It’s pretty safe to say everyone agrees that effective communication skills are a vital “soft” skill for success yes?
But many people are totally unaware of every day communication mistakes that go unchecked.
These mistakes not only get in the way of our success – but they also piss people off – damaging important work relationships.
Following are 4 common communication mistakes that piss people off – and how to stop them.
4 Communication Mistakes that Piss People Off
1. Constantly interrupting when others are speaking.
We all know who these people are and they really piss us off.
Interruptions can take many forms. The most common is the question that just can’t wait until we are finished speaking our thought and/or presentation. The interrupter needs to have their question answered now!
People who constantly interrupt others exhibit poor listening skills and are usually not interested in what you are saying.
Interrupters have to say what they need to say the moment a thought or comment or question pops into their head.
Quite frankly, they don’t really care to listen to what you have to say – after all, it’s really all about them.
If you want to damage your work relationship – make it a point to interrupt every chance you get. People will surely be pissed off at you.
Solution: Make a conscious effort to pause and breathe deeply before opening your mouth to speak. This takes practice but it is a skill that can be learned.
2. The Space Invader invades our personal space by standing way too close to us during a conversation.
This invasion of our personal space leaves us feeling uncomfortable and a little anxious at times.
Why? Space invaders upset our human desire to avoid “getting so close to other people.” For a more detailed discussion of personal space go to: http://bit.ly/personal-spaces
The appropriate speaking distance between two people, although it varies according to culture and level of intimacy, is between four (4) ft. and twelve (12) ft.
Solution: Simply know what 4-12 ft. looks like and put it into play.
3. Constantly breaking eye contact during a conversation. If you want to send someone the message they do not have your full attention –let your eyes frequently wander away from them while they are speaking.
Glancing at our phone, checking our watch –doing all sorts of other seemingly benign behavior– sends the message that you are distracted.
Or, perhaps even worse, that you have something better to do with your time than listen to them.
Conversely, unrelentingly staring at someone while they are speaking can be intimidating – and downright creepy.
You know the stare – we all do. It can leave us feeling intimidated. And no one likes it one bit.
Solution: Maintain appropriate genuine eye contact throughout the conversation. You do not want to be constantly looking away from the speaker – nor do you want to appear obsessively “locked in”. Either behavior will piss people off.
4. Poor Body Language
Over fifty (50%) of all communication takes place non-verbally. More specifically, our body language screams messages without uttering one word!
Poor posture, fidgeting, flailing arms and anything else that might distract the listener will inhibit your ability to get your message across.
Besides being distracting, it can be annoying and irritating – and yes, you guessed it, piss people off.
If you want to communicate your message with confidence, competence and poise – you must look confident, competent and poised.
Solution: Practice speaking in front of a mirror or video yourself speaking and then watch the video with the volume turned off. This will give you great insight into what message your body language is sending. Or perhaps ask someone you trust to evaluate your body language while speaking.
Practice, practice, and practice some more.
Some people are naturally effective communicators, most of us are not.
Remember - the goal of communication is to connect with others, ditch any behavior that advances this goal.
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