7 Common Communication Mistakes

Entrepreneur and branding/leadership consultant Chet Harding provides the seven most common communication mistakes to help you improve as a communicator in your organization.

1. Avoiding Difficult Conversations

No one likes addressing difficult topics in the workplace. However, the more these conversations are avoided, the worse the situation can get — this can snowball into more serious issues down the line.

Even with the best employees, you will eventually need to give negative feedback or deliver bad news. To prepare for these conversations, practice giving clear feedback and closing with actionable advice. Chet Harding states that it is essential to approach difficult conversations with empathy and understanding, tone control will help alleviate the uncomfortable situation.

2. Staying in ‘React’ Mode

If someone has frustrated or angered you at work, it can feel tempting to automatically default to ‘react’ mode without thinking through your thoughts first.

Not only do the best communicators respond instead of reacting emotionally, but they constantly strive to learn how to manage their emotions at work to improve their emotional intelligence. Chet Harding advocates that the separation of emotion and logic will allow you to communicate thoughts clearly while providing you the opportunity to reflect upon your approach to responding.

3. Lacking Assertiveness

Chet Harding claims that assertiveness is one of the most important qualities of a good communicator. People who fail at being assertive will rarely manage to get their point across and state their needs clearly.

However, you shouldn’t mistake assertiveness for aggression. Being assertive also means considering the needs of others.

4. Having a Closed Mind in New Encounters

By failing to consider your colleagues’ unique background and experience, you are also inhibiting the potential for open communication with them, which will harm your relationships in the long run.

Keep an open mind when meeting new people and take the time to listen and learn everything you can about your colleagues.

5. Assuming Your Message Was Understood

As with stereotypes about your colleagues, assumptions about the way your words were understood can lead to huge communication mishaps. Before ending the communication, always ensure that everyone is on the same page.

You can do this by asking questions after a presentation or encouraging email recipients to respond if they have questions or concerns. Chet Harding stresses the importance of having a tone that is not condescending and clear, this will mitigate issues arising from shy individuals not asking questions.

6. Failing to Prepare

If you’re giving a presentation or sending out an important email, Chet Harding advises you to take the time to prepare thoroughly and double-check your work. Your audience will become frustrated if you are constantly presenting poorly-prepared information that makes it difficult for them to understand the information you’re giving out, not to mention failing to practice or a spelling error in an email will make you seem unprofessional and uninterested in your work.

7. Accidentally Violating Your Colleagues’ Privacy

Whether you’re sending sensitive attachments or a personal email, sending private information to the wrong person can cause a lot of harm.

Whenever sensitive information is involved, make sure to double-check everything, including:

  • The recipients’ email addresses
  • No sensitive information is in the email chain when forwarding to a new person
  • Checking your attachments for tracked changes or comments

Wrapping it Up

Chet Harding wants all readers to remember that improving your communication skills is not an immediate or overnight solution, developing these skills will take time. Remember to periodically evaluate your communication skills and ensure that you are not making any of the critical mistakes discussed. Adjust your approach every time you re-evaluate yourself, and focus on improving yourself.