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6 subtle communication gaffes even smart HR pros make

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Here are six common communication mistakes that people—especially professional women—make in the workplace, according to communications consultant Colette Carlson (www.speakyourtruth.com):

  1. Failing to speak up early in meetings. Ideally, speak up in the first third of the meeting. The earlier you jump in, the more you’re seen as a contributor.
  2. Using phrases that signal a lack of confidence. Examples: “I could be wrong …,” or, “I’m probably forgetting something …” Such defensive phrases protect the speaker, says Carlson, “so that, if you don’t like my idea, you’ll still like me.”
  3. Adding “tag lines” to your statements. Examples: “We’ll send the contract on Friday … OK?” or, “It would be better if we scheduled lunch before 1 p.m. … don’t you agree?” Tag lines make it sound as if you’re asking for approval.
  4. Over-apologizing. Example: “I’m sorry, but I need to ask what business you have with Mr. Smith.” Saying you’re sorry implies fault and undermines your credibility.
  5. Looking unprepared when entering a room. Example: Fidgeting, making hurried movements, shifting your eyes from person to person. “The fewer movements you make,” says Carlson, “the more people perceive you as prepared, confident and under control.”
  6. Deflecting praise. Don’t immediately shrug off praise or minimize it. That makes people think you don’t deserve it. Instead, say: “Thank you. I worked really hard on that, and I appreciate your noticing.” If you recognize praise, you’ll hear more of it.  

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