5 Common Communication Mistakes to Avoid

There are so many complications and mistakes that can distort our modern-day communication, yet the words we use are not always the instigator of the conflict. Sometimes a simple look or the wrongly assumed tone can cause an unexpected reaction.

Here are five common mistakes we make in communication – try to consider how you can avoid them!

Too much information

This is where the key points are drowned out by overwhelming attention to irrelevant detail. Remember, avoid complexity at all costs. It can make the receiver feel inferior and lead to a misunderstanding of expectations.

The result can be disastrous, especially if there is a chance that the receiver may be embarrassed or sent in the wrong direction. We have all seen the results of what we thought was a harmless error in perception, that resulted in a catastrophic reaction.

5 Communication Mistakes to Avoid
5 Communication Mistakes to Avoid
Frame of Reference

Where misinterpretation is due to the language or an implication of tone, it can trigger a defensive reaction. Too often we are victims by how we perceive our environment, we all have filters such as prejudices.

Frames of reference can also be attached to status. For example, if an MD sends an email to a junior, there may be a knee-jerk reaction of concern or amplification of responsibility.

The long, long chain of command

Red tape can reshape a clear message so-much-so that the objective can land miles from the intended call to action. Likewise, the dreaded Chinese whispers, where a message is verbally conveyed through many people, can leave the meaning distorted.

Factors that play a pivotal role also include the skill level we have to first understand the message and then translate it. Variations in tone of voice, as well as a misunderstanding of purpose, or even changing a word can unintentionally change the meaning.

For example, ‘we successfully enrolled 20 people into tests’ to ‘we only enrolled 20 people into tests’. Notice the huge difference in meaning!

What is the purpose?

With any message, the fundamental construction should be focused around the purpose. Why am I sending this, who is receiving it, what do I need them to do? Ensure that when checking the purpose of the message it is clear, concise and correct.


As the saying goes, assumption is the power of mistakes. I assume you understood, or I assume that you knew what I wanted, has to be arguably the most common reason why communication goes wrong.

Whether it’s those little innuendos hidden between the lines, or a misplaced idea that everyone works from the same set of standards. Assuming can be a very easy trap to fall into.

What can we do?

Check on understanding is the first stage. Ideally, ask a leading question to the receiver to summarise or give an explanation to the process.

Asking for their thoughts on how to solve or move forward is a deliberate step to check on understanding, to lead in an assertive manner to and allow the other person to think about a view or an opinion.

It is important to consider the other person’s point of view. Just those few extra minutes can greatly reduce the rate of misinterpretation. Can you really afford not to invest the time?

The Secret to Building your Influence in Sales

How do some people influence us so easily? They seem to effortlessly sway us into an agreement. Those razor-sharp, crystal cut people skills that acknowledge our importance and make us feel so special. You might call it the what’s-in-it-for-me clause that all great marketing and sales gurus just to seem to find in each of us so easily.

But how do you replicate this technique of sales influence?

The Secret to Sales Influence
The Secret to Sales Influence
What’s in it for them

Imagine the situation. The mother needs the child to get ready for school however, her demands for what she wants are ignored That is until she plants the seed of what’s-in-it-for-them.

Why rush later when we can leave now and we can get more choice of lunches from the deli, before the good ones are all gone?’. Is it a bribe? The lunch will still be bought yet the choice will be better made early. What does Mum want – to get to school on time. And we do this with every person we meet that we want to impress. We sell them something.

Rather than suggest what I want, add what’s in it for them.

Look at how on-line stores market their goods. “Only one left” or “prices will rise at the end of week”. The suggestion is that purchasing now saves you from losing something, and you gain the best deal. Yet we find another small device tucked into the last idea of suggesting a purchase.

Loss Aversion

People will hate the idea of losing something. We see this happening so much in relationships, in habits and in opinions. The fear of giving up something, that although it may be possibly harmful to us, losing it causes us to avoid the action.

The Official

Other areas where we are influenced is the act of the official. If for example, you walk into a doctor’s surgery and on his walls is an art gallery of certificates and licences you will be easily persuaded to follow their directions.

This idea can work wonders to sell the next person on in your organisation. “I will pass you to my colleague Phil, who has seventeen-years in solving issues like this.” The client is immediately sold on anything that Phil might suggest, having been persuaded that Phil is the expert.


Other areas that can influence us easily in the personality of the person you are dealing with. Have you ever met a salesperson you have just liked?

They make you feel a part of a friendship and engage you at such a level of communication you try to impress them. They almost bait you with ideas, that they are really glad to meet you, and oh yes forget the product I am selling, what brings you out today?

They share jokes about themselves and engage you with such rapport that minutes vanish into an hour, and before you know it, you have their product nicely locked under your arm and you’re walking away feeling pretty happy about the great deal you just made, and the top person you just impressed.

Don’t believe it? Watch how easily attractive salespeople can light you up and make you feel more important than their product.

And that’s the key isn’t it, the secret to being influential. It’s all about how you make the person feel.

Learn more about developing your sales skills or influencing effectively on one of our many sales training programmes.