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Common Communication Mistakes

It can be embarrassing to make mistakes with communication. For example, if you send an email without checking it, and later realize that it contained an error, you can end up looking sloppy and unprofessional.

But other communication mistakes can have more serious consequences. They can tarnish your reputation, upset clients or even lead to lost revenue.

In this article, we'll look at 10 common communication mistakes, and we'll discuss what you can do to avoid them.

Not Editing Your Work

Spelling, tone and grammatical mistakes can make you look careless. That's why it's essential to check all of your communications before you send them.

Don't rely on spell-checkers: they won't pick up words that are used incorrectly. Instead, proofread your work, and use a dictionary to look up any words that you're unsure about.

Delivering Bad News by Email

Would you announce layoffs to your team by email or IM? If you did, you could upset everyone!

Written communication channels don't allow you to soften difficult messages with nonverbal cues (such as body language), and they don't allow you to deal immediately with intense emotions.

If you need to deliver bad news, do this in person, and think carefully about how you can do it sensitively, so that you can convey your message but minimize long-term upset at the same time.

When you deliver a difficult message in person, it's easier to pick up on signs that people have misunderstood key parts of your message, or that they've taken the information particularly badly. You can then take steps to clarify your message, or help people deal with the difficult news.

Avoiding Difficult Conversations

t some point, you will need to give negative feedback. It's tempting to try to avoid these conversations, but this can cause further problems – for instance, you may find that a small problem you "let go" soon grows into big one.

Preparation is the key to handling difficult conversations. Learn to give clear, actionable feedback, and use tools such as the Situation – Behavior – Impact

technique to encourage your people to reflect on their behavior.

You may also want to role-play

your conversation first, so that you feel confident in both your words and your body language.

You may find it helpful to make a list of words and phrases that you find it hard to get right (such as "your/you're," "its/it's," or "affect/effect"). Store this close to hand.

It can be difficult to see errors in your own work, so consider asking a colleague to look over key documents before you distribute them. Alternatively, read your work aloud – this makes it easier to catch typos and tone errors. Then, give yourself time to reflect on your document, and to make any final changes.

Not Being Assertive....

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