10 Tips for Careful Communication

Many mishaps and misunderstanding in the office stem from poor communication. This leads to a destruction of value as it diverts the efforts of the organization away from value added tasks to focus on containing and rectifying the situation.

Communication is all about the transfer of information, and ensuring people have the right information to make the best decisions possible. We are all brokers of information. Our responsibility is to make sure we make the best decisions with the information available, and be open to the fact that someone might have information that could affect our decision.

Here are a few tips for careful communications

  1. Avoid “Reply all”- Too often people hit the “Reply All” button. Most often it is not warranted. Before using the “Reply all” ask yourself “who really needs to be included?”, and limit your response to those individuals.
  2. Only include those that need to be included- Many times emails are sent including anyone and everyone, most of which have no desire or need to be included. Be respectful of people’s time and only include them on emails that require their attention. Some emails do need to be sent as information. A simple technique to help would be, only include those that are part of the decision making or required to “action” in the “to:”, and all others included for information be included in the “cc:”.
  3. Follow up a conversation with a confirmation email – Remembering that some discussions are best left out of emails, there is nothing wrong with sending a follow up email to clarify the take away points from a discussion. Something along the lines of “As per our conversation…… “, will provide an opportunity for others to clarify if there were any misinterpretations or understandings before things get started.
  4. Whenever Possible avoid email- It is always better to walk over to the cubicle next door or pick up the phone to discuss a situation rather than sending an email. Email is far overused method of communication that can easily spiral out of control. It is amazing how simply an email can be taken out of context whether it be; improper wording or capitalization. By talking directly, you have the ability to clarify or diffuse a situation before it snowballs.
  5. Make a clear distinction between fact and opinion- Many times opinion can be misrepresented as fact which can cause more confusion lead to issues being blown out of proportion. An opinion which is asserted or perceived to be presented as fact will cause the receiver to become defensive and less open to communication. Discussions take on a completely different tones when based on fact versus opinion. A fact based discussion can be perceived as confrontational and an “I am right you are wrong” tone. Conversely an opinion based discussion is subjective and based on an accumulation of facts which is more easily diffused as everyone has a right to their opinion. By clearly distinguishing fact and opinion or objective and subjective observations, the receiver is more likely to be open to discussion and less defensive resulting in better communication.
  6. When receiving communication always listen- Before dismissing or jumping to conclusions. Listen to the entire the message and don’t get caught up in the way the message is delivered. Focus on understanding the message. Before assuming negatively, politely ask for clarification and help understanding. Many times the message received is not what was intended to be sent.
  7. Avoid communicating when emotional– Emotions such: as anger, frustration, hurt, impair judgement and can result in sending a message that should not have been sent. When in this situation, draft your message and step away. Take some time to clear you head and regain composure. It is better to refrain than to regret. Always maintain composure when communicating, especially when sending an email. If sending an email on a sensitive topic which might stimulate or has stimulated an emotional response, always wait until you regain your composure and objectivity before hitting send. Once it is sent, it is out there with little chance of getting it back. Even though many email programs have a recall function, the reliability is very low.
  8. Remember some topics are best left out of email- Although email is a great tool for keeping track of conversations some content is best left out of email. As emails are easily misinterpreted, caution must be exercised. Email can be subject to litigation discovery. Many litigation battles have been won due to misconstrued emails. Before sending an email, ask yourself if this is something that should not be open to discovery.
  9. KISS Rule- Keep it Short and Simple. Always make sure that your communications are direct and to the point. Clarity is the best cure for miscommunication.
  10. Most importantly ALWAYS exhibit Humility. Always remember that communicating is an exchange of information. When dealing with other people, remember we are all information brokers and some have information that others don’t. By understanding that we or someone else might not have all the information to make an informed decision, we are better able to be open minded to the exchange of information. This will lead to better communications and better decision making.

How Do Poor Communication Skills Affect Your Business?

Communication plays an important role in every business and is one of the most important skills that determines the success or failure of a business. Therefore, effective communication is necessary if you want to take your business to the next level. And to develop such skills, skill development training is provided.

