barriers to effective communication

7 Communication Barriers

What 7 obstacles to effective communication does The SpeakStrong Method transform into opportunities?

barriers to effective communicationIf the SpeakStrong method is so great, and the technique so natural, why aren’t we all communicating this way already?

What prevents us from communicating according to our vision?

What obstacles keep us from collaborating without compromise for clarity, innovation and success?

The SpeakStrong method identifies and addresses seven obstacles to effective communication. They are:

  1. Lack of vision
  2. Lack of skill
  3. Fear
  4. Abdication to external authority
  5. Perfectionism
  6. Impatience, and
  7. Habit 

Change happens when the pain gets bad enough, the vision is magnetic enough, and the path, including steps to overcome communication obstacles are clear enough. Identifying the obstacles and the price of poor communication is an important step in developing effective communication skills through the SpeakStrong Method.

Are any of these obstacles blocking you?
What is it costing you personally? professionally? 

Don’t let the seven barriers to effective communication keep you from experiencing the full potential of your relationships due to poor communication. 

7 Communication Barriers Read More »

The “Yes” fast Communication Kata Replay

Boundaries define us. The term “no” helps us set boundaries. If you have a problem with saying no, one practice or kata you can apply, is a “yes fast.”

I talked about that yesterday in the Communication Kata webinar. You can download the slides and view the replay. You can also view the slides on SlideShare here

kataA kata is a practice or form that develops new skill. It’s also a way of aligning, or synchronizing different elements. Like who you are and what you can and want to do, with what’s being asked of you, as one example. 

A “yes fast” is a practice that overcomes one of the biggest barriers to effective communication – the inability to say no. I went on a yes fast many years ago when I realized I needed better boundaries. I went for six months without responding with a yes on the spot. Even if I knew for sure I wanted to say yes, in that six month period I would reply with something like,

  • Let me think about it.

Then I would come back with a yes. That practice broke the yes habit, and allowed me to say yes out of choice, not habit.

By saying no, I don’t do business that way, I developed the ability to say, yes, that is how I do business.

By saying, no, I won’t bend on that principle, I was able to know when it did make sense to bend.

By saying, no, I’m not willing to compromise, I learned to collaborate without compromise.

By saying, no, I’m not going to respond with a yes just because someone wants me to, I developed the skill to say yes when I wanted to. And to keep going until I and we knew just what that was.

A yes fast is one of many kata or practices to develop communication excellence. The webinar provided a framework for using the kata in a focused way. Can you use the kata without the steps that lead to their application? Let me think about it. Yes, BUT, you’ll only get a partial result. Or, in other words, yes, AND, if you use them in context, you’ll have a strong foundation and get better results. More importantly, you’ll get the results you want, not just random experiences. 

The “Yes” fast Communication Kata Replay Read More »

Go cheap for power or deep for truth

sscirclesmYou can go cheap for power.

You can go asleep and cower.

You can go deep for empowerment.

The world is full of short-cuts and cheap triumphs. I can exploit your weakness. You can pull rank. I can distract from the real issue. You can put me in a category and dismiss me. I can create a laundry list of your limits and get sympathy for the cross I bear dealing with you. You can blame all the barriers to effective communication between us on me. 

Or we both can step back and say – is this what we want? What price do we pay for our cheap victories? We can stop going cheap and start going deep. Going deep takes more time than going cheap. It’s also a very powerful thing to do. Effective communication skill requires the ability to go deep. To cut to the core of every conversation and find the opportunity to do more than score a few points that will keep an unhealthy dynamic going. Are you looking for ways to improve communication skills? Stop going cheap, wake up and go deep. Next week’s free webinar will give some great tools. 

Go cheap for power or deep for truth Read More »

Coming at it backwards: Unavailability notice

Chain barrier to effective communicationIt’s nice to know when someone is not available. But it’s more useful to know when someone is. Roger responded to Joe’s email with a question, and then proceeded to tell him the hours he would not be available to answer the phone. 

Of course, letting someone know that you won’t be able to answer the phone at certain times is far better than simply letting them try and fail to reach you during those hours. But speaking about unavailability is speaking about barriers. Informing of availability is speaking about openings. So instead of coming at it backwards and saying you can’t take calls at certain times, come at it head on and say when you are likely to be available. It’s a simple way to overcome a barrier to effective communication, and it’s much warmer and fuzzier. 

