No matter what industry you’re in and no matter what your job title, your job description likely includes some requirement pertaining to communication skills.
“Great oral and written communication skills a must.”
“Excellent interpersonal communication skills required.”
“Must have experience communicating with staff, managers, and customers.”
Unfortunately, many people tend to spend more time worrying about and working on their technical proficiency than they do their communication skills.
The result? A lack of career progression and sometimes even career death.
It’s unlikely that having just one of the weaknesses below will cause a person’s career to come to crash and burn. However, having several of them, or having a few of them that get worse over time, may have a cumulative negative impact most of us would probably like to avoid.
Here are some of the most common career crushing communication weaknesses.
1. Having a poor handshake.
2. Poor written communication skills.
3. Inability to adapt your communication style to different audiences, including people of different generations.
4. Nonverbal communication that conveys weakness or negativity, such as slouching, leaning away from a speaker, mumbling, speaking too softly, and vocalized pauses (uhs and ums) to name a few.
5. Inability to maintain eye contact, especially when confronted by an aggressive, angry, or powerful person.
6. Being a poor listener.
7. Saying, “I’m sorry” too much, especially when something isn’t your fault.
8. Using qualifiers, hedges, and hesitations. “I uh, sort of think we maybe should start the meeting, don’t you?”
9. Failing to praise or thank people for their good work.
10. Being late to meetings, thereby communicating that you don’t care, or that you think your time is more valuable than other people’s.
11. Not planning for difficult conversations BEFORE you have them.
What other communication “career killers” would you add to this list?
Amy Castro is a workplace and leadership communication expert and speaker. She is also the author of Practical Communication- 25 Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Getting Along and Getting Things Done and The Secrets to Effective Leadership Communication: From the Top 10 Leadership Posts of “The Performance Communication Blog,” available on Amazon.com for Kindle.
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