Possessing good communication skills is a key requirement in the workplace.
Being able to communicate well is an essential ingredient to success, yet sometimes we slip up and make mistakes that can seriously affect our careers.
Here are three communication mistakes you could be making at work.
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Don’t use gossip as a form of communication
If you are having an issue with someone, talk to them directly.
Don’t spread gossip around the office, knowing or thinking that eventually, the story will get back to the person you have the issue with.
For starters, it’s unprofessional and will make you look bad.
Secondly, did you ever play the game Chinese Whispers when you were a kid? By the time the story gets back to the person you wanted to speak to – the message has been lost or worse morphed into something completely different.
People add their own spin on events when they are telling a story. Definitely not what you want.
If you have a problem at work, address the person directly. Yes, this may be a difficult conversation, yet still, one that needs to be done privately.
Related work and communication posts –
- The 12 Types of People You Will Talk to about Work
- Are You Reliable at Work?
- Do You Deliver on Your Promises?
- How Would Your Work Colleagues Describe You?
- Are You Talking Too Much at Work?
- How to Handle Too Much Talking at Work?
Don’t do all of the talking
Conversations are meant to be a two-way street.
Most likely if you are doing all of the talking at work you are probably annoying people.
I’m sure we have all had that manager who always has to take center stage – who does all the talking and rarely listens. They are infuriating, to say the least!
If you are always the one doing all the talking in meetings etc then it might be time to start listening to other people more.
If your job description is based on doing a large portion of the talking fair enough.
Regardless of your job title, I’m sure you could benefit from listening to others more (particularly your customers) and allowing other people to add their input.
Of course, communication isn’t just about talking. It’s about listening.
Who hasn’t had that frustrating situation when someone asks an important question at work but then fails to even listen to the answer?
If you ask a question, give people time to respond, without cutting them off. Don’t ask questions if you are unprepared to listen to the answer.
Don’t promise things you can’t deliver
As a former Executive Assistant, there have been many times when I’ve heard a Manager make a promise to a client that I knew he couldn’t deliver on or that I knew he needed prior approval on before making the promise in the first place.
It’s cringe-worthy when it happens (not to mention stress-inducing) as it’s usually the EA that has to work through the mountain of paperwork to get the promise over the line or speak to the unhappy client when the promise can’t be delivered.
How many times have you been speaking to someone when they drop a clanger of a promise that you know they won’t or can’t deliver on?
What feeling does that leave you with? Does it make you trust and respect the person or perhaps be a little wary of them?
Does it make you wonder how often they make the same sort of hollow promises to people?
A part of good communication is being true to your word.
We all know that sometimes projects run over time and deadlines change due to shifting priorities. However, if you are constantly letting people down, you’ll get a name for promising things you can’t deliver.
If you are constantly promising yet failing to deliver it will hurt your professional reputation.
Do you know people in your workplace who are making these communication mistakes at work? Are you making some of them yourself?
Looking to boost your communication skills at work? CreativeLive has a great range of online courses that you can take at home at your own pace. You might want to master your people skills or learn more about negotiation, leadership or networking.