The correct use of communication is critical if you want to maintain a positive reputation for your business and positive feelings toward your brand. So, what is this “correct” (or “proper”) use of communication? And, who is it that set him or herself up to be the expert of all experts when it comes to communication?
Instead of playing “King of the Hill,” as if we were kids running up and down a hill while tossing each other off the top, let’s sit down and discuss the topic of “communication blunders.” We could probably agree on those, couldn’t we? I mean, it isn’t like we have to come up with every blunder that ever existed, but if we can brainstorm some of the obvious blunders or the “biggies,” that will give us a start on what we should avoid!
Life is a journey. It isn’t like we have to start somewhere because we are already on the path. It is our responsibility to travel it to the best of our ability. –Deborah Click to Tweet
While we sit down in our little virtual, cyber circle, to discuss the blunders of communication and how we can avoid them, let’s take a look at an infographic that puts all of this in one spot. It was put together by 24hourtranslation.com and is shown to the left. This is a great way to remember and visualize some of what we are brainstorming, isn’t it?
Blunder #1: Lack of Clarity
Whether you operate locally or on a global scale, the things you say in person and the content you deliver must be clear, understandable and applicable to the current situation and audience. If it is muddy, confusing, or going in every which direction, is that something that you could define as “clear?” Well, neither will your audience. Your customers may walk away shaking their heads and saying that they have absolutely no idea what you are selling, let alone what you are saying. Keep it clear! Sometimes that means a little of keeping it simple!
Blunder #2: Insensitive and Lack of Cultural Awareness
Good communication starts on an individual level. When interacting with friends, family and co-workers strive to maintain a calm demeanor. Do this even if the situation seems like it may be headed in a heated direction.
Keeping a clear head allows you to deliver your words in a way that diffuses tension and prevents conversations from turning into arguments. Who knows, your calmness may get you the reputation of being very diplomatic and your communication services will become desired in every situation, especially the tricky ones.
Should your circumstances put you in a position where you regularly communicate with people from other cultures, an open mind and a willingness to let go of preconceived notions averts embarrassing misunderstandings. Treat this as an opportunity to learn. This is an opportunity to embrace cultures that are different from your own. This open-minded attitude can help you to appreciate other cultures and the beauty of diversity.
Blunder #3: Lack of Detail / Broad Inconsistencies
Email, website content, marketing messages, and company presentations all need to be double-checked before being shared with a larger audience. Misspellings and incorrect grammar make you look unprofessional to colleagues and are equally damaging with your company’s target audience. Inaccurate information can lead to misunderstandings that frustrate customers or cause costly errors within the company. Sending duplicate messages should also be avoided, as this tends to make customers lose confidence in your company’s ability to provide good service. It may also cause you customers to wonder if you have any sense at all.
Blunder #4: Irrelevant Nonsense
Each message that you send to your customers must be unique and tailored to the audience of your chosen channels. Repeating the same message across all social media platforms creates a generic feeling that fails to engage your followers. Proper segmentation is also important when sending emails to guarantee that each market sector receives promotions that interest them specifically.
Have you ever had that case where you receive an email from a company, and you think that it is something really fabulous, and you may be interested? Then, five minutes later, you receive the exact same email, to the very same email address? All of a sudden, that templated email doesn’t seem quite as special, and it seems like irrelevant fluff that is randomly sent out to any and everyone.
Blunder #5: Incorrect Translation
Reaching an international audience requires translating content into local languages. When not done correctly, many awkward and bad results can occur. A garbled translation can make your message sound silly, lose its meaning or even be offensive. In contrast, good translations put international customers at ease by allowing them to interact with your company in the language they grew up speaking. Avoid translation blunders by choosing a good translation service or utilizing talented translators among your staff and vendors. Many times, that extra effort, even if you are not 100% perfect, will go a long way in building trust.
Blunder #6: Not Taking the Time to Care
Taking the time to avoid communication blunders saves you the headache of having to fix problems later on in your business relationships. The reputation you develop for your business now can stick with your business for years. Can you see how it is best to maintain good communication from the very start? This is the way to establish good relationships with consumers regardless of culture or circumstance. So, what is that sixth blunder? It is not taking the time to care enough to avoid these blunders!
There you have it, six blunders that can destroy your company if not handled correctly (as in not making the blunders or correcting the blunders if they do happen!). But, don’t stop there. Take a moment to check out some other blunders, as listed in the infographic.
This isn’t rocket science. It isn’t impossible. It does, however, take some conscientiousness and some effort to be kind and courteous to others. But, at the same time, don’t beat yourself up if you goof. In the same way that you would extend kindness to others, extend that to yourself and take the moment to smooth over whatever communication blunder may have happened with the other company or person. People will likely appreciate your transparency and trust you even more because you were willing to take that extra step of kindness and intent. Blunders behind you and only that well-deserved success in front of you!