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The 6 Worst Employee Communication Mistakes 

Having Trouble Communicating?  
“Assuming you’ve done a good job of hiring, your employees have skills that contribute to the growth of your business—but that doesn’t mean they’re all great communicators.”

“Business owners often encounter difficulties in getting their employees to better express themselves and interact with others.”

Here are six of the worst employee communication mistakes, with suggestions for improvement:

1. Vague emails, lacking a call to action

“Email communications are so pervasive in our daily lives that it’s easy to forget basic business email etiquette. Among the most common errors:”

“Too wordy, with no clear substance.”


“Vague or misleading title in the subject field.”

“An unprofessional tone (joking, sarcastic, indignant, impolite).”

“No clear call to action.”

•Consider holding a brief “refresher course” or send out helpful tips to get people on the same page. Remind employees to:

“Keep messages concise.”

“Let the email recipient know whether the message is urgent or time-sensitive.”

“Be explicit about what you’re asking for, be it information or action.”


2. Failure to double-check spelling and grammar

“Emails with improper grammar and misspelled words are unacceptable when employees communicate with management or, most important, with your customers.”

“Make sure employees understand that spell-check alone doesn’t guarantee an error-free message. They must re-read their messages and ensure that spell-check hasn’t substituted an incorrect word for the one intended. Also, find and fix ambiguous language.”


3. Lack of a prompt response to emails from others

“Employers must also take responsibility for getting employees to respond to emails in a timely manner. Don’t indulge in a long-winded message forcing the recipient to puzzle out what to do next.”

“If you need answers, ask specific questions. Request a response by a certain time or date. And restrict the number of people receiving the email. Seeing a long list of recipients, any one employee may think others will respond instead of him or her.”


4. Gossiping in the workplace

“Every employer knows how destructive gossip can be. To cope with this human weakness, try these tactics:”

“Indicate a zero-tolerance policy for gossip in your employee handbook. This makes everyone aware of the company’s position from the first day of employment.”

“If you learn about someone gossiping, speak directly to that individual and remind them about your company policy.”

“Share as much information about your business as possible, thus discouraging people’s tendency to speculate in a vacuum of knowledge.”

5. Inability to read body language

“Some are more adept than others at reading body language and picking up on nonverbal cues. If your business involves frequent face-to-face encounters, consider holding training sessions in how to read body language, with particular attention paid to:”

“How close or far another person stands while talking to you.”

“The degree of eye contact made.”

“Whether the other person has his or her arms crossed or open.”

“Signs of fidgeting or nervousness (indicating defensiveness or resistance to the speaker’s message).”

“Encourage employees to concentrate more when interacting with co-workers or customers. Stay alert to facial expressions, hand gestures, and other types of body language.”


6. Monopolizing meetings

“Some employees are extroverts and tend to dominate meetings, to the detriment of others. How can you discourage this behavior?”

“Politely hold up your hand to indicate you’d like the person to stop speaking.”

“When the employee takes a breath, redirect the conversation to include others.”

“If the problem persists, take the offender aside in private and, while showing you appreciate their input, ask them to hold back or at least limit their comments so others can speak.”

“With positive guidance, employees can learn to avoid these common communication mistakes.”



News Flash: You Can’t Fake Being Authentic

You Can’t Fake Being Authentic

“A lot is being said and written about being authentic these days because so many people aren’t. Think about a police chief who fudges his department’s response to a crisis. Or, government and corporate leaders that promise one thing and then do another.”

“What is Authenticity?:

Authenticity means being real or genuine, and telling the truth. You can’t tell someone you’re being authentic. You have to demonstrate it by your behavior. You have to be who you say you are.

Employees value a CEO who is honest and not afraid to open himself up and show some emotion. We coached a senior partner of a law firm for several years. One day he was asked to speak to the partnership about what the firm meant to him.

When talking about the firm in rehearsal, he was overcome with emotion and had difficulty getting the words out. He kept practicing because we knew that once he was able to manage his emotions, he could hold his own on stage.

On the day of the meeting, Jim got through his remarks with a catch or two in his voice and just a few tears in his eyes. His ability to show emotion may have surprised some of the partners, but they were very touched by his authenticity and his love of the firm.”

“Mingling With Employees:

When your name is on the door, you can never be just “one of the guys.” It’s a delicate balance between being aloof and developing a genuine rapport with employees.

Bill Hewlett and David Packard, the founders of Hewlett Packard, practiced management by walking around , a concept popularized in the blockbuster book In Search of Excellence . This means making spontaneous visits to employees to learn first hand what’s really going in the company and getting valuable feedback from employees. These visits are a great morale booster.

But you can’t just drop into the company cafeteria once a year and pretend that you’re interested in your employees. That’s just going through the motions. It’s not authentic.”

“Good leaders meet with their employees regularly. One CEO we work with invites a different group of employees to dine with him in the cafeteria every other week. He learns more than he would by sitting in his office and it demonstrates his genuine commitment.

The founder and now retired CEO of Costco, Jim Sinegal, was labeled a “retailing genius” in a CNBC special about the retailer (below). A shirtsleeves leader, he spent most of his time on the road visiting his warehouse stores. He wanted to know from store managers what was working and what wasn’t. Sinegal could then apply what he learned to the entire network.”



10 Barriers to Communication During Depression




“One of the most challenging aspects of living with or supporting a person who suffers with depression is communication. People who are depressed are usually highly sensitive to direct or implied criticism. Ideally we should try to understand but this often doesn’t happen. There are some very common ways that both cut off communication and serve to make things more difficult than they need to be.”


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