Avoiding Miscommunication in Business: Be Specific

When it comes to miscommunication, your place of work is apt to enjoy first place with respect to the number of miscommunications that may come to pass. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of some common communication pitfalls that could lead to a lack of productivity, and ultimately loss.

Not Enough Detail
Consider the following email: “Ask your group leader for a copy of the report filed with the District Attorney regarding Mrs. Smith. They should have it in their system. Forward this to me at your earliest convenience. I have a meeting with her next week.”

Some questions that the associate might be inclined to ask are as follows: Who is my group leader? Who is the District Attorney? Who is Mrs. Smith? Is there more than one file? Which system are they using? Who are you meeting next week, my group leader, the District Attorney or Mrs. Smith?”

When sending an email to someone, ensure that all of these questions will be answered. That way the associate can carry out the request without the need for further correspondence.

Lack of Context
If we don’t know the answer to something, we pass it off to the next person. In the office, this generally amounts to leaving it in their mailbox. With this type of communication, colleagues assume that what you bring to their attention, albeit in your absence, is the task upon which they should be focusing to the exclusion of all else. Unless the item at hand is, in fact, priority, leaving it with them without at least a cover letter addressing your concerns will amount to the colleague having stopped to examine something that they did not need to.

Term Agreement
In the workplace, the colleague who you are communicating with should hold the terms that you present to mean the same things that you do. Just as ‘communication,’ in and of itself, can be regarded as a loose term, a host of terms to which colleagues hold specific regard may cause miscommunications in the workplace. Be aware of them.

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