Reboot communication: uncomplicated and effective

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9 common mistakes causing communication breakdowns.

Communication is crucial for getting all leaders, departments, and employees on the same page and working together toward a shared goal. Communication breakdowns can knock things off track and prevent the business from reaching its full potential.

Who hasn’t been there: you thought you outlined everything clearly during the team meeting, and a day later it seemed as if you hadn’t even discussed it. You get frustrated because the team members are not following your instructions. You call yet another meeting to go through the details again because the deadline is approaching fast and they really need to pull it together! You impatiently go through all the details yet again and even though nobody argues with you, you can’t shake the feeling that not everybody is on the same page. What a waste of time, efficiency, stress and frustration – and it means you will need to stay back tonight and make sure all the elements are right for the briefing tomorrow!

This type of communication breakdowns can occur for a number of reasons: difference in perception, distractions, information overload, language differences, high staff turnover, complex organisational structure, stress, emotions etc.

If you want to avoid (or at the very least massively reduce) interpersonal communication problems in your team or business, a safe and supportive environment and a focus on open communication are essential.

“Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open and Two-way.” ~ Dan Oswald

 

Following are 9 common mistakes that can lead to communication breakdowns among team members, along with some hands-on suggestions to eliminate misunderstandings and promote a peaceful work environment:

 

Mistake 1: Being hostile

Create a friendly atmosphere. Avoid communicating in an overly intense manner, because in a tense environment your message might not be well understood or retained.

 

Mistake 2: Being vague

Keep the team informed. If the status of a project changes, or if you have an announcement to make, let people know as soon as possible. That way, you can ensure that everyone has the same information.

 

Mistake 3: Being absent

Face-to-face meetings. Holding regular open meetings is one of the best approaches to communicate effectively within a group. Facilitate these meetings in a proficient manner, so that quiet team members are not overwhelmed by opinionated co-workers.

 

Mistake 4: Being elaborate

Stick to the basics. Time is precious, so ensure your communication is focused and only includes as much detail as is needed to understand and engage.

 

Mistake 5: Being ambiguous

Use simple words. Everybody is not on the same page when it comes to vocabulary, especially when your workforce is diverse. When complicated words are used, you can be misunderstood and/or waste precious time having to explain yourself.

 

Mistake 6: Being repetitive

Avoid unneeded reiteration. Do not sound like a broken record. Only recap if the other party is unclear about what has been said or discussed.

 

Mistake 7: Being absent-minded

Active listening. Demonstrate undivided listening and check that the other person is actually listening and engaged too. If not, the conversation might better be held at a later time.

 

Mistake 8: Being one-sided

Use visuals. Everybody has a different learning style and your team should not just hear the message, they should also see it. Placing visuals around the team work area is a good strategy and provides better comprehension.

 

Mistake 9: Being inattentive

Check in with the team. On a regular basis, discuss as a group how well communication is going, and encourage feedback. Are there areas of too much information or areas where there is a void?

 

So that future communication breakdowns can be avoided, these tips should be applied to all forms of communication, including emails, phone conversations, documents, meetings etc. by all team members.

 

Time for Action

  • Thinking about how your teams and employees are currently communicating, which of the above points are already being followed?
  • What have you overlooked so far and can implement in the near future? When?
  • What can be added to this list?

 

Bear in mind that improving communication within your team will take some time and effort from your side. But rebooting unsuccessful communication strategies in your business and making it uncomplicated and effective will deliver positive results and be well worth it.

“Dare to make a difference!”

#WeMakeItEasy #professionaldevelopment

 

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Martin Probst

AUTHOR | Martin Probst - CEO (Chief Education Officer)

 

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