possible to avoid all the negative outcomes it could bring.

Why we encounter communication problems as natural communicators?

  1. We believe we are naturally gifted on communication and it doesn’t require anymore improvement. A lot of us are confident that we can express clear message and that the receiver will understand it without any problems. As a consequence, we don’t explain a situation further and we get negative outcomes.


  1. We assume others know what we know. It’s especially very common in workplace and relationships after they are established for a longer period. With strangers we might be a little bit more careful, but with people that we know well (turns out we don’t), we are carelessly assuming that’s a common sense thing and everyone should know it.



  1. We fear changes. We don’t change our communication style because we are not assured if other people might like it or whether it would be more beneficial. Therefore, a lot of us have a fear of unknown which drives us to stay the way we are.
Communication problems
“When people talk listen completely. Most people never listen.”– Ernest Hemingway

People are indeed natural communicators and we believe that communication should be effortless and that’s the least thing we should worry about. However, we are often mistaken by this false idea and as a result we face negative consequences. Just like a talent to succeed, some work has to be put in. Without work, people with hard work will gradually become superior.

6 Poor Communication Outcomes In Relationships

  1. Arguments over small inconsiderable things
  2. Decreased affection and love
  3. Misunderstandings, such as not the right food ordered/cooked, not the right gift bought, etc.
  4. Much more/less communication between each other (it depends)
  5. Stress, anger, depression and other negative feelings
  6. Break-ups

6 Poor Communication Outcomes In Workplace

  1. Misunderstandings with co-workers
  2. Inability to do the assigned task
  3. Worsened relationships
  4. Stress, depression, anxiety
  5. Wasted money and resources
  6. Discharge from job
Communication problems

How to prevent and overcome poor communication?

Poor communication can be prevented by identifying communication issues early and taking appropriate actions to fix them as soon as possible.


If the communication problems are long-lasting, then it’s going to require more effort than if it would’ve been spotted in the early stages. That’s simply because the relationships have already escalated along with poor communication. That means to reverse the damage and habits will be much harder.


However, here we present 12 most common communication issues and solutions to solve it.

12 Communication problems and how to solve them

1. Passive Listening

If you or someone else is listening but no questions are asked, then it’s likely that:


a) That person is genius and doesn’t need anything else to know

b) Not interested in the discussion

c) Natural introvert


However, even if a person is an introvert, some questions definitely can be asked. I know this because I used to be an introvert. Regardless of that, usually it’s the case that the discussion might be boring and not involving a person.

Communication problems

Because of that, it might seem that the discussion is one-sided and is discouraging to continue. However, that person is just a bad listener and doesn’t put effort to do active listening. It improves the mutual understanding and it engages people to discuss.




Simply practice asking questions. There’s no obstacle for anyone not to ask at least a single question in 5 minutes. Try to associate the question with: “What? When? How? Where? Under what circumstances? What is the result/cause of it?” and similar. Active learning will become eventually natural.

2. Not Being Interested In The Topic

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

This point relates to my last workplace a lot. I wasn’t interested in my position and I just wanted to gain experience to move further in career. I didn’t feel engaged, neither the salary was motivating. I believe lack of interest in a topic is a very big occurring problem, but here’s how I managed to fix it.




Do some research about that topic at home or whenever you can. Try to find some interesting facts or something that would engage you. Certainly, one can’t be interested in every topic in the world. Sometimes, to be fair, you must fake it and show interest out of respect.

3. Creating A Communication Illusion

It could also be a case that the communication goes only one-sided. What I mean is that one person is talking a monologue and sometimes doesn’t even let interrupt for another person. It could also be that the speech has absolutely no value and is just a waste of time.

Communication issues



Let the other person politely know, that you would like to take a part in the discussion also. You can also try to shift the topic (if it’s not significant) to another topic and lead it from there and take control of it. Usually, it’s the ego that creates this communication illusion.

4. Difference In Technical Understanding

If a newcomer comes to a new workplace, it’s very likely that the communication barrier will be technical understanding. Sometimes, specific jargons are used which create even more communication problems. As a result, communicating with a newcomer becomes a waste of time and wasted resources.




Propose a solution for the company that there should be a basic guide/instruction for newcomers on technical concepts. In other words, if there’s no such thing, then the company faces quality difficulties that should be solved asap. The guide must be very precise and pack as much information as possible in a very little number of pages.


Similar concept can be applied in relationships. Simply, don’t hesitate to ask questions and learn more about the topic. Start from basics and go from there.

Communication issues

5. Assumption Of Understanding The Message

This is a very common mistake that all of us do from time to time. We assume that a specific concept is common sense and everyone should know. For example, if it’s obvious for you that invested money has more value than saved (liquid assets), other person might not know this concept.




