Imagine my horror when I saw every bad conversation habit I have, listed 1 – 8, for all to see! OK, I might only have six of the eight habits– but, does it matter? What is really being said when these habits are demonstrated. When you read Boogaard’s list of 8 Bad Communication Habits* below, think about two things… First, what are you trying to do? Second, how is this perceived by those listening?
- Constantly Interrupting: I am trying to hurry along the conversation or demonstrate my brilliance by filling in the blank. I am perceived as someone who is impatient and thinks my comments are more important.
- Multitasking: I am hoping the listener can’t tell I’m doing something else while pretending to be engaged. The person to whom I am speaking can tell immediately that I’m checked out! (Read my article on the Illusion of Productivity for more about the myth of multitasking.)
- Using Qualifiers: I am trying not to sound judgmental, so I attempt to ‘tone it down’ by saying something like, “You’ve probably already ruled this out, but…” I am perceived as someone who IS judgmental with delusions of superiority.
- Equating Your Experiences: I am trying to build rapport or express empathy… Oh, and get in a few words about ME! I am perceived as someone who always turns the conversion around to ME!
- Floundering: I am trying to boast by carrying on with details that make me look knowledgeable or interesting. I am perceived as someone who grandstands, showboats, or performs in front of a ‘live studio audience’.
- Avoiding Direct Contact: I am trying to play it safe or stay in control of my message. I am perceived as someone that writes rambling texts and emails, rather than making the effort to pick up the phone or walk to someone’s office.
- Waiting Instead of Listening: I am trying to share a witty remark or inquire about MY interests. I am perceived as someone who selfishly disregards the message of the speaker.
- Using Filler Words: I am trying to come up with a word, make a transition, or hold the stage. I am perceived as someone who doesn’t even know what I’m talking about.
As you read the list…were you relieved to find that my bad habits seem worse than yours? OK, re-read the list. But, this time, with only YOU in mind. (Oh, if you really don’t have any of these habits? Call me; I need an accountability partner!)
I confess, all of my habits have one thing in common: they turn a conversation into a selfish, egotistical, one-sided exchange. Frankly, it irritates the other speaker and gets a little boring! When I presented this topic to my Toastmasters Club, one member decided to focus on breaking one habit every week for the next 8 weeks! Love it! OK, that’s it… That’s all I have to say… Oh, I wasn’t rambling was I?
* Source: 8 Bad Communication Habits You Need to Break Immediately, Kat Boogaard (Contributor, Inc.com)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 21 years.