Top 5 Communication Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Two people communicating outside

Communication is the way of conveying messages effectively to people and receiving feedback from them with the point of establishing mutual understanding. It can be done verbally or non-verbally, and the method used varies depending on the circumstances. 

It is safe to say that everyone can communicate, but not everyone can convey. From time to time, people make mistakes in communication. However, when these mistakes occur repeatedly, it creates barriers among people, and if not resolved, relationships will be tarnished. The ultimate goal of mutual understanding will be greatly affected if you don’t communicate properly.

Let’s look at the top 5 communication mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Not Editing Communication Before Disseminating It

Grammar errors, spelling mistakes, and incomprehensible communication can make you look careless. Especially if you’re sending formal communication in a written format, these mistakes can spur questions of credibility. 

As a way to avoid the aforementioned issue, you may try to download spelling and grammar checkers. This is a great help in finding out grammar and spelling errors that need to be corrected or changed. But, also make sure that you proofread your work for issues that the checker may not catch. Another approach is ensuring the spelling and grammar checkers are enabled on the tools you already use. It is easy to turn off the grammar checker on Microsoft Word, for example, and forget to turn it back on. It is even easier to never turn on the checker in the first place.

Taking these steps before clicking “send” or “print” will save you from headaches in the future.

2. “One-Size-Fits-All” Communication

We should keep in mind that an organization is a melting pot of different types of people who happen to possess different personalities, abilities, needs, wants, viewpoints, and expectations. Understanding differences in an organization is an element to achieving goals and objectives.

So, to avoid this mistake, your communications need to address those differences as much as possible. It must be cognizant of different ethnicities, religions, ages, or sexual orientations to avoid offending someone.

3. Assuming Your Communication Has Been Understood 

One serious mistake after sending a message is the assumption that it’s acknowledged and understood by the receiver. It is good to remember that people have different levels of understanding. 

Thus, to avoid misunderstandings, encourage people to respond with questions if they haven’t understood part of your message. For example, write something before ending the communication like, “feel free to let me know if you have any questions.” This way, you encourage your receiver to assert his or her ideas and reflections.

4. Communicating Negative News Via Email

It is a proper etiquette not to deliver bad news via email as written communication channels do not usually convey emotions, which are vital in effectively conveying messages. Imagine sending a lay-off email to your employees, you can only imagine how damaging and upsetting it is to them. You communicated with these people personally when you hired them. It is only fair that you fire them personally, too.

This also applies when there is any kind of bad news, not just news that is specific to one person. An in-person meeting, or video conference if working remote, is the best way to deliver messages, whether it’s bad or good.

5. Communication Not Prepared Thoroughly

Meetings, presentations, reports, or even emails that are poorly prepared can upset people you are trying to convey your message to. Over time, it might damage your reputation. 

To avoid this, it is vital to prepare and plan your wording carefully to create a credible and compelling message that appeals to the emotions and intellects of your receivers.