Are You Still Making These Errors In Business Communication?

As a professional career consultant, I am contacted by corporate employees almost everyday, looking for effective solutions to various types of workplace problems that they might be facing. One of the most common requests I receive is a plea to provide some quick fix to polish up the communication etiquettes of workers – from almost all levels. While there are no magic recipes for becoming the smartest communicator and interaction expert in a corporate environment, ironing out the common mistakes is definitely likely to prove handy. Thorough business communication training is what’s required, to stay away from these errors:
i. Launching a personal tirade – There will be infuriatingly stressful situations at office – but you simply must not lose your head on such occasions. At my corporate training institute, I keep emphasizing to students the importance of staying calm and collected, even in the face of extreme provocation at workplace. Do not ever personally attack anyone, even if (s)he has made a serious mistake. A war of words can permanently destroy working relationships. Instead, take your time and find out ways to settle problems amicably.
ii. Not following up after initial communications – This is probably how most apparently ‘sure-shot’ sales deals are missed. According to any experienced skill trainer, following up after an initial business interaction – right from a meeting, to a simple email conversation – is an absolute must. In case you find the other party to be not contacting you after a certain period of time, you need to be proactive enough to give that person a nudge.
iii. Showing that you are vulnerable – Your boss can rebuke you, your seniors might be dissatisfied with your performance, or you may simply be feeling pressurized with the volume of work handed to you. As far as my knowledge in soft skill training goes, it would be grossly inadvisable to come across as too weak or vulnerable under such trying circumstances. In particular, crying in front of anyone at office (including your closest colleague) is an absolute ‘no-no’. Be confident, keep your chin up, and tackle difficulties efficiently.
iv. Being too funny for your own good – In a corporate environment, being witty works great, but having a frivolous attitude does not. Communication training experts maintain that, while having a proper sense of humor is ideal in a young employee, (s)he should never be looking forward to crack jokes at every opportunity. During meetings with your boss or a prospective client, don’t make remarks that are out of place. Avoid sharing anecdotes that reek of racism and/or have a lot of slangs.
v. Asking for a raise without having a case for yourself – If you are putting in the hard yards for your organization, it is only natural that you would expect regular increments and other perks. If the same are not forthcoming, the onus is on you to get in touch with your senior(s), and ask for a raise that you feel you deserve. If you are proficient at vertical communication training nuances, you would know the importance of preparing a record of the facts and figures, which would clearly justify your demands. Simply bursting in your boss’ room shouting for a raise might end up with you being handed the pink slip!
vi. Not seeking the opinion of others – Managing a company is not a one-man job, and consensual decision-making is something that is instrumental in steering any corporate organization in the right direction. That’s precisely why the leadership training modules at my institute include lessons for participative management. If you are employed in a senior position at your office, you need to consult other important colleagues/peers – before arriving at any important business decision. Do not simply impose your opinions on others.
vii. Overlooking the importance of employee training – Over my career, I have come across many aspiring professionals who tend to treat initial orientation and employee training programs as a bit of a waste of time. It is vital to realize that these training sessions are the best time to get a grasp of the workflow processes in an organization that you would have to handle later. Being attentive would also help you get an in-depth understanding of the company mission and visions. No matter how qualified you are, do not make the mistake of neglecting the importance of regular training.
viii. Being the office flirt – Being an efficient worker does not give you the license to flirt about with everyone at office. In fact, if your advances keep distracting your colleagues of the other sex – you might even get reported to the HR department/directly to the boss. A severe reprimand might follow, which would definitely hurt your personality development process. I keep cautioning my students against trying to portray themselves as veritable Office Casanova-s – it can be very dangerous!
ix. Poor body language – Communication training is not only about verbal interactions, and you need to be constantly aware of this. During one-to-one interactions with peers/seniors, make sure that your body language is such that, you genuinely seem interested in what the other person is talking about. Maintain eye-contact, do not lean back on your seat, and avoid glancing at your watch repeatedly. Employees with smart and sincere body language are looked favorably upon by all business leaders.
Devise ways that would be best suited for you to keep daily stress levels down, so that self-motivation levels are maintained. Find out in detail about all the rules and regulations at your office, and make sure that you do not violate any of them. Over time, my institute has churned out a fair few successful corporates, and I believe that avoiding the above mistakes has done wonders for their careers!


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