Even if it’s a very simple concept, don’t hesitate to explain everything from the basics. Keep in mind to keep it as short as possible, because nobody wants to listen a concept for too long. In addition, it’s also exhausting and people can’t focus too long on one topic.

6. Intimidation Or No Respect

Another communication issue is either intimidation or having no respect for other person. Some people are intimidated by very successful people. Sometimes they can be intimidated by people that show no emotional expressions and so on.


In another scenario, there are people that are not worth the respect. They might be bossy, loud, not showing respect to other people and similar.


Both of these cases have something similar – people have trouble keeping eye contact.

Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating. - Charlie Kaufman



If it’s a successful person that you are having trouble with – that’s great! You have an amazing mentor that you can learn from. Before that, you have to learn to keep eye contact. It’s very hard for people to maintain a good talk when there is no mutual response.


If you really are intimidated, prepare questions before-hand. I can assure you that with time you will not be intimidated anymore. When I had my period of being intimidated, I used to stutter. Now, I don’t stutter at all and I can keep a normal conversation.


If you are dealing with a person that is not worth respect, simply avoid him. Undoubtedly, it’s better if you can just never see this person again.  Dealing with these people is waste of emotional and physical energy. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Have some self-respect too.

7. Interruption

Interrupting someone is a very disrespectable action to do. Interruption occurs often because of no respect to other person. It could also be a result of having too big ego – a person thinks that he is the most important individual in the room and everyone should hear him out.




Always listen a person before interrupting him. If someone interrupts you, kindly let them know that you want to finish what you were saying. If another person doesn’t understand that, you can either:


a) Stop talking at all;

b) “Fight fire fight fire” and interrupt him also.


It depends on you what character you have. Don’t let anyone push you.

Communication issues

8. Not Taking Responsibility

A lot of problems occur due to not being responsible for one’s action. Naturally, then someone else becomes responsible for a mistake or a certain action. As a result, that brings a lot of problems and arguments between people.




Talk to that person one-on-one. If you won’t talk, he will keep on doing that behind your back. You will be exploited until you will stand for yourself. If talking one-on-one doesn’t work, talk to the managers. If that doesn’t work too, quit the job. Such workplace is not worth the respect and drains emotional and physical energy.

9. Communication Driven By Emotions

“Make sure to communicate your idea quickly and keep it straight to the point.” – Paul Bailey

People tell a lot of unnecessary things when emotions are speaking instead of a clear mind. We have all faced such situation, whether we were a victim or an attacker. After those incidents, relationships feel like on the edge.




If you have noticed that you or someone else is uncontrollable when emotions are released, then try to control yourself and don’t speak based on emotions. Keep your voice as lower and calmer as possible. Wait for everything to smoothen out. When the situation is calm, analyze it.


Have a talk with yourself on a piece of paper or have a talk with other person with whom conflict occurred. This is not a easy-to-solve problem. Sometimes, a few years are required to completely remove this communication issue.

10. Inability To Formulate Message Correctly

This communication issue occurs often both in relationships and workplace. This happens due to paraphrasing, giving an indirect (not clear) message, using metaphors and similar.




Be precise and give a very short, detailed message. Don’t try to lengthen it and get  straight to the point. The longer it is, the more information has to processed which complicates the comprehension of the message.

Communication problems in workplace

11. Cultural Differences

Some cultures have different work, relationship ethics and values which result in different comprehension of the message. That happens even if the words and the message seem very clear.




There is no workaround about this problem. You will have to learn about it either the hard way or by asking questions and trying to understand the other culture.

12. Wrong communication tools

“To have good communication skills means you are able to make your point without a lot of fillers and stumbling.” Gregory Davidson

Wrong communication tools can have a bad perception of what kind of a person it is and might give a bad image. There are people who don’t accept some communication tools. For example, older generation has difficulties to adapt to new communication platforms, such as social networking sites.


Some people just have stereotypes and are against some communication tools. Some people are very bad texters, but they can communicate person-in-person just fine. Therefore, it depends on people.


Communication tools can be:


  • Person-in-person
  • E-mails
  • Phone calls
  • Messages
  • Video and web conferencing
  • Social networking sites




Try to figure out what people prefer to use as communication tool. If you have no trouble, adapt to it. However, if this happens in workplace, you have to make sure that a person is completely okay using your standard business communication tools.

Final Words

Communication issues can cause a lot of many problems both in relationships and workplace. It is important to define what the problem is and work on the solution.


Communication is the core of having friendly relationships and avoiding unnecessary arguments. It is highly underrated and people have a false perception that it’s not necessary to work on communication skills.


Communication is what unites people. A good communicator can avoid conflicts and wars. Therefore, work on improving yourself and be mindful of those 12 problems explained above.