Top Ten Communication Problems in the Workplace
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Good communication practices are at the heart of every successful business. Without successful internal communications, work processes slow down or grind to a halt and customers are not served properly. When processes do break down, you'll more than likely find some common communication issues at the root of the problem for managers and employees alike.
Wrong Audience or Methods
Effective communication begins with understanding the audience and the method of communication that serves it best. Do your homework first to get to know the audience, the questions that might be raised and any objections beforehand. Sound research can avoid issues with communication before they arise. Use the communication method best suited to the information being conveyed. Face-to-face meetings are better for important changes taking place at work.
Mistaken or Confusing Information
Verify the information being conveyed before sharing it. If your information is unclear, confusing or flat out incorrect, the message sent will be wrong. Double-check information you plan to share in the workplace to ensure its authenticity, clarity and correctness. When you share information that is wrong or confusing, people will not receive the intended message.
Too Much, Too Little, Too Late
One of the major communication problems at work is that there is usually not enough information, there is too much information or it is delivered after-the-fact. For communication to be helpful, it must be timely and in the amount needed for people to become knowledgeable without causing them to overreact or misconstrue.
Misinterpretation or Application
When communication is vague or ambiguous, it can lead to misinterpretation or misapplication in the workplace. To convey material effectively, it must be concise, clear and to the point. Have a clear understanding of the facts, the order of information and its intended use before sending a message that can't be retracted.
Listening Skills, Questions and Feedback
Verbal communication requires focused listening skills of the audience. When you don't have the full attention of your audience, your message won't be received. For face-to-face meetings, a good practice is to avoid distractions during the meeting. Have people leave their cell phones at their desks and hold the meeting in a conference room or other quiet location. Allow interaction after the meeting to develop clarity and obtain feedback. Answering questions honestly can help to clear up any confusion or misunderstandings.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.