This new article will show you everything you need to know about how to prevent communication errors. Check how to (not) talk so that others can listen and understand us.
“It must be interesting to hear the same story from a few people,” I once said to a friend who worked with six conflicting managers of a corporation. “Definitely! Their versions of events are sometimes completely different – they notice and focus only on what is important to them. It makes me realize how randomly we see reality.
Each of us sees the world differently, has his own map of reality. With these maps and our vision of the world we try to meet and get along with others. It doesn’t work when we close ourselves to the messages of others, put up barriers and don’t want to know someone else’s view of the matter. Then conflicts arise and it becomes more and more difficult to communicate.
What to do in order to be able to get along despite different experiences, views, attitudes and feelings? First of all, it is necessary to realize and eliminate barriers that we put in contact with others. And secondly, you have to learn to recognize and communicate your own feelings and needs.
So what kind of phrases and reactions should we avoid in order to communicate constructively with others?
12 Communication Errors We Make All the Time
Expressing negative opinions about the other person, her actions, opinions, values and feelings, e.g. “You bring this on yourself, you cannot blame anyone else for the problems you are in”. Many of us seem to think that we need to evaluate and be critical in order to have an opinion and influence the improvement of others’ behaviour.
Some parents believe that criticising children will improve their behaviour, teachers believe that critical judgement helps students to learn and stimulates their ambitions, and employers believe that critical judgement motivates employees to work more efficiently. The willingness to accept or reject what the other person says is a frequent and strong mechanism in almost every one of us, and is also one of the strongest barriers to interacting with others.
Labelling, humiliating or stereotyping someone: “What a fool”, “Well, a typical woman”, “You’re the same insensitive guy as the others”. Labels close the way to knowing another human being and make it impossible to understand him. We often label people negatively on the basis of their appearance, behaviour or first few sentences – we have a quick opinion, but we lose the chance to establish a valuable relationship.
3. Making a diagnosis
Analyzing why a person behaves in the way she behaves, i.e. playing the role of an amateur psychiatrist, e.g. “You do it in order to irritate me”, “You don’t answer my calls because you don’t care about me”. Some people, instead of listening to the essence of what the other person says, play Freud and find hidden motives, guess other people’s emotions and thoughts. Do you know that feeling of helplessness and frustration when you try to explain your behavior, but someone else knows better what drives you? The road to understanding ends in a abyss.
4. Praise combined with assessment
Making a positive judgment about the other person, their actions or attitudes, e.g. “You are so brave”, “You are a wise man, I am sure you will come up with something for my problem”. This kind of barrier to communication can be controversial because it is contrary to the belief that praise is always good. Praise combined with appreciation is dangerous for communication for two reasons. Positive evaluation of others can be used to achieve hidden benefits and to make people change their behaviour.
This abuse of praise makes others feel manipulated, no longer trust us and no longer believe in our words. In addition, praising others often leads to a set of contradictions, such as “I don’t think it’s that good”, “I could do it much better”, “It’s not my fault, I’ve been very lucky”, which makes it more harmful than helping the person to be praised.
When people hear about the dangers of praise and evaluation, they often think that behavioural scientists are convinced that all forms of encouragement are harmful. That is not the case at all. Instead of judging, you can express your own positive feelings in response to the behaviour or messages of others.
Telling the other person to do what you want to be done, e.g. “You have to do your homework immediately!”, “You have to fix it right away”, “Be here immediately! Many people strongly believe in the effectiveness of a message based on force and force. In the long run, however, it only has bad consequences. On the one hand, it can lead to rebellion, resistance and difficult to resolve conflicts. On the other hand, it can force someone to obey, but it also shows the obedient person that their opinion is worthless, which lowers their self-esteem.
Trying to control the other person’s actions by threatening them with negative consequences that may affect them from your side, e.g. “You will do it or…”. Threats lead to the same negative results as orders.
Telling the other person what to do, e.g. “You shouldn’t divorce, what about the children?”, “You should apologize to the other person”. Often such advice is accompanied by the support of authorities, moral or social ideas and the misuse of words such as “should”, “this is how you do it”, “this is right”. Such messages cause anxiety and guilt, and make it impossible for people to express themselves honestly.
8. Too many questions
Asking too many or the wrong questions, e.g. “How in school?”. – “Good”. – What were you doing today? – Nothing. A very common dialogue in which anxious parents desperately try to keep in touch with the child and ask more and more questions, which makes the relationship even more difficult.
The biggest barrier in everyday conversation is to ask closed questions, which can be answered “yes” or “no”, and to ask questions and create an interrogation atmosphere. Such attempts to reach the other person lead to opposite effects – they cause anxiety and stimulate defensive reactions.
9. Giving advice
Giving the other person a prescription for their problems, e.g. “I would if I were you…”, “It’s easy, first you have to…”. What is wrong with counselling? Giving solutions to others is explained as an expression of concern for them, but in fact it is lined with a lack of trust in their intelligence and ability to cope with difficulties. Another problem is that the counsellor rarely understands the whole situation, because people who share their concerns often only show the tip of the iceberg. It is a great risk to take responsibility for solving other people’s problems in this situation.
Move another person’s problem aside, e.g. “Let’s not go back to it”, “Do you think you have a problem? Listen to what happened to me. This barrier to communication is placed mainly in situations when there are subjects that cause tension between people – anger, harm, illness, misfortune, sadness, etc. – and when there is a problem with the person. This can be due to a lack of ability to listen actively, but also to resistance to accompanying others in their worries.
11. Logical argumentation
Trying to convince another person by referring to facts or logic, without taking into account the emotional aspect of the situation, e.g. “If we did not have a car, we would not get into debt”. When there is stress or conflict in a relationship, the worst thing we can do is to resort to logical arguments.
Cold distance and focus on arguments is a way to break away from unpleasant feelings, but it can make the interlocutor angry. When a partner has a problem or when there is a problem in the interpersonal relationship, the main issue is the feelings. When logic is used to avoid emotional involvement, you leave the other person at the least appropriate moment.
12. Calming down
Asking to stop negative emotions felt by the other person, e.g. “Don’t worry”, “Everything will be fine”. This type of blockage often concerns people who have good intentions but do not want or cannot make an effort to feel compassionate with the other person. Thus, they put a blockade in the relationship, stopping and preventing others from experiencing the situation in their own way.
Thank you for reading this article about how to prevent communication errors and I really hope that you take action my advice. I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.