Written miscommunication and its effect on your business

Written miscommunication

Written miscommunication and its effect on your business

It’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced miscommunication, be it as victim or culprit. Whether in a WhatsApp group or in an important email, miscommunication can hinder the flow of a conversation. It can also bring about larger problems in how we relate to audiences and the messages we portray.

As face-to-face interaction starts to take a back seat in business communication, it helps to be careful about what you’re saying and sending. Out of 403 respondents, 44% say communication barriers lead to a delay or failure to complete projects, while 31% feel it can result in low morale. This highlights the detrimental effects communication can have within a work context.

Turns out the massive differences between their, there and they’re can change what you’re trying to say in big ways. Also, autocorrect does not always know best. Written communication can be a minefield to navigate, so it’s worth giving what you say a second thought, maybe even a third to be safe.

Lack of context

There’s nothing worse than receiving an email that’s worded oddly and spending the rest of your day overthinking and catastrophising it. You’re quick to assume you’ve done something wrong or, even worse, that the sender must hate you. When communicating through email or text message, a lot of the context disappears. Whereas in person you take cues from someone’s body language, facial expressions, or tone of voice, in message form these are absent.

Something to keep in the back of your mind when communicating is to write explicitly. As is human nature, ambiguity is very often perceived as a negative; so try and say exactly what you mean and be upfront about whatever you may feel or want. This way, you lessen the chance of your recipient reading between the lines of what you’ve said or jumping to inaccurate conclusions.

Presenting the wrong message

When it comes to portraying yourself or your business online, you want to ensure you’re presented in the best, most accurate way. A spelling mistake on an ‘About Us’ page will impact how potential clients view your capabilities and could make or break your expansion.

You also want the way you write about yourself online to match how you are in person. Ideally, there shouldn’t be disparities between the tone of your online content and the way you carry yourself in face-to-face conversation. Your audience may be using your online presence to make assumptions about who you are and how you work. From this, they’ll decide whether it’s complementary to what they are looking for.

Autocorrect is not always your friend

Most of us will approach our written communication with years of education and career experience. With this in mind, it’s best to take things like autocorrect and your laptop’s grammar recommendations with a pinch of salt. Technology won’t know exactly what you’re trying to say, so sometimes it’s better to trust your own instincts. Besides, who doesn’t love to prove Microsoft Word wrong?

Nearly a third of millennials (31%) use instant messaging at work every day. This opens professional interaction up to the world of typos and dodgy grammar. Autocorrect can change a word without you even noticing and completely change whatever it is you’re trying to say, so it’s best to watch this cautiously.

It can also be difficult to maintain fast-paced WhatsApp communication with co-workers or clients. It can be a challenge to maintain the necessary levels of professionalism in such a casual form of conversation. As a rule, there should be very little overlap between how you message to arrange a meeting and how you organise a Saturday night at the pub.

A newer, and very specific, problem with virtual communication is brought to us by Apple, when words swap for a corresponding Emoji. One accidental click and you’re sending the bread emoji instead of the word itself and the professionalism of your message nose-dives.

Mind your language!

With all this in mind, it can help to take an extra 10 seconds to review what you’ve written. Try and double-check everything rather than being so keen to hit that send button. Communication will run a lot smoother if you’re sure to say what you mean and put forward the appropriate messages.

Miscommunications will always hold their place in virtual interaction. Yet, a little caution here and there can help keep it to a minimum. As a result, your business can come across in the strongest possible way. Things will run smoother as everyone will be on the same page, and there can be less room for error.

If you often find yourself caught up in miscommunications, or worry what your online content is saying about you, our consultancy services may be able to help. We can oversee your writing, help to improve the content you put out there, and work on the clarity of what you write. If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 0161 413 8418.

Alia Coster