Coming at it backwards: Unavailability notice Read More »



Meryl Runion and SpeakStrong offer a variety of ways to learn The SpeakStrong Method and develop your communication skills and the collaborative potential of your teams and company.

Services include

  • Keynotes and breakouts
  • Seminars and workshops
  • Online individualized intensives 
  • Webinars
  • Communication retreats by request




  • $4500 1-1 ½ hour
  • $5500 half day
  • $6500 whole day
  • Half price in Colorado, second day outside of Colorado is billed at 2/3 of the cost of day one
  • Fees include a copy of the book SpeakStrong or PowerPhrases for up to 700 attendees


The SpeakStrong Method Intensive

  • $500 per person – For a limited time, you can save $300 on this fantastic service! Just use the coupon code ISpeakStrong.
  • Option 2 with 5 group sessions in addition to the personal sessions is $600


Services Read More »

Training: The SpeakStrong Method for Dynamic Leadership Development

A one or two-day training program for mentors, leaders, emerging leaders and anyone who wants to develop the leadership potential of others

by the author of Perfect Phrases for Leadership Development

In today’s economy, no organization or individual has the luxury of sitting on potential, pandering to misguided directives or complying when situations call for a sharp change in direction. Leadership is needed at every level of the organization – and the communication skill needs to be at an executive level no prods-books leadership-devmatter who is talking. 

The SpeakStrong Method for Dynamic Leadership Development provides the foundation, the tools and techniques to develop dynamic leadership skills at every level of the organization.  

Dynamic executive communication and leadership requires being decisive while being humble.

It requires being a visionary while being pracitical.

It requires being a pioneer while being a sustainer.

It requires being strategic while being humanitarian.

It requires being a communicator while being a listener.

It requires being a mentor while being a student.

It requires being a diplomat while being candid.

It requires being a politician and a statesman.

Dynamic leaders develop other dynamic leaders.  

This intensive one or two-day dynamic leadership training program begins by providing the foundation of leadership at any level – effective communication skills. The SpeakStrong Method provides the basis for continuous communication improvement required to excel in any area. 

The SpeakStrong Method is based on universal principles of effective communication with practical applications and specific phrases for the challenges of today’s business world. It is lean-aligned and kata-based for continuous communication improvement. It provides the tools to collaborate without compromise – as needed to lead in this fast-changing world.

Get the tools you need to effectively lead in today’s business world, no matter where you are on any organizational chart.

Who is this for?

Leaders and emerging leaders and anyone who can benefit by increasing their influence and developing adaptiveness.

Key points include how to:

  • Redirect efforts without stifling creativity
  • Boost employee autonomy
  • Bring out the potential in others
  • Ignite energy and enthusiam
  • Develop decision-making ability
  • Foster collaborative ability
  • Develop change champions

And much more. 


The SpeakStrong Method is aligned with Mike Rother’s approach to improvement and his codification of Toyota’s Improvement Kata in his book “Toyota Kata”. Toyota Kata systematizes Toyota’s method of improving, adapting and innovating. Like Rother’s methodology, SpeakStrong builds new habits through repeated practice of new routines that lead to excellence.


Agenda available on request 

Training: The SpeakStrong Method for Dynamic Leadership Development Read More »


Services include:

  • Keynotes
  • Seminars
  • Breakouts
  • Webinars
  • One-on-one leadership development
  • Communication retreats by request

All my programs are available onsite and over the internet. Fees are here.


Relationship by Agreement: Communication Commitments that Overcome Barriers to Effective Communication

stageCommunication standards and commitments exponentially increase productivity. Conversations about conversations build a foundation for dynamic interaction that allows for the free flow of ideas. This communication workplace training helps you:

  • Discover barriers to effective communication
  • Dissolve communication barriers
  • Create a shared vision of what highly effective communication means
  • Collaborate agreements that get the communication flow going
  • Implement agreements to keep the communication flow of effective communication going

    Whether this program is applied departmentally or results in new corporate communication standards, the outcome is improved internal office communication, greater synergy, collaboration and productivity.




    Beyond Gossip, Manipulation and Negativity. How to Create a Culture of Effective Character-Based Communication

    Every group has its own communication culture. In some, gossip, manipulation and negativity are rampant. Small-minded concerns block the flow of effective communication, and negativity stifles creativity. This session brings negative and costly communication patterns into awareness, uncovers the root cause of those patterns, and introduces Character-based Communication.

