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5 Common Communication Misfires (And How To Avoid Them)

Source | FastCompany : By JOHN RAMPTON

Miscommunication happens frequently in life and work, partly because technology allows us to communicate faster, but not necessarily better. While some miscommunications are merely annoying, others can create conflict or be a disrupting influence in relationships.

Based on being both the giver and the recipient of unintended communication gaffes, here are five reasons why I believe they occur, and what to do to prevent them in the future.

1. WHAT YOU ARE THINKING MAKES NO SENSE TO ANYONE ELSE BUT YOU

Writing or verbalizing what we’re thinking can be challenging, especially if we’re trying to multitask when we shouldn’t.

My team suffers a lot from this when I delegate a task and expect them to know exactly what’s going on in my brain.

The solution is to let others know everything you’re thinking, even if you’re not completely clear on it yourself. The idea is for you to work ideas out together, so you can reach the best possible outcome. I also like to verbalize my instructions as well as write them down in a recap, so others know exactly what I mean. Over the years, this has helped me sound a lot less like a jerk.

2. YOU ARE SAYING TOO MUCH AND MAKING THINGS MORE COMPLICATED

In my first business partnership, I would do a brain dump that included things that didn’t need to be said. This not only caused miscommunication, but it also ultimately ended our working arrangement.

I’ve also noticed this occurs with the creative people who have a tendency to cloud their main point with a lot of words that complicates their message.

To master the fine art of getting to the point, write down what you want to say, then start to trim it back until you can create as simple a message without losing the primary idea. You most likely don’t need adjectives or exclamatory phrases to get your point across.

3. YOU AREN’T CONTROLLING THE TONE OF YOUR MESSAGE

While overthinking your message rarely results in better communication, it’s important to remember that you don’t have any control over what’s happening on the receiving end. If that person is already in a bad mood, they may read something in a way you never intended. Although you can’t control the reaction of the receiver, you can make a concerted effort to take any emotion out of a communication and keep a professional tone in all business communications.

I personally always remember, “You can say anything to anyone, but how you say it will dictate whether you get a positive or negative reaction.”

Read On…

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