Whether it is oral or written, lack of communication can greatly impact the productivity of the company. For this, your organisations should always appoint professionals that have excellent communication skills. Poor communication may also affect the business relationship, thereby leading to the failure of the business. However, to solve the communication problem, you first need to know how poor communication may impact your business. So here we have listed below a few points that will help you understand the negative effects of poor communication.

1. Lower efficiency

The efficiency of your organisation or any specific department can be obstructed due to poor communication. The flow of work will be affected with uninformed presentations, vague email messages or other documents with errors that will need correction. Thus, effective communication skills are crucial for the success of your business and so you should provide employability skills training to your team. Such skills are necessary for successful completion of a project, without which the completion will be inefficient to complete.

2. Employee morale

Business communication skills motivate the employees to work for better productivity. To promote employee productivity, a highly collaborative and communicative environment is essential. Lack of communication skills will demotivate the employees and they will lack enthusiasm to perform better. Also, it will demoralize the listeners as they will be forced to sit through boring presentations and listen to instructions that will rather confuse them. This is why skill development training is necessary for better performance of the employees and for clearer message.

3. Decreased innovation

A company can contribute immensely to the development of the society with its innovation. However, poor communication skills can cripple the capacity and innovation of the company to contribute positively to the society. This is because only effective communication can help in innovating new ideas. For this employability skills training is essential.

Thus, you must have by now realized how important good communication skills are for the success of a business. Therefore, most of the organisations are offering training to their employees for better productivity and benefit of the business.

There are companies that offer skills development training and you can opt for a well-known company among them.

Reduce Popular Business Communication Tool Use?

Many managers are looking for ways to improve their business communications and reduce wasted time within and outside their companies. Are the most common business communication tools of meetings and emails the real problem? According to recent studies, the number of meetings and their duration has increased but meetings often are less than 50% productive. Are we using meetings when another communication tool like email might be more effective? Email use is on the rise and this too is getting a bad reputation as overused or poorly constructed. Emails are used for internal communications and external marketing so they need to be effective. Many managers are looking for ways to reduce both meetings and emails in their companies. Is reduction the answer or is the answer using the tools correctly and more effectively?

I’ve written a book on meeting management and articles on what goes wrong in meetings, so I already know where most people need help. I wanted to confirm that others may be concerned about what may go wrong in meetings and that meetings need improvement. Since I recently wrote an on-line article titled “Minding Meeting Manners”, so I thought it might be helpful to use a popular internet search engine to measure how important the topic of “meeting etiquette” or “meeting manners” is. Using these as keyword in my search, the combined total was over 41,900 results. Just to see if there was agreement with some of my meeting improvement ideas in my articles and books, I read a few of the results which had descriptions that indicated they would provide solutions. Much of the text I read included a few of the thirteen items in my article or some of the hints in my book. However, they often listed other problem areas that were job specific. Although the item I reviewed did not yield all the same things I felt were essential, they did reinforce my belief that meetings are important and that everyone needs to better know how to take advantage f this group communication method for business purposes.

After looking up meetings, I decided to check out “email etiquette” and got over 348,000 results. I scanned the list of options in the first few pages and checked out the ones that claimed to include tips in their descriptions. Some of those I read I agreed with as relevant for professional emails and others I disagreed with because they might work for personal email but were not the correct usage for business communications. However, I found that much of the text agreed with many of the thirteen I listed in the on-line article I wrote last month titled “Encouraging Email Etiquette”. Some justified their belief in what they stated with an explanation but most did not. For people to display proper etiquette in emails, they not only need to know what is acceptable but why that should be the norm. Email is a great communication tool but only if the receiver understands what the sender is trying to say. Although I may not agree with every email etiquette item I reviewed, the number of results clearly indicates this is a valid communication concern for business professionals.

I wanted to find out if the two most popular business communication tools needed to be reduced or if they needed to be used effectively. In turning to the internet as a research tool, I’m not sure if the resulting numbers can indicate which tool people really need the most help with or which is used the most. Either way, I feel confident that the results indicate all professionals need both meeting and email communication skills to be improved for business purposes. Improvement and proper utilization is more realistically the answer to business communication problems than trying to reduce the necessary use of meetings or email.