As a communication fanatic, I may be biased, but I think it’s time people stop taking communication for granted and start adding up the cost of poor communication. Too many people assume because their mouths work, their ears work, and they can read and write, that means they’re communicating.
To a certain degree, they’re right. They probably are communicating effectively in some situations. However, it’s not enough to just be “okay” at it- you have to be great at it- your life depends on it.
Although that may seem a bit dramatic, just about every aspect of your life as a human being is affected by your communication skills:
How well did you describe your child’s (or your) symptoms to the doctor?
Did you give clear directions to the client who is meeting you for lunch?
Did you provide effective “performance improvement feedback” to your employee, or were you vague or critical, leaving her feeling worse than before you opened your mouth?
Did you let your spouse know that you appreciated a specific chore he completed for you?
These are just a few examples when GREAT, not just “good,” or “okay,” communication skills are essential.
In May 2013, the Project Management Institute produced a report that found the following regarding communication and successful project completion:
- 1 in 5 projects is unsuccessful due to poor communication
- Poor communication puts $135 million at risk for every $1 billion invested in a project
- Companies with effective communication practices are 1.7 times more likely to outperform their competitors when it comes to making money
If you need more motivation to take steps to improve not only your own poor communication, but poor communication throughout your organization, here are some examples of the price you’ll pay for not taking steps to make improved communication a priority.
1. Lower productivity
2. Poor customer service
3. More accidents, injuries, and incidents
4. Increased turnover
5. Higher absenteeism
6. More employee mistakes
7. Low employee morale
8. Lower employee engagement
9. Wasted time
10. Lack of trust
11. Lack of loyalty
12. Poor working relationships
What would you add to this list of costs of poor communication?
If you need some help getting started, order my book, “Practical Communication: 25 Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Getting Along and Getting Things Done.” It’s full of tips and information as well as guidance for getting started on the road to better communication!