Although from birth we use a variety of communication techniques and styles and develop a range of different skills, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using ineffective communication, which can have a negative impact at home and at work. We have all seen examples of ineffective communication from politicians, senior policeman and newspaper editors and others but how aware are you of your own communication skills and whether you communicate effectively.
Listed below are 10 examples of ineffective communication hat are commonly seen in the workplace. See which of these examples resonate with you and think about what you would to do to communicate more effectively.
1. Not listening: There’s nothing more likely to annoy people in the work place if they are not listened to. You often see people ask – ‘How are you?’ without bothering to listen to the answer. If you’re asking questions or issuing instructions it’s important to listen to what’s being said in order to give the appropriate response
2. Failing to ask for clarification: There’s nothing wrong in not understanding something, but it’s a poor strategy not to ask for clarification if you need it.
3. Speaking at the wrong level: In order to communicate effectively, it’s important to speak at the right level of the audience. Work colleagues neither appreciate being patronised or having someone talk about things they have no understanding of.
4. Using jargon: Can you remember starting a new job and everyone seems to be speaking another language. This is often because people pepper their language with jargon and acronyms that people are not familiar with. Don’t make assumptions that people will know
5. Being critical and negative: If you have a default attitude where you are always negative or critical of other people’s suggestions, ideas, plans or work, it can have a detrimental effect on individual and team relationships.
6. Using sarcasm: Sarcasm irritates and humiliates people, nor is it conducive to having good relationships with colleagues. Careless words can hurt people. Avoid using it.
7. Using excessive anger: Some people think that shouting and screaming at others is an acceptable way to behave, but it isn’t. Apart from if you do it regularly you could quite easily be accused of bullying it is not conducive to any message that you are trying to convey being heard and acted upon.
8. Communicating in an emotional state: Whether you're angry or upset about something, it’s always better to delay communicating with other people in case you say or write something that is either inappropriate or you later regret. Having to retract things can be very difficult.
9. Using poor non-verbal communication: It’s very easy to upset people by using poor non-verbal communication, with gestures such as pointing fingers to emphasise a point or expressions such as raised eyebrows to express disbelief or invading someone else’s personal space.
10. Being insincere: If your body language is at odds with your verbal communication, it can annoy and confuse people and lead to a possible breakdown in working relationships
This is not an exhaustive list of ineffective communication examples but they are some of the most common. Being aware of the way you communicate and the impact that it has on others is an important part of maintaining successful working relationships and developing long term career success.
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