5 Common Communication Mistakes and How They Hurt Productivity

Productivity lack

When it comes to running your business, productivity is the name of the game. Ideally, everyone would perform perfectly, on time, every time; but we don’t live in a perfect world. In fact, there are dozens of small things throughout the day that can affect productivity, but some of the rarely considered mistakes involve communication.

Communication is the key to any business relationship, whether it be staff-management communication or communication with a client. Here are five common mistakes and how they could be hurting your productivity.

1. You Forgot To Edit That Email, Didn’t You?

Let’s say you’ve sent an important email with price changes and meeting times to dozens of employees, who are supposed to share that information with their team. A few hours later, you suddenly remember that you got some of the information wrong, and now you’ve circulated it to a good portion of your staff.

Editing anything you write is extremely important to conveying information to the reader in an accurate manner. If you forget to edit an email such as the one mentioned above, you’ve just created chaos within the office.

Incorrect information requires an edit after the fact, a revised email, and time taken away to track down all the employees who read the first email to be sure they have the new, correct information. Time is money, and when you’re spending it trying to fix your unedited emails, you’re hurting productivity in a major way.

Do yourself a favor: proofread and edit all of your emails for accuracy before sending them.

2. Your Presentation Is Messy and Unorganized

In the same vein of disorder as unedited emails, are unedited, unorganized presentations. Imagine this: You’re giving a large presentation to your management staff about the new year and all the important changes you expect to enact in the coming months. Policy changes, marketing strategies, the whole nine yards. You get up to present, and you’ve got a bunch of scribbled notes and a dry erase board. This is not effective communication.

When you give an unorganized presentation, you’re essentially revising it as you go. Not only does this prevent a clear message from reaching your audience, but it also takes more time, causing disengagement and boredom among your staff.

Presentations are time-consuming, and a bit usually boring to some extent. Adding disorganization to the equation will only have a negative impact on your productivity. Some staff may not understand the new information, some people may altogether “tune out” and stop paying attention entirely.

Creating engaging and easy to understand presentations is not difficult. You can use PowerPoint or other software to organize your ideas into an effective presentation, and always double check your work for accuracy and consistency.

3. Avoiding In Person Discussions About Sensitive Issues

If you’re in management, odds are you’re going to come across a conflict in the workplace, or an employee who’s having personal issues. While these can affect productivity on their own, avoiding them or hiding behind an email to address them can be even more harmful.

If an employee is underperforming because of personal issues, you’ll probably begin to notice a drop in productivity. As a manager, you should also be empathetic about the issues. A candid, in-person talk with the employee can help identify the issue, and give you both the chance to brainstorm ideas on how to fix it.

If you simply can’t talk to your employee in person, use a conference call service with video chat. Eye contact goes a long way when it comes to talking to people. Caring for your employees can go a long way in ensuring your business performs at maximum efficiency.

4. You’re Not Actually Listening

A good listener is invaluable in any setting, not just in a relationship. In the workplace, a good listener is able to identify key issues quickly, relay accurate information, and inform the correct people of tasks and problems.

Being an effective listener means focusing on what you’re being told, and absorbing the information. Miscommunication can cause the wrong information to be delivered (sometimes to the wrong person as well), causing confusion among your staff.

In addition to false or incorrect information circulating, not being a good listener can often lead to overlooking what may be important topics. When an employee raises a concern, there’s probably a good reason for it, and it should be taken seriously.

Listen to the details, to their tone of voice, to what others have said about the issue. Everyone’s input is valuable, and when you truly listen, you can solve issues much fast. This means more productivity and happier employees. That’s a win-win.

5. Reacting, Rather Than Acting When Facing Stressful Situations

It’s easy to get caught up in emotions when something stressful occurs or bad news is given. The easy thing to do is react, to lash out or react to the stressor in a way that is not altogether professional or healthy. It’s important to remember that action is always more effective than reaction. It conveys a message of confidence and discipline to your coworkers and staff when you act on this issue in a clear state of mind.

This approach gives you better control of the situation and sets a good example for others. If you’re always reacting, losing your temper or letting your emotions get the best of you, it can cause morale to drop, and thus productivity to drop as well. Being a leader means being disciplined and motivated to address problems correctly so that they’re solved the first time.

Communication Will Always Be Essential

Good communication will always be essential to running a healthy business. Sending a clear, organized message in an effective length of time can mean the difference between great communication and the wrong information being delivered. Take your time, mind your words, and remember to discuss sensitive topics in person. 

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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