The biggest communication mistakes we all make in business (2023)

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Olga Rogacka

(Video) Biggest Communication Mistakes

The biggest communication mistakes we all make in business (2) 6 minutes read

The biggest communication mistakes we all make in business (3) February 21, 2018

The biggest communication mistakes we all make in business (4)
The biggest communication mistakes we all make in business (5)

The biggest mistake we all make, leading to countless other problems along the way, is this:we don't ask any questions.

What do we do instead?We accept.

We hear what people are saying and we think we know what they mean and how they feel.

Here is the sample dialog that happens at work:

A: "How can you be mad that Ben is 15 minutes late? It's only 15 minutes, we have the whole day ahead of us. You overreact.”

B: "Well, we have a big announcement to make today and we need him to complete a task. He probably won't make it in time and we'll have to delay the release."

Instead of judging that someone is overreacting because Ben is late, you can do thisask for a reasonbehind her stress:

A: "Why is it so important to you that he's here now?"

B: "Well, we have a big announcement to make today and we need him to get a job done."

A: "So what happens if he doesn't finish it on time?"

(Video) 6 Common Communication Mistakes in Everyday Business

B: “Well, we promised the media and our customers to get the materials before 3pm while they are still working. If we disappoint them once, it will be difficult to get help from them next time.”

A: „Ach…“

People guess. It seems obvious that they should ask, "Why is it so important that Ben is here now?" or "Why are you so stressed that he's not here yet?" But instead we assume a person is neurotic, probably because it's easier.

We don't ask questions, we accept

Suppose your manager tells you that you can finish work on a new role in the next week. They assume that next Friday will be fine. Why shouldn't it be, right? On Wednesday your manager asks you:

Manager: "So, when is the release? Are you ready today?”

Her: "No, it'll be ready on Friday. You said next week."

Manager: "Hmm, do you think Friday is a good day to release new features?" Or maybe customers go home and don't care?”

And so are youstart a conversation on another topic- When is a good day to release new features? Because your manager assumed you already knew Friday wasn't a good day, and you assumed he didn't care what day you pick as long as it's "next week."

And so disappointments arise. (Still wondering why you don't get a raise? ;)).

The reason for the mentioned misunderstandings could bethe lack of communication goals. Why are you talking about releasing a feature? Did you set a date or just talked about it and didn't decide anything? Draw conclusions from each conversation.

We don't try to understand, we judge based on our experience

The other thing based on assumptions and missing questions is that we judge people's behavior based on our experience. And we are often far from the truth.

When you're talking to your teammate or a client and he or she gets nervous easily - are you judging them by saying they're crazy, or are you looking for a reason?

There aremany reasons for people to lose their composurein the talks. Whether in chat or in real life. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're crazy. Maybe they didn't sleep at all and are irritated? Classic. Maybe you have a hard time at home with your child? Classic. Or maybe they are just very hungry? Very classic.

(Video) Biggest Business Communication Mistake | Business Consultant

There should be a willingness to understand another's point of view and behaviorone of the main goals of communication.

Suppose your manager is annoying you because he or she wants you to do something you don't like? And they know you don't like it? Well, your manager probably has his own boss and wants to do what is best for the company. It's not always personal. Before you judge and say you would never be a manager who lets people do what they don't like, put yourself in their shoes and how hard they must work.

Life would be great if we could all just do what we love, but sometimes everyone needs to expand their responsibilities.

If that still doesn't do you justice, speak to the manager and ask:

You: "You probably know that I don't like doing these things and that I'm better at something else. Can you tell me why this task is so important so that I can understand more?”

Manager: “Well, it turns out that we have foreign investors visiting us and we have to do our best to show them this and that. Hopefully we can go back to happier employees afterwards.”

Makes a difference, doesn't it? Sometimes you just have to ask.

self-confidence in communication

Most of the problems we have when working with teammates, managers and clients are caused by a lack of communication. And as if that wasn't enough, once we start talking, we also need to find the common ground, becauseWe all have different communication styles.

Some people are direct, they write and say simple sentences and expect quick answers. The others are sensitive and describe their feelings in long sentences - and are easily offended, mostly online - because that's where the above misunderstandings are most common. Read more about the postProblems with online communication: what to think about.

