4 Communication Mistakes You’re Making


an image representing people talking - common communication mistakes article

Communication mistakes are more common than you think. You might think that you're doing a great job communicating with your clients, but there may be a few things you might be doing wrong. To be an effective communicator, you should continually audit your communication skills because you need to be aware of the mistakes you might be making and fix these missteps.

Communication is one of the most critical skills you need to master to succeed in your career or business. People communicate all day long, yet many struggles to do it well when it matters the most and unintentionally make some communication mistakes.

No matter what you do for work, communication is key to success. When meeting with clients or networking, if you can communicate effectively, you will be on your way to achieving your goals. A business Communications Survey from Nextiva revealed that 63% of business professionals experience communications-related issues with their customers, colleagues, or team that stops them from achieving business goals on at least a weekly basis.  

Here are four communication mistakes you may be making without realizing it:

4 Communication Mistakes You Might Be Making

1. You are not listening actively. 

In any communication, you have to listen actively to understand the entire message. When you're not listening, you're not getting the whole message, or you will be unable to respond as skillfully as you should.

There are many common communication mistakes professionals make when meeting with clients. One of these mistakes is not listening attentively or actively. If you are preoccupied, thinking about what you want to say next instead of listening to your client, you are not actively listening.

Thinking of your statement or response while your customer is talking makes it hard to get the full scope of their conversation. It can be frustrating for the person talking because it would appear you are not interested in their situation, just their money. 

Not actively listening can make you miss important details that impact your ability to fine-tune your response or offering. You can lose your effectiveness as a professional and ultimately lose clients.

So, when your clients or coworkers are talking, be attentive to what they say, how they say it, and the words that describe the things that matter to them! This way, you get to know them better, understand how to help them, and even build stronger relationships.

2. You make assumptions instead of asking questions.

Making assumptions or jumping to conclusions instead of asking questions to confirm your theories is another common communication mistake professionals make. When you make assumptions, you are not getting all the information needed and therefore cannot make an accurate suggestion or offer a comprehensive solution.

Assumptions in communication are the thoughts, ideas, or conclusions you form about situations or events without fully understanding, analyzing, or gathering enough information. The assumptions you make because you didn't get sufficient information from the concerned party may lack the nuance and depth you need to give a skillful response, recommendation, or solution.

For example, you assume that you know what someone means even though they are using terminology or slang unfamiliar to you, or you are jumping to conclusions based on your bias and experience instead of your client's. 

Jumping to conclusions is a big communication mistake and can be a real deal killer. They can also lead to missed opportunities and miscommunication. Here's the bottom line, to avoid this communication mistake, never assume anything. Always ask to confirm or clarify your thoughts.

3. You don't pay enough attention to nonverbal cues.

Nonverbal communication is one of the most overlooked components of communication. Not paying attention to nonverbal cues is another communication mistake that can hinder your success.

Communication is a process that includes what is said, how it is said, and what is not said but conveyed through body language. To avoid poor communication or to get the entire scope of a conversation, you have to make an effort to listen, observe others, and pay attention to their body language and yours. Paying attention to nonverbal cues is not an option but a necessity.

Facial expressions and body language will give clues on how to steer conversations. Does your client look happy and satisfied, unimpressed and unconvinced, or confused and overwhelmed? Do you need to explain more or close the deal? You can see these types of clues and may more clues if you pay attention to nonverbal cues.

4. You don't take the time to show you understand your client's WHAT, WHY, and HOW.

One of the most common communication mistakes is not taking the time to understand your client's what, why, and how. You need to understand their needs to provide them with the best possible solution. Understanding your customers' wants and needs helps you serve them better.

There is no other way to accomplish this except by communicating with them. So, when you interact with your client, you should understand what is important to them, why it is important, and how it looks to them. It is crucial to understand and to show you understand your clients. One of the techniques I share in my communications course is to use the keywords your clients use to describe their problems. It lets them know you hear and can help them.

There are a lot of reasons why it is never a waste to connect with your clients. First and foremost, people want to work with professionals who understand them and their needs. If you can create a connection with your clients, they will be more likely to trust you and rely on your advice. Additionally, strong relationships result in more repeat business and referrals. 

Also, taking the time to get to know your clients allows you to serve them well. You can provide them with customized solutions that meet their specific needs. Furthermore, when your clients feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to recommend your services to others. So, work on those emotions and connections and avoid these communication mistakes – it will pay off in the long run!

In conclusion, if you can avoid making these communication mistakes when interacting with your clients, you will have a much more successful working relationship, and your business will have a higher degree of success.

By taking the time to understand your client's needs and communicating effectively and efficiently, you can build a foundation of trust that will benefit you and your client. Your business will have a higher chance of success because of the clear and concise communication between you and your clients.

Photo by Mizuno K:

Hello, I'm Oyinkan Akinmade, a Confidence Coach and a Workplace Strategist with a passion for helping individuals achieve their full potential and leaders create great workplaces through confidence, communication, and leadership training. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at Oyinkan Akinmade

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