Avoidable Business Communication Mistakes

Avoidable Business Communication Mistakes

Effective communication is required for a business to operate smoothly but capable, efficient communication is challenging! It requires that you understand what you want to say and pay close attention to how you say it, when you say it, and what channel/medium you choose for the message. Verbal and non-verbal communication missteps may result in public relations difficulties and unhappy employees.

To ensure good communication in the workplace (internal and external), familiarize yourself with the most common business communication mistakes and learn how to avoid them.

Why is it Important to Organize Internal Communications Properly?

The importance of effective internal communication cannot be overstated. Companies with strong internal communication practices tend to experience higher productivity, increased profits, and greater employee satisfaction. By implementing a robust internal communication strategy, you empower your staff to fully grasp the organization’s values, objectives, and culture, fostering a culture of trust and honesty and transforming employees into enthusiastic brand ambassadors.

Ensuring effective communication within your organization equips you to navigate any challenge effectively. This entails establishing internal communication plans, and protocols, and utilizing appropriate tools and channels to communicate proactively or reactively as needed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for adaptable communication methods within organizations. It has become evident that traditional communication approaches may no longer suffice, emphasizing the importance of reaching employees regardless of their location or circumstances.

Common Business Communication Mistakes

Not Editing and/or Having a Second Look

Take a thorough look at all outbound communication (email, memo, text message, report, blog post, business letter, proposal, contract, job description, manual, bulletin, advertisement, brochure, news release, etc.) before sending it. This reduces errors and/or miscommunication.

Not Thinking Before You Speak

Before a presentation, group meeting, performance appraisal, training session, one-on-one discussion, disciplinary session, sales pitch, and/or consulting engagement, plan what to say and how to say it. Be aware of your verbal and non-verbal cues.

Rushing to Conclusions

Communication becomes muddied by emotions and expectations. Before you react to any form of communication (verbal and/or written) seek clarity. Ask questions. Choose to respond rather than react.

Not Understanding Your Audience

How and when to communicate is affected by the audience you are connecting with. Are you addressing management, the board of directors, the data input crew, the HR department, or the advertising division? Each group requires a slightly different approach. Consider all personal and non-personal factors that affect the audience you are speaking/writing to.

Avoidable business communication mistakes

Not Keeping an Open Mind

Maintaining a closed-minded attitude can severely impact business communication, potentially damaging relationships with both customers and employees.

Closed-minded individuals often prioritize speaking over listening, disregard opposing perspectives, rush to judgment, and resist considering new ideas or viewpoints. Conversely, individuals with an open mind readily accept diverse backgrounds, respect differences, empathize with others, refrain from judgment, and thoroughly evaluate all aspects of an issue before forming conclusions.

The advantages of adopting an open-minded approach in business communication are manifold:

  • Open-minded individuals excel as leaders, communicators, and collaborators.
  • They demonstrate active listening, possess a higher tolerance level, and exhibit greater patience in communication.
  • They effortlessly foster trust and engagement across diverse teams and customer bases.
  • Their ability to perceive situations from multiple viewpoints equips them to navigate conflicts adeptly and make informed decisions.

To cultivate an open-minded demeanor in business communication, intentional effort is necessary. Here are some actionable tips:

  1. Practice active and attentive listening, refraining from interruptions or internal distractions.
  2. Embrace diverse viewpoints, perspectives, and beliefs to challenge your own thinking.
  3. When forming conclusions hastily, question their absolute truthfulness and explore alternative possibilities.
  4. Approach decision-making with a willingness to evaluate multiple angles rather than being predisposed to a single perspective.
  5. Generate a range of potential solutions rather than settling for the initial idea that comes to mind.
  6. Continuously expand your knowledge and broaden your horizons through ongoing education and exploration.

Business communication mistakes will be minimized through openness and honesty.


Rather than assuming what was intended by a written or verbal communication, ask for clarity. If possible and/or necessary, arrange a one-on-one meeting to gain a better understanding of what was stated.

Utilizing Only Traditional Communications Hierarchies

Trickling information from top management to the front-line staff can result in slow distribution, lost information, and/or misplaced data. Consider alternative methods of disseminating messages.

Business communication mistakes

Lack of Clear Goals/Objectives

If you’re unsure what and why you are communicating, it’s difficult to get your message across. Determine your goals/objectives before communicating verbally or in written form.