When these two communication worlds collide, they can cause problems and stress. I can't think of a better way to make it work than by asking questions and not being afraid to talk about how you're feeling.

Let's say a customer is mad at you because it takes a long time to resolve the issue.

Explain to them that you're not a failure like they claim - you're just handling a few cases at a time and trying your best. Don't hold grudges. If someone talks to you like this, they probably have more problems than you can imagine. Try to understand them.

And again, you can always ask.

(Video) How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed | Daniel Levitin

Support Agent: "Why is it so important for you to solve this second you're yelling at me?"

Customer: "Because I'm leaving in 15 minutes and won't have internet. You must add this new credit card for my program to work. I am very stressed, sorry.”

Support agent: "Okay, in that case I'll forward the case to my colleague who can help you immediately."

Customer: "Thank you, you are a lifesaver."

Support Agent: "You know, I'm just doing my job."

I think knowing the insight makes all the difference. They don't see a customer as someone who is a devil who makes your day a nightmare. You begin to see this person as someone in need and your job is to help them. And that changes your tone inpositive communication.

to avoid communication errors

I realize that in my sample conversations I gave the perfect scenarios for everyone. Of course, it doesn't always work that way in real life.

But you can either find yourself on the right path of communication - show others that you keep your cool and are always ready to find common ground. Or you can get lost in the thick of emotions and assumptions.

What are you going to do? I asked, now it's your turn.

The biggest communication mistakes we all make in business (6)

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The biggest communication mistakes we all make in business (7)


What is the common mistake in communication? ›

Everyone makes communication mistakes from time to time. However, you'll protect your reputation if you avoid the most common errors. These include not editing your work, accidentally violating people's privacy when forwarding emails, and not being assertive.

What are the main challenges facing business communication today? ›

Some indicators are lack of cooperation, unreached goals, high level of mistakes, casting blame, low motivation, low productivity, unsatisfied customers, arguments, high employee turnover and loss of clients. All of these can be symptoms of poor or problematic communication.

What is an example of poor communication in business? ›

Intentionally using email and memos to communicate exclusively without ever speaking face to face with someone in the office is a form of the problem. Purposely avoiding a project or working with someone on a specific task without providing reasoning is also a form of passive-aggressive behavior in the workplace.

What is the most common crisis communication mistake? ›

Delayed response

The most common communications mistake in a crisis is failing to weigh in on an issue in a timely fashion. Even if you don't have all the answers, say something. Organizations are often paralyzed by inaction, afraid to respond for fear of saying the wrong thing.

What are the 7 barriers to communication? ›

Barriers to Effective Communication
  • Semantic barriers.
  • Psychological barriers.
  • Organisational barriers.
  • Cultural barriers.
  • Physical barriers.
  • Physiological barriers.

What are the 5 barriers to effective communication? ›

Common Barriers to Effective Communication
  • Dissatisfaction or Disinterest With One's Job. ...
  • Inability to Listen to Others. ...
  • Lack of Transparency & Trust. ...
  • Communication Styles (when they differ) ...
  • Conflicts in the Workplace. ...
  • Cultural Differences & Language.
Jul 18, 2018

What is the most common business communication barrier? ›

Here are some of the most common and impactful communication barriers in business:
  • Incorrect or inadequate communication channels.
  • Language differences.
  • Cultural differences.
  • Departmental differences.
  • Mismatched communication styles.
  • Excessively complex messaging.
  • Lack of context.
  • Rushed communication.
Sep 8, 2021

What are the key 3 challenges facing most businesses? ›

Key challenges faced by large organizations
  • Challenge #1: Leadership. As leaders get further away, employees lose confidence and motivation. ...
  • Challenge #2: Flexibility. Larger organizations provide less of the work flexibility that employees crave. ...
  • Challenge #3: Autonomy. Employees in larger organizations have less autonomy.

What are the 4 challenges to communication? ›

There are four big features of how our minds work that get in the way of sound communication:
  • We assume that others should know. ...
  • We panic. ...
  • We seek attention in regrettable ways. ...
  • We sulk.

