WORKPLACE / NOV. 09, 2014
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Top 6 Communication Mistakes to Avoid

Communication with co-workers, suppliers or customers is an important element of business. This could be through the telephone, email, social media, webinars, video conferencing or live presentations. However, to be effective, communication need to be done properly. Making mistakes in communication can upset your customers, destroy your reputation and lead to lost sales.

The following are some of the common communication blunders you need to avoid.

1. Not proofreading your work

If your communication is filled with grammatical and spelling errors, people are not likely to take you seriously. It is therefore very important to edit your work before delivering it. However, it would not be advisable to depend on spell-checkers since they don’t detect all the spelling mistakes. Instead, take time to read through your work. If you are not sure about any words, you could look them up in the dictionary. Another great way of finding errors is reading your work aloud. Alternatively, you could ask a co-worker to check your work before you deliver it.

2. Not preparing properly

Poorly prepared emails, reports and presentations will only end up putting off your audience. In addition, they can have a detrimental effect on your reputation. It is therefore very important to plan and prepare your communications thoroughly. Come up with an intelligent and credible message which will appeal to your people’s intellects and emotions. Cross check all your facts to ensure that they are accurate. Where applicable, use relevant and clear images. If you are sending a message via your site or email, make sure it is accessible on mobile devices. If you are making a speech, rehearse thoroughly until you develop confidence.        

3. Having a biased mindset

Nowadays, many workplaces comprise people of varying ages, religions, ethnicities, viewpoints and sexual orientations. As a result, it is very tempting to make general assumptions about customers or co-workers based on their inclinations. Stereotyping people is a hindrance to open communication and can have detrimental effects on your relationships with them. Therefore, you need to put aside your biases and relate with everyone with an open mind. Learn how to adapt your behavior to people from different cultures.

4. Using a ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ strategy

If you apply such a strategy to communication, you will end up ignoring some people’s needs, expectations and personalities. As a result, your effectiveness will be minimized. Therefore, you need to think about your target audience when choosing your communication method. For instance, while some people love reading text, others prefer a verbal presentation. Think of a communication strategy which will appeal to people with different learning styles.

5. Violating others’ privacy

Privacy is usually violated when it comes to electronic communication. For instance, you might find yourself sending a sensitive or confidential email to the wrong recipient. This kind of mistake can cause confusion and embarrassment, as well as result in legal problems. To avoid such issues, take time to double check the recipient’s email address before sending the email. It would also be advisable to type your message on a word processing document and then pasting it to your email. This protects you from accidentally including material from previous emails.       

6. Assuming your audience understood the message

After communicating with people, you need to find out if they have understood the message. For instance, when giving a presentation, allow some time for questions at the conclusion. You could also ask audience members to share what they have learnt from the presentation. When it comes to emails, encourage recipients to ask questions and give suggestions.

Everyone makes communication blunders once in a while. Avoiding the mistakes outlined above will improve your relationships at work and enhance your career prospects.


Image: iStock

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