Failing to Establish an Internal Communication Strategy

Internal communication is generally meant to keep all employees up-to-date on organizational developments, events, and company values. Without a strategy, this communication becomes irregular, erratic, unpredictable, and poorly planned, reducing employee engagement. Aim to deliver a consistent pace of messaging to sustain regular contact with your employees.

Information Overload

Too much content, too long of communication, and too complex of information make it difficult to be absorbed. Select your communication channels carefully. To avoid overwhelming employees, send information to only those who need it.

Here are some useful suggestions for enhancing your listening abilities and enhancing your professional communication:

  • Engage with the speaker by facing them and maintaining eye contact.
  • Practice attentive listening by avoiding distractions and interruptions.
  • Adopt an active listening approach to demonstrate your interest.
  • Pay attention to nonverbal cues, as they often convey important messages.
  • Strive to genuinely understand the speaker’s perspective.
  • Empathize by attempting to see things from their point of view.
  • Refrain from judging or mentally critiquing the speaker.
  • Wait for appropriate pauses before asking clarifying questions.
  • Instead of immediately offering solutions, focus on fully understanding the speaker’s message.
  • Provide consistent feedback to demonstrate your attentiveness throughout the conversation.

By following these tips you will avoid common business communication mistakes.

Use of Jargon

Too much jargon (words/expressions characteristic of a special activity/group/profession that is difficult for others to understand) renders communication incomprehensible. Write and speak clearly and concisely.

Not Asking for Feedback

It’s important to send the right message. It’s equally important to know if the message is understood by your audience. Make it simple for employees to raise concerns, ask questions, share ideas, and express opinions. Know how to gather and use this feedback. This helps you identify difficulties/issues and propel your business forward.

Not Repeating Your Message

Repetition in communication involves using more than one channel (in-person, documents, email, instant messaging, video conferences, phone calls, social media, etc.) to keep the information flowing and maximize understanding and engagement.

Common business communication mistakes

Using Only Outdated Technology

While memos, paper newsletters, and emails are useful, cutting through the noise and reaching your staff requires targeted communications through digital solutions. Consider an internal communication app (ClickUp, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, etc.). You’ll find it easier to communicate effectively with employees/teams.

Not Being Proactive

Don’t let staff hear whispers before communicating information clearly with them. You risk losing control of messaging and resorting to reactions and explanations. Instead, be proactive and disseminate information quickly and thoroughly.

Not Being Truthful

Lying, covering up, and/or withholding information causes problems. Be open, transparent, and accountable with your communications. You’ll preserve the trust of your employees.

Using a Negative Tone

Communication conflicts often stem from a negative tone being used. Tone permeates all communication, dictating how messages are perceived based on phrasing and word choice.

In written communication, where voice, facial expressions, and body language are absent, monitoring tone becomes paramount. Even solely through words, a certain tone can be conveyed, potentially sparking negative reactions. Carefully selecting words can mitigate this.

Consider these guidelines to maintain a positive tone in business communication:

  • Maintain a friendly yet professional demeanor.
  • Minimize the use of negative language whenever possible.
  • Frame negative news using positive phrasing.
  • Utilize antonyms to convey messages without negativity.
  • Employ passive voice to soften assertions.
  • Use inclusive language to avoid discrimination.
  • Strategically time the delivery of negative news within a conversation.
  • Focus on actionable solutions rather than limitations.
  • Keep explanations concise, emphasizing resolutions.
  • Always review written communication before sending.

In workplace interactions, leaders and managers can prevent conflicts and enhance engagement by avoiding negative tones.

Lack of Consistency

If information coming from different sources (management, the board, supervisors, HR department, etc.) is contradictory/inconsistent, confusion ensues. Make sure your messages are unified and consistent.


Confusing, complicated messages cause miscommunication. Convey your messages succinctly, cutting extraneous content and focusing on salient points. Clarity is essential if you want everyone on the same page. Precision and simplicity save time, improve response rates and increase the chances that the information will be absorbed.

Not Employing Customer Communication Management Systems

CCMs (Help Scout, HoneyBook, Zendesk, Moxo, etc.) eliminate inefficiencies, mistakes, and unnecessary costs. They reduce human error while allowing for personalized communication with customers/clients.

How to Avoid Business Communication Mistakes?

Workplace communication mistakes can be avoided. Correspondence/conversation can be smooth and unhindered. Reduce your use of jargon. Never assume your message is understood. Be open to feedback from recipients. Consider implementing internal communication apps and customer communication management systems. Take the time to understand your audience and create a communication strategy. Ensure good workplace communication (internal and external) by becoming aware of the most common mistakes made and how to avoid them.

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