    What does it mean to be a Character-based Communicator? Why are Character-based Communicators so effective? How can you and your organization develop the qualities of Character-based Communication? These communication training classes tell you how. 

    This program:

    • Defines Character-based Communication
    • Differentiates between superficial expressions of ego-based communication and significant expressions of character-based communication
    • Applies the principles at the HEART of this dynamic style of communication to the very practical level of day-to-day interaction

      No matter what industry you are in, your ability to get beyond gossip, manipulation and negativity, and to communicate based on character, is essential to smooth functioning and powerful results. 




      Herding Cats, Waking the Dead and Other Leadership Challenges: How Dynamic Leaders Communicate to Get Things Done

      Dynamic leadership empowers others to operate at their highest leadership level. Sometimes that can seem like herding cats. Your team can be full of creativity, but severely lacking in alignment. Other times that can seem like waking the dead. Your team is dialing it in, and hasn’t found their creative potential.

      This session explains the Dynamic Leadership model, and how Dynamic Leaders get things done. It challenges leadership to develop Character-based Communication agreements and to implement a system of communication to ensure that you and your team are aligned and empowered.  Topics:

      • What it means to be a Dynamic Leader and transformational communicator
      • The qualities of Character-based Communication
      • How to establish communication agreements to create a dynamic communication environment
      • How to use PowerPhrases to say what you mean and mean what you say without being mean when you say it

      You’ll walk out of this session with a practical plan to transform your communication, empower others, and get things done.


      How To Create a Totally Integrated Performance System (Tips)

      It’s costly to underestimate the importance of performance management in business. The SpeakSTRONG Totally Integrated Performance System (TIPS) integrates the five main aspects of performance management into a seamless whole. First we ask: why is employee performance management important? We look at performance management methods. We then connect the performance management stages. This program shows you how to integrate:


      • Hiring
      • Job descriptions
      • Goals
      • Performance tracking and
      • Performance reviews

      to manage seamlessly. It not only tells you what you need to know, but gives you sample performance management appraisal forms, formulas and phrases to make a Totally Integrated Performance System a reality. Get the tools to tie every aspect of your performance management together.


      The SpeakSTRONG Method of Effective Management Communication

      The SpeakSTRONG Method of Effective Management Communication starts at the beginning with the first day on the job. It walks your management team through the management process with specific attention to communication. What does an effective manager say on the first day on the job? What does an effective manager say when coaching, running meetings, holding employees accountable and even when using electronic communications. 

      It’s a great primer for a first-time manager, but also a deepening for seasoned pro’s. We don’t just look at what a successful manager does – we look at the actual words that get results in every aspect of management.


      How to Develop Dynamic Leaders at Every Organizational Level


      This communications leadership development program focuses on leadership development and creativity. Based on a dynamic leadership model, it guides leaders to develop other leaders at every level of the organization. It helps trainers, managers and leaders tap into the creative potential of employees regardless of title. 

      It differentiates between leadership and management, solving the age-old confusion about the two functions. It highlights the qualities necessary for dynamic leadership, and concretely demonstrates how to draw out those qualities. 


      How to Communicate at the Next Leadership Level

      There’s a saying that if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it probably is a duck. If you walk like a Dynamic Leader and talk like a Dynamic Leader, people regard you as a Dynamic Leader. And if you don’t, they won’t. You may have evolved your professionalism into a leadership level, but if your language contains any old-overs, you will not have the respect or the effectiveness to influence like a leader.

      This communications leadership development program:

      • Clarifies what it means to be a dynamic leader
      • Eradicates victim language and
      • Develops Character-based Communication habits

      to clearly reflect empowered leadership. 


      The SpeakSTRONG Method for the Office Professional: How to Get Respect, Recognition and Results In Today’s Workplace

      Office professionals are increasingly doing more with less. They are being asked to step up and both lead and manage in ways they never had to before.

      This program is directed specifically to the office professional. It empowers admins and office pro’s to:

      • Be regarded as the professionals that you are
      • Establish communication agreements to keep the flow of communication
      • Get technical, office and general help
      • Give advice
      • Speak on your manager’s behalf
      • Manage multiple managers
      • Plan your career path
      • Make every day admin assistance day

      Get the respect, recognition and results you deserve. The SpeakSTRONG Method for the office professional will give you the approach and the tools to make that happen. 


