This post was most recently updated on October 23rd, 2023
[A collaboration post- all thoughts are my own.]
Communication is the key to every great company or organization. How they communicate both internally and externally represents their whole reputation. And communication problems are something that everyone has to avoid.
Even with appropriate communication measures in place, communication problems still occur. According to a 2013 survey, it is the number one reason couples split up, with 65% of couples citing this issue as the primary cause of divorce. But it’s not only relationships that are affected by communication problems—they are often at the root of conflicts in our everyday lives.
Common Communication Problems We All Make
Perhaps we fail to say what we truly mean, we’re not truly listening to each other, or we misinterpret the words of another. Whatever the blunder, we could all benefit from recognizing our communication mistakes and turning them into communication skills.
Here are five common communication problems we all make:
We’ve probably all interrupted another person’s midsentence once or twice—or there could be more. It can happen accidentally, or we may get so excited about what we want to say and fear we will forget if we don’t just go ahead and say it.
Whatever the intention, interrupting can make a person feel like what they have to say is unimportant. As a child, adults like to interrupt me. It’s not like what I’m saying is unimportant; sometimes adults just want to be heard, and that’s totally hurtful. Have respect for the other person and allow them to finish the message entirely before you respond. This is also an important part of politeness.
Not truly listening
When we are communicating with someone, we often do not give our full attention. We might be looking at our phones, watching television, or even keeping busy with something else. We don’t actively listen to the person we are speaking to, and thus not only do we run the risk of making the person feel invalidated, but we also may not fully understand the person’s message.
I hate it when I speak to my parents or family, and they ignore me because of their phones. I don’t get too addicted to my phone, so when it’s family time or someone speaking to me, I won’t touch my phone. To avoid communication problems, it is best to give the speaker 100% of our attention—making eye contact, asking clarifying questions, and remaining engaged.
Misinterpreting the message
Well, we may misinterpret more often what our friends or co-workers are saying. In today’s society, we are spoiled by the existence of communication technology, and we open ourselves more to misinterpretation. Without tone of voice, facial expression, and nonverbal cues, it can be easy to misunderstand each other.
Misinterpreted information has caused countries to quarrel and cost renowned international companies upwards of $$ million per mistranslation. So, how do you prevent misinterpretation?
Day Translations is confident that the key to preventing misinterpretation is to hire professional interpreting services that follow a strict quality assurance process. As long as the interpreter can hear the message clearly, has a solid understanding of the subject matter, and is fluent in both the source and target languages, a clear and accurate interpretation ensues.
Assuming we know the message before the person finishes
We’ve all done it. We’re listening to a friend speak, and we already assume we know what is going to be said before they finish their sentence. I can say that a big part of the reason my mom and I fought so much was that she wasn’t a very good listener. She judges even before I finish my sentence and likes to interrupt me when I only need someone to listen to my problems.
When we assume we know what the person will say, we miss what is actually being said. Honor the speaker by remaining attentive to the message rather than predicting what will be said.
Failing to understand the cultural differences
Words can take on different meanings, and cultural norms surrounding nonverbal communication may vary. When communicating with people from different cultures or countries, it’s important to account for cultural differences in communication styles. If we don’t, we may accidentally offend someone. The last thing that I want when working as a translator.
Modern workplaces are often more diverse than ever before, especially those companies that work with multicultural clients or employees. For successful teamwork, they need solutions to bring individuals of varying backgrounds together. For example, team-building activities can be held every month, and organize each team with individuals who normally don’t work together or those with different cultural backgrounds.
These are only five communication problems that I face in my everyday life. In fact, there are more: letting your emotions affect your response, attacking character rather than behavior, or avoiding difficult conversations. Have you had any communication problems that weren’t here? Let me know your thoughts below.