Natia Seegars | 8 MIN READ
Talk is cheap, if you are guilty of committing common communication blunders that thwart your success. Ineffective communication causes conflict and confusion that hinder productivity and professional relationships. When communication is bad, business is bad. Effective communication skills are required in any environment, and will definitely set you apart from your peers and competitors.
According to a survey conducted by Hart Research Associates, 93% of companies consider good communication skills more important than a college graduate’s degree. They also found that 75% of organizations are placing more emphasis on oral communication skills as a hiring prerequisite. At best, what you say and how you say it can definitely pay off in terms of building business relationships, landing an account with potential clients, or upselling existing customers. Be mindful of how you communicate with others, and make your words count.
Here are 7 business communication blunders to avoid:
1. “Let Me Look Into My Crystal Ball” - Fortune Telling
Stop predicting what others are going to say and give them chance to say it. Fortune telling behavior usually prevents others from expressing themselves openly and freely, this occurs by cutting people off before they can finish their thoughts or sentences, and acting like you know all the answers when in actuality you don’t. This is a huge communication blunder that interferes with business communication and building better relationships. Throw away that crystal ball!
2. “I am Smarter Then You.” Refusing to Get Clarification
In a research study conducted by Salesforce, 96% of executives cite lack of collaboration of ineffective communications for workplace failures. If you are unclear about requests or messages from your team, co-workers or superiors go directly to the source, do not assume. Making assumptions in the workplace can be costly and can leave negative impressions about your capabilities and skill set. Yes, you are smarter than a sixth grader, but let others come to that conclusion!
3. “Blah-blah-blah” - Rambling.
In an article by Time, researchers in Canada found that our attention span has decreased from 12 to 8 seconds. When a person rambles they lose the attention of others rather quickly, especially when our attention span is already limited. Often times, rambling cause messages to get lost in translation and people have difficulty trying to decode and recall what was said. Instead of rambling about a topic, have confidence in your speech, get straight to the point and say what mean and mean what you say. You can now say more with less, and still get your point across!
4. “I Can’t See You” - Avoiding Eye Contact
When someone is speaking, you should give them your undivided attention and that means putting your phones and other devices away for the moment. Giving proper eye contact shows others that you are available and interested in what they have to say. Exhibiting positive body language can build better communication skills and increase rapport. Let your eyes shine bright!
5. “Listen to Me” - Shouting or Talking Loudly
We are not aware of some of our behaviors but others are definitely alert and all ears. Talking loudly in the workplace is a turn off and interferes with job productivity and increases the noise level. It can be challenging when you work in environments where it is considered “open space” and with thin walls. You might also run into privacy and confidentiality issues when discussing client or employee/employer information. Learn to use your inside voice when communicating in the workplace and consider your surroundings before starting a conversation. You can now speak without shouting to the multitude!
6. “Uh...What was that?” - Not Listening
Active listening is a skill that can be learned through practice and patience. Ineffective listening skills often result in misunderstandings and your inability to interpret information correctly. Implementing better workplace communication skills is the solution. Active listening skills have been proven to build better relationships and increases your chances of career advancement. Improved listening skills also help you to be more effective in your role and how you understand and communicate with customers and co-workers. You can now hear and understand people loud and clear!
7. “I’m the Boss” - Unaware of Your Tone
It’s not what you say, but it’s how you say it! When communicating and delegating responsibilities to others you definitely want to be cautious how you sound and the tone of your message. Take your bossy hat off and act more human and relatable. Give others the same amount of respect that you would want to receive. Use a more appropriate tone in your voice and convey a message that others will understand won’t feel degraded or offended. Trade your bossy hat, for a team player hat!
Effective communication skills can be learned through self-awareness, practice and can be successful over time. With a little practice better business communication is within reach.