Communication Failure

We all know people who struggle to communicate well, but there may be some things we are all doing that could make us ineffective communicators. Have a look at the following five habits and see whether you are guilty of any of these.


Number One

“Not Today Thank You. I’m Very Busy.”

Bad habit number one is constantly telling people you are in a rush and don’t have long to speak to them. Obviously, sometimes it can’t be helped if you have a train to catch or workshop to run but if you find yourself saying it all the time consider the effect on those around you. You are telling them that they are not as important as x, y and z.

If you say it to the same people enough, they will start to believe they are less important. If they are your employees, this could have consequences such as reduced productivity, reduced motivation and eventually they may choose to move on. If it is customers or suppliers, they may look to cultivate relationships with a business they feel they matter to instead of yours.

 Number Two


Bad habit number two is not putting a subject on an email or forwarding an email without checking the subject is relevant. I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point, but, again, if you make a habit of this it is less likely people will be able to find your email in a search or may be confused by it and not answer.

 Number Three

“Can we reschedule?”

Are you one of those people who is always cancelling a meeting, contacting people to reschedule or not phoning when you say you will? Then you are guilty of bad habit number three.

We all have to reschedule occasionally but beware of it becoming a habit. You don’t want to get a reputation for being unreliable. You are also sending a message to people that there was something more important than them. As above, if the same people are being told this regularly they will start to believe it.


Unproductive communication

Number Four

Feedback failure

Are you always the one giving information or instructions rather than receiving?  Do you stop to really listen to what other people think? Do you welcome feedback? When you are given feedback, do you take it on board? If not, you embody bad habit number four.

If people think you aren’t really paying attention to their views, they won’t bother giving them or will give them on the wrong forums. Make sure your customers/clients/employees know you are open to ideas and suggestions and perhaps give a specific forum for this where necessary. The most crucial thing is that you must then show you are really listening.


Number Five

Constant complainers

In at number five is the person who is always complaining.

We all know someone who is always moaning about something. Everything they say is negative and they always look stressed and unhappy. Take a step back – is that you?

If so, beware!

People gravitate towards positive people. If you are always negative, people won’t want to be around you. This means you will miss out on valuable conversations and will start to be isolated from your team. Eventually, the negativity will start to wear off on others and you may see motivation, dedication and profits fall.


Photo credit: Celestine Chua via / CC BY

Try to leave your personal feelings to one side when communicating with your team and, instead, help others to feel more positive and motivated about their job. You may find it actually helps you to develop a more positive outlook along the way.


I hope you have found some of these tips useful. If you would like more tips, enquire about my communication skills course.