Want to Improve Your Communication Skills? Avoid These Habits
Updated: Feb 10
The ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, partners, employees and stakeholders is essential, no matter what type of business you are in.
How are your communication skills? If you have any of the following habits, there’s a good chance that you are not communicating as effectively as you could be. Here are some bad practices to avoid to instantly improve how you communicate.
You Always Want to Be Right
Being right is a very common human desire. We all want to be right because it makes us feel better than other people. Many of us have a deep fear of disrespect. We are worried about being seen as flawed, and as a result, we go out of our ways to make others feel wrong, therefore putting ourselves above other people.
This can often get in the way of effective communication through the need to frequently interrupt. This might not be a planned decision, but you might simply have a strong desire to disagree and to make your point at the expense of the opinion of the person who is speaking.
The outcome is that we don’t properly listen to the other person or hear their views-which might be useful. And this disrupts the conversation.
In addition, you are displaying your dominance by interrupting the speaker, who might feel offended. The interrupted person might be resentful of your intrusion, and may be less willing to be open to you, which could lead to a lack of communication.
It’s not always wrong to interrupt the speaker, but if you see yourself doing this too much, don’t make it a habit.
You Try to Please Everyone
Another characteristic of bad communication is the opposite of wanting to be right all the time. Wanting to please everyone makes your message less powerful.
When people listen to you speak, they want to hear honesty and authenticity. They don’t expect that you say things purely because you want to be liked.
Do you have trouble with this? Are you a pleaser? One way to avoid this is to be sure of your values. By spending some time looking closely at what you stand for, you are more likely to speak from the heart. When you are clear about your core values, you are less likely to be influenced unduly by other people’s opinions.
You’re Too Focused on Looking Good
We all want to look good, but this can get in the way of your communication skills. The reason is that you are so keen on getting your point across and making sure everyone hears you, that you stop listening to what others are saying.
Instead of listening to the speaker and responding, you are planning what you are going to say. Your purpose is to have impact on everybody and show that you know everything. However, it is deflating to be around someone who is impossible to impress.
Avoid These Communication Mistakes
These are some of the common mistakes that can affect your communication skills. Some people are more likely to make one of these errors than others. If you recognize any of these in yourself, you might want to work on improving them and avoid that they become serious impediments to your communication success.