Speaking seems easy. We learned how to do it when we were about 2 years old. But being able to express yourself correctly and communicate with others is a different story. So, what mistakes should we avoid? Here are the most common ones.
Mistake 1: Being talkative
One of the main mistakes we make when speaking is talking too much. A lot of words come out of our mouths, but they don’t actually mean anything. When we’re watering down our communication with words that don’t add value to our speech, we’re wasting our most important resource: time. And we gain nothing in return.
Mistake 2: Lack of precision
Another mistake is using generalized phrases and statements when speaking. Sometimes, you don’t want to – or you’re afraid to – say something directly without beating around the bush. So, instead of using concrete examples in your speech to support your arguments, you just use generalized and abstract phrases. As a result, your speech isn’t cohesive for your listeners.
Mistake 3: Chaotic speaking
This happens when you start speaking too fast because you’ve omitted one key step of communication: reflection. Before you say something, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Think whether your arguments truly have a logical basis. Think about the structure – what to say first, second, and so on.
Mistake 4: Not listening
One-sided communication calls for poor results. Sometimes, we just refuse to acknowledge that other people may be right or have better arguments. It’s a waste of potential. The best ideas are born during open discussions!
But not everyone is open to participating in an open discussion. Mostly because it takes more time, effort, and the ability to control yourself so that later you can separate good ideas from bad ones. That’s why the effort is worth investing in open communication.
Mistake 5: Unequal speaking time distribution
You can often see this mistake in highly hierarchical organizations. The boss – because of his status – talks the most. And often, they are the first one to talk. As a result, the boss is the one who gives direction to the conversation, usually leaving no room for open communication and a diversity of perspectives.
Mistake 6: Verbal aggression
I’m not talking about obvious verbal aggression, such as insulting others or open violence. I’m talking about using irony and sarcasm toward the interlocutors, which is something we often forget about.
Irony and sarcasm are toxic elements of every discussion they appear in. They eliminate spontaneity, openness, and honesty while bringing hurt, a desire for vengeance, and a sense of rivalry.
This doesn’t lead to anything good. In this case, both parties of such communication start to go in opposite directions instead of having a common objective. Often, as a result of a damaged relationship, the participants try to prove their interlocutor wrong at any cost.
Mistake 7: Avoiding speaking
When you know you should say something important but choose not to, you commit the great sin of omission. This is usually caused by a lack of confidence.
Maybe because you have the lowest position among the people gathered in that room. Or because you think they will ignore what you have to say. Or because what you want to say is not really that important. Or because you don’t want to ruin the vibe when everyone seems to be agreeing.
But more often than not, not saying anything about a crucial matter can lead to catastrophic results. Speaking up when we see that something’s wrong is our duty. Even more so if it concerns someone’s life.
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