Have you ever lost a big deal simply because of a typo? Or created a furore at HR by sending the wrong recipient sensitive company documents?
While communication mistakes like incorrect grammar or forgetting attachments can have a solution ready in retrospect – bigger mistakes can lead to serious consequences.
These include but are not limited to tarnishing your reputation with prospective clients, losing old clients and thus valuable revenue – or getting a bad name in the industry.
The article aims to make you verse at 7 common communication mistakes in business and at workplace while providing various tips and tricks to avoid the same.
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So what are these communication mistakes we have been prone to making at work?
They range from editing gaffes to confrontational body language.
While some limit themselves to documents and presentations – others spill into how you behave and interact with others at the office front, in meetings, and in the larger workplace milieu.
Let’s take a look at the most common errors that create a damper in the relationships we ought to foster at our office.
This is not an exhaustive list but definitely the more common miscommunication instances that need to be addressed.
If you want to stand a better chance at receiving what you exactly need – or even broker a compromise – you must start asserting yourself while not letting it slide into aggression.
Practice saying ” No” when you need to – it will help you in many stressful moments and conflicts of interest.
Using the correct words would help deliver home the fact that saying “No” to the request is not necessarily saying” No” to the person.
- Saying “Yes” to everything.
- Turn down requests gently.
If you do not give yourself the opportunity to think through a situation – you can get yourself stuck in a whole lot of mess.
The terse email replies, the occasional outbursts, the frustrated body language – all stem from impatience.
Emotional reactions such s these can damage reputations in a second.
Learn to manage your emotions if you don’t want to end up being brandished as someone who lacks self-control.
- Raising your voice – lest it is taken as screaming/ shouting.
- Responding quickly.
A sure-shot way to look careless and sloppy at your workplace is to send emails that have not been thoroughly edited for spelling, grammar, language, and tone.
Got a second to read your work aloud?
That’s the best!
This will help you quickly spot typos and incorrect usage of phrases, not to mention the proper tone needed.
- Relying on spell-checkers.
- Not asking for help; colleagues can often spot errors that miss your eye.
Trying to skirt away from giving or receiving negative feedback is a big folly.
These things then snowball into major conflicts and rip apart the sync you enjoy with your colleagues. Actionable feedback – that has clarity – will always be appreciated.
- Delaying uncomfortable interactions. The sooner you rip off the band-aid – the better for both of you.
- Make it a Me-vs-You situation. Conflicts are learning opportunities for everyone involved.
The “One-Size-Fits-All” strategy does not work ever. Especially not at the workplace where people of different sensibilities, viewpoints, and working styles are trying to create synergy.
The difference in learning styles needs to be addressed, and time, space, and opportunities provided for people to adapt.
And until they do – your communication needs to take into heed the needs and expectations of others.
- Using language that is not inclusive.
- Proposing solutions without discussions or feedback.
Much of the workplace banter and communication take place face-to-face.
Unless you have a soothing presence with the correct sharp & strong body language – without being intimidating – it becomes hard to create the workplace relationships that one looks up to.
- Avoiding direct eye contact.
- Interrupting the speaker.
- Making assumptions too soon and speaking out of turn.
The workplace needs you to follow the philosophy of politely differing with your superiors or colleagues but acknowledging the need to comply with strategies in the organisation’s best interests.
Not every discussion needs to turn into a bloody battlefield, as nothing is to be won, but a lot is at stake if you accidentally prove dominance.
You become a bigger person when you accept mistakes or create the space for others to be heard.
- Running away from mistakes.
- Being conceited.
Navigating the common mistakes in your business place can get tricky,, but we are here to help.
Understanding the nuances of workplace communication and the way to achieve the required finesse lets you hold on to potential clients, build better relationships with your employer/ employee and turn your business around to a thriving organisation.
Keep reading to learn of some easy tricks that let you avoid miscommunication.
To check comprehension – ask open-ended questions. These usually start with ” what”, “how”, and “why”. Once you let your audience explain what they understood, a strong sense of reflection entails from therein.
Draft it out on your desktop – the Word Doc. saves the day! Instead of clicking away on the mail body – this safety valve helps you have adequate time to double check content, email address, and attachment before you shoot off the mail.
The power of listening is what saves you here. Just giving the individual in question space and time to express themselves authentically – as you absorb it in – will build a beautiful rapport.
Having a demo presentation before your actual time to shine will help you address the gaps.
Get together with a bunch of people of different sensibilities, and you will get an honest opinion.
There are a number of online tools that help you assess if your communication content is compelling or not. Leave time out to edit and proofread – if it’s a mail, put effort into illustrating with pictures and evidence – if it’s a presentation, and lastly – rehearse multiple times if you are taking the stage.
Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. There is no shortcut to manually proofreading your content and getting the hang of its tone and language. Is it suitable for the target group in sight? Is it friendly, informative or serious, and bland?
Pause. Having a couple of seconds for the data to settle in helps you respond effectively without resorting to emotional outbursts. This is especially true in negotiations and business deals where stakeholders want their own agenda fulfilled.
A quick way to avoid the person in front not feeling attacked is to use “I” statements instead of “You”.
The majority of a message conveyed in person is in your posture, your stance, how you face the other person, and how you emote.
A slight tilting towards the person emanates trust, while crossed hands would make you look conceited.
Give a slight head tilt to imply curiosity and you’ll see interactions flourish.
If you notice yourself committing any of these mistakes – be kind to yourself.
Accept that there are areas of development and work towards reducing such errors. With time, you shall strengthen your arsenal of communications skills.
Humans err, and communication is no different. But if you avoid the most common mistakes, your reputation will be protected.
The key to good communication is to consider the needs of the audience.
So prepare every email, document and presentation carefully and take time to review them.
Your calm demeanour and presence of mind to think before you speak will let you manoeuvre many tricky situations.
Over time, you’ll find that avoiding these common communication mistakes will significantly improve the quality of your messages, reputation, working relationships, and job satisfaction.
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