Are you good? Yes. Can you improve? Of course.

There is no time like now to improve our communication habits.

When so many other things are outside of our control, spiralling downhill and causing us concern, one thing we can manage is our communication habits.

Of course it is so positive-sounding to come at this from a What Works perspective. Yet when I do this, I think I am actually okay in my communication. I think my habits are in line with what works.

However, when I see What Doesn’t Work, that’s when my eyes are opened and I can see which habits to turn around. Can you relate?

So let me share with you the 7 Worst Communication Habits, which came from Ivy Sea Online: .

1. Contacting people only when we need something. We may open the conversation with, “Hey, it’s been awhile and I want to find out how you are.” Yet before long, our real intention comes out. We spill the beans about needing a favor, about needing advice, support, or something that sounds just the opposite of the original intention of learning about the listener.

How to avoid this? Take the time to place friendly phone calls or send out friendly notes, no strings attached. Especially when the notes are focused on something meaningful, something you value about the individual, set on making their day. Avoid the business card. That has a business ring to it, not a “friendly” one.

This is the way to prove that relationship really is important to you. And it is demonstrated by your communication patterns.

2. Not following up or closing the loop. Time is no excuse for not following up or closing the loop. This habit simply says that you don’t value the recipient or activity well enough to create a system of follow up. You don’t value being professional, common courtesy or the act of coming to a sense of completion.

Task management is the key here. Understand your priorities – those which involve both tasks and people. Then schedule your priorities into your day, your week, your month.

Stick to your plan. Letting the urgent overcome the priorities means you don’t trust your ability to delegate, to train others, to let go of the small stuff. Maybe you don’t trust yourself in handling tough conversations.

Commit to building your confidence.

3.Not returning telephone calls or email messages. Similar to the habit # 2, this one may demonstrate not only an avoidance tactic but also a procrastination.

Create the habit of staying in communication. There is nothing more important than this. It allows relationship and task to be developed. It allows no information to be shared, it allows for apologies to happen, for questions to be asked and for communication to dig a little deeper.

4. Skipping basic courtesy. Maybe we were never taught basic courtesy, yet there are examples of it all around us. As adults, we know the value of respecting another’s willingness to do something for us, especially when they do it with positive attitude. Saying Thank You, I’m sorry, Please all are courtesies that go a long way. And when they are shared with sincerity, trust builds rapidly.

We can do well to remember this basic lesson from Kindergarten when playing in our adult world.

5. Not listening. There are so many fun tools at our disposal today – blackberries, Ipods, computer screens, etc. that our attention is rarely on one thing specifically. So when someone interrupts our space, whether with a phone call, a face to face encounter or an email, we divide our attention between them and whatever we want to focus on.

In so doing, we miss things – the important things like the essence of their message. We assume. ASS U ME – remember that proverb? Making an Ass out of both U and ME? That’s what happens when we assume and that’s also what happens when we divide our attention by choosing not to listen.


6.Telling Lies. I have to admit, this is a difficult habit to turn around. Whether the lie’s intention is to deliberately mislead or to avoid hurting someone, either one can lead us into ruin.

To be an honest communicator we must have both skill and courage in stating what is truth while understanding that small hurts are worse than destruction lies generate.

Making a practice of telling truth is the very essence of communication. Without this habit, we aren’t communicating anything but distrust.

7.Spewing chronic negativity. I just sent out a newsletter on this particular habit. What this habit boils down to is resenting what we don’t have or not knowing how to get what we want, so the only activity left is to complain.

But the impact it makes is for others to see us as a wet blanket, sapping the energy of those around us. We are a kill-joy and grow to be despised.

Look out for the feedback that will surface from such a toxic habit!

Okay, with a list like this there is no doubt something to work on, and there’s no time like now.

Choose just one habit, and you’ll regain the control you’ve been after. Need any help? Let me know. I’m with you on this.

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On June 12th, 2010, posted in: Uncategorized by