“There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen.” ~ Christopher Morley
According to Harvard research, careers that require effective communication and high levels of social interaction have grown by 12% in the last 30 years, while the demand for less-social jobs decreased by 3.3% during that same period.
Effective communication is one of the most important life skills to learn. It can be done:
- vocally (through verbal exchanges)
- through written media (books, magazines, and other prints and digital contents)
- visually (using graphs, charts, maps, and other visual aids)
- non-verbally (eye contact, body language, and even tone)
But how effective is our communication? Are we relaying the message clearly and correctly?
Let’s take a look…
There are reading and practicing resources available online carrying tips and strategies on how to develop effective communication skills that we can use in our daily routine. However, we also need to consider the things that we should “avoid” to be able to develop effective communication skills both personally and professionally.
So here are the top 5 communication mistakes that you should avoid AT ALL COSTS if you want to develop a successful career:
Reacting Instead of Responding
Knowing the difference alone can make a huge impact on a person’s communication. Reacting is more instinctive, reciprocal, or in opposition to a particular situation or person— and can be favorable or not, depending on how you feel; and it can result in both a positive and a negative outcome.
Responding, on the other hand, is more intuitive or contrary to a specific circumstance or individual. The approach is commonly equal and compassionate with the ability to understand anyone on a profound level.
To sum it up, reacting is emotional, responding is emotional intelligence.
Interrupting the Speaker
Conversation interruption is an important sign of the person being either rude or impatient when it comes to communication. It can happen accidentally especially when we try to share something we’re excited about and from the fear that we might forget our response if we don’t just go ahead and say it. Sometimes, interrupting the speaker especially during arguments is used as a power move, which is definitely a no-no.
Whatever the intention is, interrupting can make a person feel invalidated, as if what they have to say is unimportant. Having respect for the other person, and allowing them to finish the message entirely before you respond, is the best way to have respectful conversations.
Assuming that Your Message is Clear
Always bear in mind that the person you are talking to is not a mindreader. Do not assume that your message is clear or that the person can understand/relate to what you are talking about. Instead of using indirect, flowery words — practice the art of direct speaking. Being more direct, clear, and concise as you can be will enable the person or people you are communicating with to understand you loud and clear. Another pro tip is to always clarify what you heard and confirm your understanding.
Having a Fixed Mindset When Communicating
Having a fixed mindset while communicating is very tricky. Oftentimes, it shows the person’s need to continuously look smart, disregard other people’s ideas, and ignore useful negative feedback. Occasionally, it also results in personal and character attacks or yelling.
The best way to counter that is to practice a growth mindset when communicating. A growth mindset usually involves open communication, accepting feedback, and learning from criticism. Its approach is more “relationship over competition”.
Letting your Emotions Dictate Your Response
We’ve all had our fair share of emotional bursts to the point that we want to yell to the person in front of us. One significant rule for effective communication is to never let your emotions get into the driver’s seat. If you feel frustrated, disappointed, or upset — go cool off somewhere else. Take a walk. Listen to music. Go outside and breathe. Start counting from 10 to 1 to relieve stress. Distract your negative emotions so you don’t regret what you say. When we react emotionally, we are likely to say things we don’t mean. A good communicator allows emotions to sit for a while and then chooses to carefully respond rather than react.
My goal is to help you achieve success by improving your life and career through effective communication.
Do you identify with any of these communication behaviors? If so, which one?
What is one thing in the week ahead you can do to make a change?
Don’t let bad verbal habits undermine the advancement and results you’ve earned. Let us help you develop good personal and professional communication skills!