Bad communication habits you need to break right now!

20th Jul 2016
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As an entrepreneur or a business professional, understanding the significance of effective communication could be the ticket to your company’s success. But more often than not, when we communicate our business ideas or proposals, what we mean to say is lost in translation, figuratively speaking, leading to failure, disappointment and even conflict.

A lot of trouble and potentially money can be saved by just communicating properly. Most people don’t really know what they are doing wrong. Below are three common factors that have a negative effect on interpersonal communication.

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Overuse of qualifiers

Qualifiers are words or phrases that alter how absolute or certain a statement is. Examples of qualifiers include ‘sometimes’, ‘occasionally’, ‘give or take a few…’ and others. Qualifiers can be your friends if you know how to use them well. However, overuse can drive your listener up a wall. Qualifiers express doubts, and when used, they can make your audience doubt the meaning of your message. Sentences such as “I probably think you won’t be appropriate for the job, but….” and “I don’t think it is a bad idea, but …” can have repercussions that may not be favourable for your business collaborations in the long run. This can also result in employee turnover if you directly lead your team.

So how can you how to communicate your opinions without creating any confusion? You need to construct your sentences in a precise fashion and focus on exactly what you intend to communicate. Do not understate or overstate your case. The best practice is to make a direct claim without sounding derogatory or condescending to others. For example, consider this sentence: I don’t think that you are fit for the job role you have applied for, but maybe we can consider you for the next position available. A better way to frame this sentence would be: Based on your interview, we would like to offer you another position in the organisation. In short, just speak the words that you really want to communicate without using qualifiers.

Avoiding eye contact

Avoiding eye contact might sometimes work in your personal meetings but is a big NO in a professional sphere. You cannot expect to convince others about the qualities of your products and services if you don’t look and sound confident yourself. With the rise in communication technology, many people have forgotten the art of communicating in person. As a result of this, they are unable to develop the habit of effective presentation. If you have ever dealt with someone who nervously rants their ideas while looking everywhere else except at you, you probably know how frustrating this can be.

Don’t shy away, and always meet your listener’s eye when proposing any idea or strategy. Not only does this help you maintain the right amount of engagement, but it also makes your listener develop confidence in you. If you can do this, half your battle is already won.

Neglecting courtesy

Do you often forget to use expressions like ‘Thank you’, ‘Apologies for the delay’, and ‘I appreciate your concern’ in your business communication? Ignoring such protocol might make you appear snobbish or discourteous in the eyes of others. Being courteous to people you work with is very important in the business domain, especially if your work involves interacting with people who add value to the company.

For example, if you have missed out on replying to a certain mail or answering a phone call, it is advisable to start your subsequent conversation with the person with a formal apology. Sentences like “Please excuse me for not being able to get in touch earlier” or “Apologies for the delay in response” give off a sense of positivity and professionalism to the other person. This makes future conversations with them easier.

Breaking a bad habit can take time, but focusing on removing these faux pas will make you a better communicator in future, attracting more opportunities for you as well as for your business.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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