What makes business communication difficult? ›

Common Barriers to Effective Communication:

Over-complicated, unfamiliar and/or technical terms. Emotional barriers and taboos. Some people may find it difficult to express their emotions and some topics may be completely 'off-limits' or taboo.

What are some common causes of communication breakdown in business? ›

What are the causes of communication breakdown in business?
  • Not having a communication plan. ...
  • A hierarchical organization. ...
  • Unopened line of communication with the management. ...
  • Sending irrelevant information. ...
  • No platform for workplace communication. ...
  • Incorrect ways of communication. ...
  • Managers keep employees out of the loop.
Sep 13, 2020

What are conflicts in business communication? ›

In particular, three types of conflict are common in organizations: task conflict, relationship conflict, and value conflict. Although open communication, collaboration, and respect will go a long way toward conflict management, the three types of conflict can also benefit from targeted conflict-resolution tactics.

What are 3 examples of negative communication? ›

Don't let these eight communication bad habits define you.
  • Avoiding Eye Contact. ...
  • Not Listening. ...
  • Interrupting. ...
  • Using Verbal Placeholders. ...
  • Negativity. ...
  • Gossiping. ...
  • Not Responding to Email. ...
  • Lacking Contact Info in Signature Line.
Jan 16, 2019

What is an example of misleading form of communication? ›

A television advertisement in which a poker player cheats, thereby implying that an insurance company will engage in dishonest practices when resolving insurance claims. The lawyers with the firm each received a private reprimand.

What are the types of communication errors? ›

9 Common Communication Errors and How to Fix Them
  • Crossing our arms and leaning back. ...
  • Speaking loudly and quickly. ...
  • Bringing up the past. ...
  • Defending our feelings. ...
  • Judging another's feelings. ...
  • Interrupting the other person. ...
  • Ignoring the other person. ...
  • Blaming someone for our feelings.
Feb 22, 2019

What are the 12 barriers to communication? ›

These include filtering, selective perception, information overload, emotional disconnects, lack of source familiarity or credibility, workplace gossip, semantics, gender differences, differences in meaning between Sender and Receiver, and biased language. Let's examine each of these barriers.

What are the 3 main barriers of communication? ›

Although the barriers to effective communication may be different for different situations, the following are some of the main barriers: Linguistic Barriers. Psychological Barriers. Emotional Barriers.

What are the 4 main communication barriers? ›

Let's explore four categories of barriers to effective communication in the workplace (language barriers, inclusion barriers, cultural barriers, and environmental barriers).

What affects communication in the workplace? ›

Cultural, physical, emotional and personality barriers are among the key factors that can hinder effective communication.

What are 3 barriers to effective communication in the workplace? ›

Lack of attention, interest and distractions to the person listening. Differences in perception and viewpoint. Physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties. Differences in language and unfamiliar accents.

What should you leave out of communication in a business? ›

Be careful with humor because it can easily get lost in translation without the right tone or body language; in general, in the professional world, it is best to leave humor out of communication.

What are the 5 critical business challenges? ›

The challenges of growing a business - and how to meet them
  • Keeping up with the market.
  • Planning ahead.
  • Cash flow and financial management.
  • Problem solving.
  • The right systems.
  • Skills and attitudes.
  • Welcoming change.

What is the biggest challenge facing businesses today? ›

The Five Biggest Challenges Facing Businesses
  • We All Need To Stay Flexible. Identify opportunities to stay flexible in the months ahead. ...
  • Security Is A Major Issue. ...
  • Customer Satisfaction Is Crucial. ...
  • Online Competition Is Fierce. ...
  • Employee Health Is A Priority.
Dec 7, 2022

What's the biggest challenge for most businesses? ›

What's the Biggest Challenge for most Businesses when Going Online?(1) Planning a Budget (2) Developing a Plan (3) Optimising a Website (4) Defining a Customer Base.

What are 4 consequences of poor communication? ›

Stress, missed expectations, breakdowns in relationships, and unsatisfied clients are all effects of poor communication and indicate a problem in the workplace that needs to be addressed.

