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MUST READ: 10 common mistakes Indians make at work

Last updated on: February 23, 2012 18:25 IST

MUST READ: 10 common mistakes Indians make at work

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Piyush Bhatia, corporate communication trainer, Founder and CEO of BM English Speaking tells you why it is important to avoid these common communication mistakes at work.

Effective communication is very essential for the success of an individual.

However, most people in our country, including professionals, lack the basic skills of communication.

Here, Piyush Bhatia, corporate communication trainer, Founder and CEO of BM English Speaking lists the ten common mistakes at work you need to avoid at work in order to make a better impression at your workplace.

1. Not maintaining proper eye-contact

When you maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to, you show confidence.

Eye contact with the listerner(s) allows the speaker to understand the mind of the listerner(s), customise the speech and to build a personal rapport.

Stand in front of a mirror and practice how to perfect your eye-contact while communicating.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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2. Speaking in a low voice

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A listener would not like to stress too much to listen.

A loud and clear voice is a sign of confidence and always welcome.

If your voice is clear, it communicates that you are very clear with what you are saying.

Low voice is also a sign of poor confidence.

To improve clarity in your speech, practise reading aloud a few sentences each day. Once you get a hang of it, you will learn to do it naturally while speaking.



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3. No attention to body language

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Research indicates that we communicate only 7 per cent through words.

Most of our communication is through body language.

However, if you realise, most of us don't pay much attention to what our body is communicating.

Sometimes, people who appear to be confident while speaking, are betrayed by their body language that reveal their nervousness. An effective communicator is one who is able to control and communicate in tandem to their body language.

To do that, we need to be aware about our own gestures, postures, facial expressions and body movements. A good way to start improving your body language would be to video record yourself and watch the same.

Ensure that what you are saying and what your body is communicating do not conflict each other.




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4. Speaking in a plain or dull voice

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When you speak in the same tone, very soon the listener(s) will get bored.

It is important that you modulate your voice to express the right emotions. Even simple things like pausing between words and sentences will make a difference.

Voice modulation allows you to stress on certain aspects, communicate the emotion and say something beyond words. Moreover, it keeps the audience interested in you.

Practise by reading daily used sentences; pause and stress on important words for impact.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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5. Not being in touch

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Silence may not always be golden, at least not at work.

For instance, when you don't answer a missed call, forget to reply to an email or fail to inform your manager that you will not be coming to office, you end up communicating that you either don't care or are in difficult situation. Which may not be the case.

Ensure that you answer all the missed calls, reply to all emails and keep seniors informed and updated.



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6. Improper grooming

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When a stranger enters a room, one look at the person is enough to generate a certain impression about him/her.

This largely depends on what you are wearing and how you conduct yourself.

No matter how hard it may be for you admit, one must realise that what you wear indirectly communicates our financial success, authority, choice, culture and hygiene habits.

You need not be wearing the best Armani in town, but it is important for you to dress the best so that you feel the best and confident from within.



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7. Not paying attention to the speaker

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An excellent listener also makes an excellent speaker because he paid attention to what the speaker was saying.

Now, there is a vast different between the words 'hearing' and 'listening'.

While you can 'hear' superficially by merely nodding your head and not absorbing a single word, 'listening' means paying full attention to the speaker and understanding the message.

Next time, someone talks to you, listen to them -- it will be the best gift you could give him/her.

Also, when you watch movies with subtitles, try to match the voice with the text. This will help you develop your listening skills.




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8. Constantly being interrupted

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Ideally, when a speaker is speaking, listener(s) should not talk.

Interrupting is bad manners and also breaks the flow of thought of a speaker.

One should wait for the speaker to complete what they are saying.

Next time you feel the need to interrupt someone while they are talking, raise your hand or use a signal to communicate, then, wait for the speaker to pause and allow you to make your point.



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9. Badly written emails

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While drafting emails, it is very important to use the right language for communication, especially if you are communicating to a senior employee.

Before sending an email, read what you have written at least once to avoid errors and possible miscommunication later.

A neat, tidy, well-formatted email with bullet points and relevant data communicates that the writer is focussed and organised.

Ideally, emails should always end with an action point.

Eg. Kindly ensure that the printer is in working condition by 11 am tomorrow.

A few tips for email communication: Re-read emails; do a spell check; format properly; mention subject of email clearly; use professional language (use words like kindly, please, thank you); explain technical terms, simplify jargons and end your email with the required action.



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10. Not considering the audience

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Most people say what they want to say and get away with it, but effective communication is about speaking what and how the audience wants to listen.

Listener(s) gets disconnected from the conversation if the speaker gets too technical or subjective.

Whenever you start a conversation, try to establish the purpose of your speech which will get the listener(s) interested.

Also stop and ask questions in between so that you know what you are speaking is being understood by people in the audience.

It is observed that most professionals invest lot of time, money and efforts in developing their technical skills but very few invest the same in developing their communication skills.

We must invest our time and efforts in enhancing our communication skills because they are as important as technical skills.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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