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Common Issues with Communication – Part 1

We communicate each day with a variety of people both in our work and personal life. How we communicate can either hinder or increase our effectiveness.

Over the next 8 weeks we are going to provide you with quick tips to avoid common errors in day to day communication and how we can help you and your team members improve efficiency by developing better communication skills.

Tone, spelling and grammar

Whether meant or not some written messages can have an unpleasant tone. This can be due to a variety of bad writing skills:

Too blunt:

“have this on my desk tomorrow” is not a request but a command. The effect of which may make the recipient feel on edge.  A simple rephrase: “please could I have this by tomorrow, if this is a problem can you let me know?” could make the world of difference to the employee’s perception of your request.
We all have deadlines but asking politely may increase your chances of having the work done on time and will keep up the good relationship with your employee. Value and respect your employee’s and you can reap the benefits of a better working environment and increased productivity.


“My printer is not working AGAIN!!! This is URGENT , when will it be fixed??????”

Capital letters in written communication are sometimes seen to be the same as someone shouting at you face to face. We can all have issues that need to be resolved quickly but resorting to shouting, whether on email or orally, is unlikely to achieve this any quicker. In fact with this approach, you are more likely to build up resentment and over time create a poor working relationship.

Rather than sending an email “shouting” at someone, it may be better to pick up the phone instead and hopefully the issue can be resolved. You could follow this up with an email saying “as per telephone call, please could someone take a look at my printer issue”.  This will reiterate the importance without anyone taking offence.

No introduction or ending:

“I need the monthly accounts on my desk first thing”, sending an email with no introduction e.g. Hi Mark or Good morning already sets a bad tone. There should always be an introduction and an end to an email. Using your auto signatory as a sign off is lazy, it will only take a minute to finish the email with a “thanks, John” or “Kind regards, John”. It is amazing the difference this can make to the interpretation by the recipient.

Bad spelling:

Yes it is an obvious one but there is nothing worse than reading a badly spelt email or even worse an email when someone has not even bothered to check they have spelt your name correctly!

Spell-check is free to use and only takes a second, it really is time well spent. Always check the recipient’s name if you can, it shows you have made an effort.


Like a story, your email should always have a start, middle and end. Ensure you get them in the right order, you wouldn’t eat your cheesecake before your soup! Try to stick to the point; people start to switch off if the email becomes a novel. If it is a particularly in-depth topic you may be better following it up with a face to face discussion rather than trying to fit in all the detail in an email. At the end of your email always do a short summary to ensure the recipient has understood.
We hope this article has given you an introduction on how to avoid common pitfalls with emails.  If you would like further details or if you would like us to help your team get better at communicating with each other please contact us or why not take a look at the courses we run as part of our Management Academy

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