      Current Trends in Business Communication and the New Communication Dynamics

      Women, gen Y, social media and globalization are transforming the way we relate, influence and succeed. These shifting workplace dynamics are changing how we communicate. Power and authority are giving way to influence and expertise. Command and control is giving way to collaboration and shared influence. This program teaches five new dynamics of communication that will increase your influence in the new world of work.

      It’s not your father’s workplace anymore. Let this program update your communication skills and take your communication to the next level. 



      • $4500 1-1 ½ hour
      • $5500 half day
      • $6500 whole day
      • Half price in Colorado 

      Custom Webinars

      • $500 75 minutes for standard program tailored to your industry
      • $250 for pre-program assessments and post webinar recommendations
      • Customized programs by request

      Public Webinars

      • Say Something Significant: Character-based Communication Goes to Work for You: Free
      • Six SpeakSTRONG Steps to the HEART of Effective Communication: Free 
      • Brand-Aid: How to Clarify and Communicate Your Uniqueness

      Advanced Public Webinars to be announced.

      Services Read More »

      Speak Strong Method

      The SpeakSTRONG Method: 6 steps to effective communication skills

      The SpeakSTRONG Method is a six-step system of character-based communication that works.

      The method is based on the qualities of HEART

              Honesty, Eloquence, Accountability, Responsiveness and Transformation.

      The SpeakSTRONG Method is effective at work and at home. You can download a free handbook about the SpeakSTRONG Method here

      Significance takes HEART. So does character-based communication.

      The heart of anything is its center – the heart contains the vital essence. Without HEART, words lack significance. At the HEART of a character-based message you’ll find, 

      1. Honesty
      2. Eloquence
      3. Accountability
      4. Responsiveness
      5. Transformation

      Character-based communicators are highly effective because they infuse HEART into everything they say. They refuse to be lulled asleep by empty phrases that induce a cultural trance. They find the vital essence before they speak. The SpeakSTRONG Method takes you to the HEART. I describe the HEART here. 


      Here are the details. 

      SpeakStrong Method Graph 

      When you speak, say something significant. Six steps to significance.

      Your eyes aren’t the only windows to your soul. Your words are windows too. When you say something, say something significant.

      The SpeakStrong Method starts by uncovering blocks to your dynamic flow of meaningful communication. It delves into the cause, cure and opportunities present in your communication challenges. It helps you find the words that get you and those you speak with unstuck and moving forward. It structures personal and interpersonal communication commitments to provide a principle-based foundation for clear, respectful and effective interaction. This happens in six steps.

      The six steps to effective communication are:

      The 6 steps to effective communication skill

      1. SEEK significance.  Stop saying things you don’t mean and ask what you’re not saying. Unmask and explore the HEART of the matter.
      2. TRANSFORM the trite. Translate complaints into requests, find the opportunities in problems and uncover the significance in anything small-minded.
      3. REFINE your phrasing. Pick and finesse your words. Tweak phrasing to add HEART-felt eloquence.
      4. OWN your words. Make your words your bond. Commit to communication standards and honor them. Walk your talk.
      5. NARRATE and relate.  Say what you mean and mean what you say without being mean when you say it. Say something significant – and whole-HEARTed.
      6. GROW with the flow. Let every exchange enrich you and the others that you touch.

      Watch me describe the six steps here.


      Here are the details. 


      The SpeakSTRONG Method will elevate and vitalize your communication

      The transparency of our current communication environment is changing the way we communicate. What worked before doesn’t work anymore (although many of us insist the old way never really worked all that well anyway.

      The six-steps of The SpeakSTRONG Method will transform the way you relate, influence and succeed. I have programs and resources for every level of your organization. Talk to me about how I can help you and your organization take your communication to the next level of effectiveness – and dynamism. 

      For information on SpeakSTRONG services including workshops, keynotes and coaching, see my Services page, call 719-684-2633 or contact me by email: E-mail Meryl

      Speak Strong Method Read More »

      Gen X vs. Baby Boomers: Overcome the Barriers to Effective Communication

      Gen x vs. baby boomers means war in some offices. Age presents one of the greatest barriers to effective communication in the workplace. It also presents one of the greatest opportunities. I facilitate all day intergenerational communication training that involves different generations interviewing each other. Some of the revelations might surprise you. 

      Gen X vs. Baby Boomers: Overcome the Barriers to Effective Communication Read More »