#1 Wrong Way to Have a Conversation

In working with my clients to improve their ability to communicate with their team the most common mistake they make is responding with the written word. Imagine you are in the middle of a project and you get a text from someone you supervise asking for your input or advice. Do you quickly respond back with the answer? Or do you schedule a time for a phone call, Zoom or in person meeting? Responding immediately can lead to misunderstanding and confusion.

Not too long ago I had a conversation with a colleague using the direct message feature of LinkedIn. I misread her inquiry and quickly responded with some information, not at all what she was asking about. We went back a fourth with a few messages before I realized what she had asked for in the first place. In the end we had a good laugh about it. Here is what I will do in the future. First avoid responding immediately, second read the request at least twice before responding and third avoid using text when it is possible instead have a verbal conversation.

Yes, even when we are speaking face to face or over the phone or on camera there is a risk for misunderstanding. However, we are more likely to pick up on body language and tone of voice when speaking then by reading the written word. And, to make it worse we often insert emotion and meaning to the words that aren’t there.

Text and e-mail are great documentation tools and poor communication tools. Stop text or e-mail for conversations. Pick up the phone or walk down the hall and talk with the person.