3 Bad Communication Habits to Avoid at Work
Soft skills are very important to success in the workplace. One of the major components of these vital skills is communication. Last week, we were able to attend the ATD conference in Atlanta and listen to LaLeesha Haynes, a Project Manager at Union Pacific, talk about ways to improve workplace communication. Haynes focused her session on the fundamentals and best practices of clear, purposeful communication, whether as a manager, part of a team, or an individual employee.
In the same school of thought as this session, below are some common workplace communication habits we might not think of every day and would all be better off avoiding:
Apologizing for no reason
When there is a real warranted reason to apologize, one of course sincerely apologizes. But many men and women have a habitual problem apologizing for the simplest thing. They may ask to use a pen and apologize. They may reach over you to grab something and apologize. These types of employees have an image problem and seeing them in a powerful position does not fit the picture. They are less likely to be promoted as they are deemed unconfident.
Solution: Replacing one’s vocabulary can help significantly. Situations that do not warrant an apology, language like “Pardon me” and “Excuse me” will suffice. This will allow you to still be respectful, but also not seem unconfident. In the end, the key is to show confidence. Confidence assures others when you are in charge.
We all have been guilty of this. Maybe during presentations, group projects, or even on a date. We tend to ramble on when we are nervous or excited. We have to contain ourselves and stay composed. Rambling can cause an image problem. You seem less competent, which does not help your cause to be promoted or considered for leadership positions.
Solution: There are ways to make sure you do not ramble on. One is you can write down the main point you want to make. Make sure you study and always refer back to it so you can keep track if you are making your point correctly. Also, write down your sub-points so you can follow along with your progress in communicating a clear and concise point. You may notice that the leaders in your organization don’t come empty handed to meetings, but rather with a notebook and pen. They are making sure they are prepared and communicating effectively.
Tone of voice
The tone of voice is something we all overlook. Much can be told from the tone of voice someone is communicating with. A problem that makes people seem incompetent is uptalking. Uptalking is when you finish a statement with a higher pitched voice making a statement seem like a question. This is a common communication mistake made that makes people seem lost and clueless. The goal is always to be competent.
Solution: Try practicing so you can eliminate uptalk. Analyze the situations in which you usually uptalk. Situations include asking questions and speaking about things you aren’t sure about. Even in these situations, speak with confidence. Ask questions with confidence. It makes a large difference in how you are perceived. Plus leaders in the company will be a lot more comfortable making you a leader.
Practicing these solutions can help ensure productivity and smooth operating in the workplace. Those who are leaders, and great team players, communicate effectively. Let us make sure we do the same and have people see us in a brighter light!
Thank you to LaLeesha Haynes for an inspiring session at ATD last week!