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10 Common Communication Mistakes - Avoiding Communication Blunders and Misunderstandings

Not Being Assertive

Assertiveness is about stating what you need while considering the wants and needs of others. 

Assertiveness also means saying "no" when you need to.

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10 Common Communication Mistakes - Avoiding Communication Blunders and Misunderstandings

10 Common Communication Mistakes - Avoiding Communication Blunders and Misunderstandings

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/common-communication-mistakes.htm

mindtools.com

10

Key Ideas

Not Editing Your Work

Spelling, tone and grammatical mistakes can make you look careless.

  • Don't rely on spell-checkers.
  • Proofread your work.
  • Use a dictionary to look up any words that you're unsure about. 
  • Reading your work aloud makes it easier to catch typos and tone errors.
  • Give yourself time to reflect on your document, and to make any final changes.

Delivering Bad News by Email

Written communication channels don't allow you to soften difficult messages with nonverbal cues.

Delivering a message in person makes it easier to pick up on signs that people have misunderstood parts of your message.

Avoiding Difficult Conversations

It's tempting to try to avoid difficult conversations, but this can cause further problems.

  • Preparation is key to handling difficult conversations.
  • Use tools such as the Situation – Behavior – Impact technique to encourage your people to reflect on their behavior.
  • Role-play your conversation first.

Not Being Assertive

Assertiveness is about stating what you need while considering the wants and needs of others. 

Assertiveness also means saying "no" when you need to.

Reacting, Not Responding

Strong emotional reactions can damage your reputation. 

Instead, try and respond calmly.

Not Preparing Thoroughly

Poorly-prepared presentations, reports, or emails frustrate your audience and can, over time, damage your reputation.

  • Set aside time to plan your communication thoroughly.
  • Create a credible, intelligent, and compelling message that emotionally and intellectually appeals to your audience.
  • Leave time to proofread and to finalize your presentation.

Using a "One-Size-Fits-All" Approach

You may overlook people's different personalities, needs and expectations with a One-size-fits-all approach.

Your communications need to address those differences as much as possible so that everyone can benefit from your session.

Not Keeping an Open Mind

It can be tempting to stereotype new colleagues or clients, or to make assumptions about them based on just a few pieces of information.

Set time aside to listen when you meet someone new. Give them space to talk about their viewpoints and take time to absorb these.

Assuming Your Message Has Been Understood

Always take time to check that people have understood your message.

To check that you've been understood correctly, use open questions that start with "how," "why" or "what." These encourage reflection and will help your audience to explain what they have taken from your communication.

Accidentally Violating Others' Privacy

Forwarding sensitive email to the wrong person, or sending an incorrect attachment can cause serious problems.

It might be helpful to draft emails in a word processing document or blank email, and then to paste the text into a new message. Only then select the recipient.

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Effective communication

... is imperative for every successful business. Poor communication inevitably causes misunderstandings, confusion and conflicts that hinder productivity and professi...

Effective Communication is vital in business
  • It helps to create effective brand messaging.  It determines how your brand is perceived and also builds trust with customers.
  • Customer service relies on good communication. "60% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience."  Microsoft’s 2016 Global State of Customer Service Report.
  • It enables positive team relationships.  Effective communication helps to unite teams and create a safe environment to express themselves.
  • It helps to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. It can help to defuse a potentially explosive dispute while bad communication can set it off.

Worst Communication Mistakes
  1. Using a One-Size-Fits-All Communication Approach. Tailor the communication style to the intended audience.
  2. Speaking More and Listening Less. Listen to what is said, how it is said, and to what is not said.
  3. Assuming Instead of Asking More Questions.
  4. Using Negative Tone. Choose words carefully to eliminate negative reactions.
  5. Avoiding Difficult Conversations.

  6. Reacting, Not Responding.

  7. Not Keeping an Open Mind. Accept and respect differences, listen without judgment and consider all sides of an issue.

Failing to Keep a To-Do List

The trick with using To-Do Lists effectively lies in prioritizing the tasks on your list. Many people use an A – F coding system (A for high priority items, F for very low priorities). 

Not Setting Personal Goals

Goals give you a destination and a vision to work toward. When you know where you want to go, you can manage your priorities, time, and resources to get there. Goals also help you decide what's worth spending your time on, and what's just a distraction.

Not Prioritizing

It's essential to learn how to prioritize tasks effectively if you want to manage your time better.

Determine if a task is high-yield and high-priority, or low-value, "fill in" work. You'll manage your time much better during the day if you know the difference.

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Adopt GTD Methodology in Email

think of every email you get as either something you need to take action on, track, or refer to later. 

Every time you open a conversation, decide right away what to do with it. D...

Create an Email Productivity System

There’s no “definitive” system. The best framework is the one that works for you. Ideally, it should model your work style, supporting the way you work. Bonus points if it’s low-maintenance, fast to set up, and adaptable as your work changes.

Some people like to use folders with specific actions (do, delegate, reply), while others prefer the deadline-driven approach (today, tomorrow, next week).

Power Up Your Email with Plugins

Some examples:

  • Undo Send: for when you accidentally press the send button.
  • Canned Responses: create a template that you can reuse with canned responses.
  • Send and Archive: Automatically archive an email after replying to it using the send and archive button.

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