Are You Making These Workplace Communication Mistakes?
Good communication is foundational to personal and business success. Building communication skills takes time and effort, but you can start by identifying and avoiding some of these common business communication challenges.
Delivering important news through email
Announcing layoffs or large staffing changes by email should be avoided. Have the conversation, especially with staff that is directly impacted, in person. Delivering these kinds of messages in person allows you to be able to read the feelings in the room, non-verbal communication and get a sense for if your message is being understood by the audience.
Reacting instead of responding
Reacting isn’t thoughtful – it is impulsive. Our impulses can result in responses that are unprofessional, angry and damaging. Take a step back and think through what you want to say, play through it in your mind and ask yourself what the intent is behind the communication.
Avoiding difficult conversations
If you avoid difficult conversations then you’re setting yourself up for larger problems down the road. Letting things build and poor patterns continue means that you’re not doing yourself or your colleagues any favors. Providing clear and actionable feedback with a productive conversation helps all parties move past workplace conflict. If you need more tips on how to prepare for a difficult conversation read my post here.
Not asking questions
Regardless of your role or length of time at the organization, you should always ask questions. Asking questions helps make sure that you actually understand what you’re hearing and it could also help others in the group who may be afraid to speak up. At the end of each conversation, at minimum, you should ask or confirm what your assignment or key takeaways from the meeting are and what the next check-in will be so that you can avoid future confusion or missed deadlines.
Having your door closed
This is a non-verbal communication mistake. If you have your door closed all of the time you are creating an atmosphere of secrecy and employees may not feel comfortable knocking and asking to speak with you. While you may need to close the door for confidential or personnel meetings, the door shouldn’t be closed unless there is a business reason to do so and it should only remain closed for as long as that business reason exists. Keeping your door open will make you more approachable and help your image within the organization.
Give your meeting or discussion your full attention. Do not type away at your laptop or be on your phone (even texting) while in a meeting or communicating individually. If you absolutely need to check something and you’re meeting individually let the other person know that you need to briefly check something, apologize for the intrusion and then return your focus back to them 100%. If you are distracted you are sending a message to the others that they aren’t as important as what is on the screen in front of you.