Everyone makes mistakes, but errors in communication can have serious and lasting consequences. They could result in upset clients, lost business or a damaged reputation. Use these tips to lessen the chance of communication errors:
- Proofread your message – Don’t underestimate the value of proofreading. Spell checkers won’t catch words that are used incorrectly—for example, affect and effect, or company’s and companies. Ask a coworker to proof your documents or read your writing aloud to spot mistakes.
- Pick the right channel – Email is great, but sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone or meet in person. Delivering a message in person or via the phone allows you to determine if your message has been heard and received correctly and can help avoid misunderstandings.
- Be prepared – Carefully and thoroughly prepare and plan your communications. To do this, block a time on your calendar to devote to message preparation. Better still, find a quiet location away from interruptions and distractions to review your communications.
- Tailor your message – People learn and receive information differently. If you use a one-size-fits-all communication approach, you fail to take into consideration others’ interests, needs, viewpoints and personalities. Always tailor your communication approach to your specific audience.
- Listen more – It’s important to truly listen to what other people are saying, both through their words and their body language. Avoid thinking about how to respond or interrupting while they’re speaking. Wait until you have completely heard them before responding. The best communicators are the best listeners!
Good communication enhances your professional reputation and your business relationships. Practice these five tips to help keep your communications error-free!