How many of these 10 communications hurdles have tripped you up?
Common pitfalls in workplace communications
Using e-mail to express concerns. Emails have limited capacity to convey tone and context, and this can often compound misunderstandings. Instead, go to the source, and work out problems in person.
Saying yes when you really don’t mean it. Instead, express your concerns constructively and offer alternatives as to what you think will work better in the situation.
Sitting by quietly and passively when people discuss issues with you. Instead, interact with the message you’re hearing and provide verbal feedback to check your understanding of the message.
Focusing on yourself - and what you like and don’t like - as you receive others’ messages. Instead, seek to focus on your speaker’s message and understanding what it means without passing judgment on it.
Pushing forward with your idea and disregarding concerns that other people may have with it. Instead, listen to and acknowledge the concerns and address them. Sometimes the best way to gain support for an idea when others have reservations is to show that you hear their concerns.
Responding to requests by immediately saying it can’t be done. Instead, emphasize what you can do and when you can meet the request.
Dwelling on what is wrong or who is at fault when dealing with problem situations. Instead, put your focus on working out solutions with others, and on how to make the situation better.
For managers - providing your employees with opinionated criticism when their performance needs improvement. This is unlikely to lead to effective performance improvements. Instead, provide employees with specific performance-focused feedback based on your observations.
Attempting to soften a point when addressing tough or sensitive issues. Instead, be direct, constructive and straightforward so that your message and its importance can come across clearly and respectfully.
Talking too much in sales situations. Instead, learn effective listening skills to understand the customer’s needs, and then speak to indicate how you can help meet those needs.