CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JAN. 03, 2015
version 2, draft 2

5 Negative Habits that Limit Communication Skills

Being able to connect with other people is important and unavoidable. However, certain habits may keep you from being able to engage with others meaningfully so you end up having bad relationships and poor interpersonal skills. Below are some of the traits that can inhibit your ability to communicate well with others.

1. Talking More than You Listen

Communication is not a monologue; it is an engagement through which different people can share ideas and feelings. In order to understand the other person, you should also be able to listen to their concerns just as you wish for them to listen to your own. When you dominate a conversation or meeting by talking a lot more than you listen, you’re unable to gain from the perspective of other people or purposefully correspond with them.

2. Not Paying Attention

It is difficult to effectively communicate when you’re not giving your full attention to what is being said. Bad habits such as fidgeting or drifting off in the presence of the speaker limit the impact of any message they are imparting to you. As a result, you’re unable to effectively respond or contribute to their query, request, concern, or idea.

3. Interrupting the Speaker

Sometimes you assume that you know what the other person is saying, so you interject them, because you’d rather not waste your time listening to what you already know. However, interjecting someone while they are communicating an idea or feeling is considered to be a rude habit. You exhibit a lack of respect towards what they are trying to convey and such interruptions lead to a breakdown in the message. You may end up confusing the speaker and a failure in communication arises when you’re unable to comprehend one another.

4. Lack of Transparency

Honesty is an important factor in good communication. It ensures clarity and awareness among people who are working together. Whether you have not understood a concept, or you’re unhappy with a particular situation, failure to clearly express such feelings results in a communication breakdown.

5. Inappropriate Use of Communication Tools

There are various methods of communication available for you to use to convey any kind information you wish. However, some mediums are more appropriate for specific functions than others. Sometimes the way a message is put across may confuse the receiver and even the sender. For instance, a memo can be used to notify an employee or colleague over a work matter, but you cannot send a text message to communicate the same, as this undermines the professional standards of the workplace.

Conclusion

Poor or bad communication skills tend to be a result of a general lack of understanding. Remember to always respond to a piece of communication, even if it’s a simple acknowledgement of having received a message; this makes the sender aware that you are acting appropriately on it. Aside from this, do not be afraid to seek clarification. Questions are a good show of concern for what the other person is saying, because you want to ascertain their instructions. Learn to be open to responses in order to correspond with clarity.

Image Source: TIGERS Success Series

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