Seven bad communications habits cause trouble
One or two bad communication habits is all it takes to cause a lifetime of trouble. And with today’s quick and easy methods of communication, it’s all too easy for bad habits to work their way in. You overreact to an e-mail—not for the first time—and send off a furious and damaging reply. Your spouse accuses you of not listening (again) and you have to sheepishly admit (again) that she’s right. You offend your “friends” or followers on a social media platform with yet another ill-advised attempt at humor. Or you can’t resist a snarky comeback to a difficult customer’s provocation, even though you immediately regret your words. When bad communication habits take over, the reputation you worked so hard to cultivate takes a beating.
“Even if you suffer from only one bad habit, it can recur in dozens of conversations and cause damage each time. But the good news is that by eliminating a single bad habit you can prevent many future problems. In fact, nothing else you can do gives you as much bang for your buck as resolving to eliminate a bad communication habit. And there’s no better time to add a bad communication habit to your quit list than the new year,” said communication expert Geoffrey Tumlin.
“This is the best time in human history to be a competent communicator,” Tumlin asserts. “It’s true that it can be incredibly difficult to break free of the bad habits associated with the distraction, expediency, self-expression, and excess that characterize so much of our digital-age communication. Yet if we are willing to cast off some of our bad communication habits, we can optimize opportunities to connect productively and meaningfully with other people.”
“Bad communication habits are the punishment that keeps on giving,” said, the author of the new book Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life.
Here, Tumlin shares seven of the most common bad communication habits. If any of the habits hit dangerously close to home, resolve to improve or eliminate them in 2014:
Bad Habit #1: Letting the Neanderthal pick your words. When we’re agitated, irritated, or frustrated, a battle plays out between our primitive, impulse-driven Neanderthal brain and our more modern, thoughtful, and deliberative brain. And while the Neanderthal parts of our brain are indispensable when we’re in physical danger, our Neanderthal brain is terrible at picking our words. Word selection is better left to our more analytical modern brain, because the Neanderthal prefers to club first and ask questions later.
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