Cape Town - Did you know that poor communication could cost
your company over R40 000 per employee annually?
This is according to a study, which highlights the vital
importance of setting up and managing effective communication channels in your
Su-Mari du Bruyn, partner in Adapt To Change, a company
which specialises in assisting companies and entrepreneurs, lists the most
common communication pitfalls to avoid.
recipients are sometimes literally out of hearing or reception range and don't
get the necessary information timeously. They could, for example, be off ill or
at a meeting instead of in front of their computers.
failures: examples include computer systems that crash, emails that get
diverted to your spam box, post that remains undelivered or even interference
on a telephone line.
- Staff, clients or
suppliers have poor concentration, a lack of focus or are distracted: tis could
be as a result of information overload, too many things to do, personal
problems, a lack of sleep or health related issues.
- The right
information, wrong person: you have
information that you know someone within your organisation should receive, but
you don't know the correct person to send it to.
staff, clients or suppliers with hearing deficiencies, speech impediments or
even dirty glasses, can result in a distortion of the message that you were
trying to get across.
- Language (including
jargon and accents): we have 11 official languages in South Africa as well as
many internationals who work here, so there is bound to miscommunication
because of misunderstood slang and strong accents. This is not even to mention
industry specific acronyms, which could mean something completely different to
someone from a different industry.
- It’s not what you
said, but how you said it: speed, tone, body language and perceptions can all
impact on the interpretation of the message. With communication it is not a one
size fits all.
- Ambiguity or
insufficient information: someone supplies information that is vague or not
complete, for example bad/incomplete directions to a meeting.
differences: South Africa is culturally diverse so, as with language, there is
bound to be miscommunication due to a lack of understanding of a staff member,
supplier or client's culture.
- Body language: many
people do not understand the powerful statement they make when their body
language communicates something different to what they are saying.
- You hear only what
you want to hear: your own perceptions often influence the message you receive.
- Unnecessarily long
communication channels: communication channels should be short and direct. The
probability for miscommunication increases exponentially if your message has
been filtered and repeated through various recipients before it reaches the
final intended destination.
messages: this happens when for example an email confirms one meeting time
while a telephone phone call discusses something completely different.
- Lack of candour or
distrust: a lack of trust between people in business could lead to
judgement of importance: a lack of understanding of project or company
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