Striking the correct balance of communication when in a position of power is as tricky as it is important. Getting it wrong can cause huge upsets, tarnish your professional reputation and could even end up hurting your company overall. Here are the top five biggest blunders to avoid.
An Impersonal Approach
Any successful communication is tailored to best fit the audience. The channel, tone and content should be considered in order to find the best way of getting a message through. Having a one-size-fits-all approach to communication not only hugely lessens the chance of a positive reception, it can actually make you look lazy. Think about who you’re talking to, and what sort of message you’re sending – particularly if it’s positive or negative. You should know the individual personalities on your team, and be able to adjust your communication strategies accordingly.
Talking At People
A good approach to communication is to open every discourse as a conversation. Not allowing space for responses or questions will make you look selfish and uncaring. Plus, getting input from your team can often lead to the generation of new, innovative ideas. And not only do you need to give your employees a literal chance to respond, you should also try to foster an atmosphere where responses are encouraged, and people feel comfortable.
There are some communication errors that can simply make you look unprofessional – and the foremost category of this is pure laziness. Mass emails sent out with spelling mistakes, getting peoples’ names wrong, bulldozing conversations and constantly interrupting are all sure fire ways to diminish employees respect for you.
While having a conversational manner and maintaining positive relationships are important, if you bury your point in amongst a whole bunch of waffle, your communication strategy has failed. Finding the balance between delivering the necessary information whilst still fostering human interaction can be tricky, but it’s important to get it right. Try sticking to simple words and avoid jargon, and check your point is clear and has been acknowledged.
While keeping lines of communication open is generally a good idea, sending too many emails about tiny, unnecessary topics can be super annoying to employees. Even more problematic, though, is that any actual essential information may end up being drowned out or even ignored. Try to be selective about what emails or phone calls you need to make, and be certain that each is serving a distinct and essential purpose.
Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs.