Business EtiquetteBusiness General

Communication Breakdown

Simple Rules to a Successful Discussion.

Business Communication

Discussions at work could range from the usual quarterly business meetings to a good rewarding discussion with the boss privately handing out pats (and some kind of bonus we hope). Or, it could be bad, from a reprimand to departmental meetings regarding late projects.

Some of the latter discussions can get out of hand and end up in a total scream fest. That is what we call a genuine communication breakdown. Erratic defensiveness and bruised egos sometimes stir this culprit of bad teamwork.

Most times these flare-ups are a stir-pot of miscommunications and misunderstanding of some sort. One is curious, like me,  to find the comical spin of the situation; at what sparked the volcanic eruption in the meeting – because usually, it was a stupid miscommunication fubar. Let’s just blame it on a wrong adjective used and be done with it instead of pointing at one’s teammates.

One erratic business conversation could crumble the infrastructure of ‘the team’. Disdain and distrust because proper cautions were not used.  It could be days or weeks from that meeting that certain behaviors or words said in hasty and rude tones are now something being judged of one’s character. Decimals raised and the meek were even more introverted and quiet. What was a team is still shattered because of communication madness took over without rules or referees?

Most will say they talked during the discussion, but little would they say they were listening with the same vigor.  Listening is as much a part of communication as talking. You are not listening if you are interrupting someone with assumptions of what they were trying to convey had you waited for his point to be made.

There are rules of communication, unspoken and not taught in most schools. It is assumed one has learned from examples at home or at school among friends, at best we learned communication from film and television. It is where we practice our communication skills at work and universities that we discover how well we are at communicating.

Here is a list of good communication rule. It is not the full list of rules but it is enough for you to prevent another communication breakdown.

  • Share the conversation – Do not dominate the conversation. Communication is not only to give but it is to take also.
  • Be apart of the discussion – it goes both ways. No one can hear if you keep your part of the discussion in your head. You have things to say that is related to the conversation – please, do share.
  • Ask questions – if you are not clear what is being said ask or if you are inquisitive on the subject matter, ask and learn.
  • Focus on the positives – do not linger in the negatives and assumptions. Listen and learn what is being said and who is saying it. If after they have said their statements you can rebuttal if you are still in disagreement.
  • Respect everyone in the conversation – There is no need to yell down at someone nor is it ok to name-call or spit out obscenities.
  • Think before you speak – I heard this rule many times as a young lady. Listen and let it process in the mind before spewing the first thing on the tip of your tongue. The culprit of violating this rule is making assumptions then closing their mind in hearing anything else.

There are several other things I could add to this list. For example; to be calm when having the discussion. Bring a pad of paper to take notes or write points you would like to bring up. No need to pound the table or walls to get your point across. And if you are feeling anxious, I would cut back on the coffee, drink more water.  And last, don’t forget to breathe.

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