How to Fix Common Communication Problems and Mistakes


Communication problems and mistakes are something we all struggle with.

Poor communication is one of the biggest reasons why projects fail, says research from the Project Management Institute.

In this video, Susanne Madsen has drawn up the biggest communication mistakes, so you can avoid making some common mistakes.


We’ve summed up some key points from the video for you.



1. Communicate too much in Writing

We generally communicate too much in writing, says Susanne Madsen, and it does not build great relationships, nor does it manage expectations with stakeholders as you can’t see people’s emotional response.

‘Use email sparingly and never ever use it in sensitive situations or when communicating a risk or an issue”


READ ALSO: What David Bowie can Teach You about the Art of Conversation


2. Don’t fully Listen

We don’t seem to fully listen.

Most people listen to their own internal dialogue to prepare what to say next or what the implications are of what is being said.

When we don’t fully listen we can’t truly emphasize or see the situation from their point of view


SEE VIDEO: Levels of Listening in Leadership, Management & Coaching (video)


3. Don’t Adapt our Style

The third mistake is that we don’t adapt our communication style to the person in front of us.

Everybody has a different communication preference, whether they prefer much detail, bullet points, or a phone call. Others don’t want details at all or want to small talk a bit and speak informally.

If you want to influence people and communicate in the most effective way you have to be mindful of what people’s communication preferences are so you can tailor your message accordingly


READ ALSO: What is Situational Leadership Theory? Definitions & Examples


4. Not Clear about Options and Impact

We are not always clear about options and impacts.

When presenting challenges – no one likes to have problems presented to them.

What they do like is when you are clear about the options for moving forward for tackling this change request and what the impact is for each option – for time, cost, quality, or benefits. In this way you make it clear what they might want to do so they can easily make a decision. That is clear communication!

5. Don’t Ask People to Repeat our Message

We rarely ask people to repeat back our message.

This is particularly relevant when you are talking to a team member or when you are briefing someone.

It can be about writing up a report or any other action.

You may then ask the team member: How does that sound?

Instead, it will perhaps be more effective if you ask: Can you repeat back how you understood, what we just talked about. This way you will get an immediate understanding of whether or not your message is understood as intended.

I wonder, which of these communication mistakes you make the most of and how you can avoid making them, Susanne Madsen asks?


You can find out more about Susanne Madsen and her work at


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