It can be embarrassing to make mistakes with communication. For example, if you send an email without checking it, and later realize that it contained an error, you can end up looking sloppy and unprofessional.
Mistake 1: Not Editing Your Work
Spelling, tone and grammatical mistakes can make you look careless. That’s why it’s essential to check all of your communications before you send them.
It can be difficult to see errors in your own work, so consider asking a colleague to look over key documents before you distribute them. Alternatively, read your work aloud – this makes it easier to catch typos and tone errors. Then, give yourself time to reflect on your document, and to make any final changes.
Mistake 2: Assuming That Your Message Has Been Understood
Always take time to check that people have understood your message.
For example, when you send out an email, you could encourage people to respond with questions or to reply, if they haven’t understood part of your message.
Or, if you’ve given a presentation, build in time for people to discuss your main points or leave time for questions at the end.
Mistake 3: Not Being Assertive
Assertiveness is about stating what you need, while considering the wants and needs of others.
You may not always get your way when you’re assertive, but you stand a better chance of doing so, or of reaching a compromise, because you’ve been clear about your needs. Assertiveness is not the same as aggression. When you’re aggressive, you push to get your own way without thinking about other people’s rights, wants, and needs.
Mistake 4: Reacting, Not Responding
Have you ever shouted at someone in frustration, or sent a terse reply to an email, without thinking your point through? If so, you’re likely to have reacted emotionally, instead of responding calmly.
This kind of emotional reaction can damage your reputation. You may upset people with your strong emotions, and give the impression that you lack self-control and emotional intelligence .
Mistake 5: Using a “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach to Communication
If you use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to communication, you may overlook people’s different personalities, needs and expectations. In fact, your communications need to address those differences as much as possible.
If you’re preparing a presentation, make sure that you appreciate that people have different learning styles , and that you cater for these. This means that everyone – from those who learn best by reading to those who prefer a more hands-on approach – can benefit from your session.