What causes poor communication by management? ›

Low Employee Engagement

Disengaged employees are mentally checked out of their jobs and do the bare minimum to get by. So they don't see a point in going the extra mile and communicating. If your organization has low employee engagement, this might cause poor communication in your workplace.

What does poor communication lead to in a business? ›

Poor communication often creates a tense environment where people are not motivated to be productive and not inspired to collaborate. This lack of motivation then affects how employees relate to clients and potential customers, negatively affecting the bottom line.

What are the 5 common types of workplace conflict? ›

5 examples of conflict in the workplace
  • Interdependence conflict. Interdependence is when two or more people rely on one another to complete a task or reach a goal. ...
  • Leadership conflict. ...
  • Working style conflict. ...
  • Personality conflict. ...
  • Background-based conflict.
Sep 13, 2021

What are the 3 C's of conflict resolution? ›

Balancing the 3 C's: Communication, Conflict Resolution and Commitment.

What are the four types of conflict in business? ›

According to Amy Gallo, who wrote the Harvard Business Review Guide to Managing Conflict at Work, there are four types of work conflict: status conflict, task conflict, process conflict, and relationship conflict.

What are common mistakes in business? ›

9 common mistakes to avoid when starting a new business
  • Neglecting to make a business plan. ...
  • Inadequate financial preparation and resources. ...
  • Failing to monitor progress and adjust. ...
  • Buying assets with your cash flow. ...
  • Avoiding outside help. ...
  • Setting the wrong price. ...
  • Ignoring technology. ...
  • Neglecting online marketing.

What is the most common problem in effective communication? ›

Inability to Listen to Others. Active listening is an important aspect of effective communication. You cannot engage with someone if you are not listening to them because you will tend to make assumptions about their needs based on your perceptions versus reality.

What are 10 common business mistakes? ›

10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting a Business
  • Not Creating a Business Plan.
  • Doing What You Love.
  • Not Doing Market Research.
  • Ignoring the Competition.
  • Not Understanding Your Strengths and Weaknesses.
  • Not Understanding What You're Actually Selling.
  • Not Making Sure You Have Enough Money.
  • Not Investing in Marketing.
Sep 19, 2022

What are 3 common reasons businesses fail? ›

The most common reasons small businesses fail include a lack of capital or funding, retaining an inadequate management team, a faulty infrastructure or business model, and unsuccessful marketing initiatives.

What are five of the 10 common mistakes to avoid in writing? ›

Use these handy tips to improve your writing so your work will be clearer, accurate, and more professional.
  • 1 Overuse of adverbs. ...
  • 2 Too many prepositional phrases. ...
  • 3 Ambiguous (“Squinting”) modifiers. ...
  • 4 Misuse of lie/lay. ...
  • 5 Ambiguous pronoun references. ...
  • 6 Comma splices. ...
  • 7 Run-on sentences. ...
  • 8 Wordiness (inflated sentences)
Nov 28, 2019

What are five common errors in workplace documents? ›

Here are Fentin's top 10 documentation mistakes:
  • Using labels without behavioral examples. ...
  • Using words that could be interpreted as “code” for bias or retaliation. ...
  • Focusing on employee's intent instead of results. ...
  • Including comments about why the problem occurred rather than on what actually happened.
Mar 18, 2015

What are the 7 barriers to effective communication? ›

Barriers to Effective Communication
  • Semantic barriers.
  • Psychological barriers.
  • Organisational barriers.
  • Cultural barriers.
  • Physical barriers.
  • Physiological barriers.

What are the major reasons communication fails? ›

Communication Becomes Overwhelming

One of the main reasons why communication fails is that it becomes overwhelming. For many employees, there are simply too many messages relayed through too many channels. Consider one of the main culprits of overwhelming communication: the email.

What are 3 common communication barriers? ›

Although the barriers to effective communication may be different for different situations, the following are some of the main barriers: Linguistic Barriers. Psychological Barriers. Emotional Barriers.

What are 5 common communication barriers? ›

5 barriers to communications are:
  • Work environment.
  • People's attitudes and emotional state.
  • Time zone and geography.
  • Distractions and other priorities.
  • Cultures and languages.
Apr 21, 2022


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