Is there someone at work you avoid just because they are so difficult to communicate with? Be sure you aren’t making these mistakes that cause YOU to be the one people avoid.
Have you ever been so frustrated by someone’s bad habits that the very thought of communicating with them scares you? Do you go into hiding when you see a rude coworker coming your way? What if YOU are the one with whom everyone fears communicating?
What you think others believe is not always the truth. While many professionals believe they are perceived as uber-professionals, they don’t realize how all of the mistakes they make that cost them influence. People don’t see us based on who we are, instead how they observe us in the day-to-day.
Uncover the hidden mistakes you make that frighten off your ability to influence others:
1. Meeting Monster
Professionals are overwhelmed with meeting madness, so much so that they take for granted the common etiquette necessary to attend.
Arrive on time. Running late is bound to happen occasionally. No matter how much we want to avoid it, situations arise that cause us to get behind. If this happens to you, enter the meeting in progress with grace. Quietly open the door and take your seat. Quickly review the materials and catch up on your own without interjecting or asking others to catch you up on what was missed.
Don’t interrupt. When a presentation is in progress, acknowledge the rules established by the presenter. If there is a Q&A session at the end, make notes of what you’d like to ask and save it until then. If someone is sharing an idea, don’t interrupt with yours. Allow whoever is speaking to finish their thoughts before interjecting with yours.
Stay on track. We’ve all attended a meeting with a coworker who has a penchant for derailing conversations. It’s irritating and confusing. Be the one who asks questions and suggests ideas inline with the topic of discussion. Anything off topic must be saved for after the meeting ends.
2. Terrifying Texts
Text messaging is a way of life for all professionals. Whether you’re sending a quick message to coworkers, your boss or clients, there are guidelines for this digital dialogue.
Keep it simple. Text messages need to remain short – no more than two sentences. If the need to text requires more than three back-and-forth exchanges, pick up the phone and call instead. This will reduce the risk of confusion and miscommunication.
Pay Attention. No matter how effective you think you are at simultaneously texting and listening, you aren’t. Sending text messages during a meeting or personal conversation is rude and trying to hide it doesn’t fool anyone. Everyone knows if you’re trying to text under the table when you’re supposed to be paying attention. People get offended and feel unimportant if you’re texting as they’re talking.
3. Aimlessly Floating
We have become overly present with technology and absent-minded to others in our space. Stop aimlessly walking while paying more attention to your phone than where you are going.
Don’t walk and talk. No matter how efficient you wish to be, you’re going to make a mistake. We’ve all seen the hilarious videos of others walking into objects because they were paying more attention to their device than where they were going. Imagine how your coworkers feel in their attempts to avoid being your next hallway victim.
Eyes dead ahead. Until we are born with eyes on the top of our head, put your phone down. Pay attention to where you’re going. If you must answer a call or respond to a text, simply step aside or wait until you return to your desk. Make it a point, instead, of acknowledging peers you pass in the hallway. It’s easier to build a positive influence by saying “good morning” rather than knocking someone to the floor.
4. Eyes Are Everywhere
Someone is always watching. Whether it is a camera overhead or a person sitting across from us in their car, we are always under observation.
Know your surroundings. The car is not the place to do your makeup, dance or change clothes. Your office is not the place to pick your teeth or your nose. When walking into work, limit the number of bags you carry. You’re not moving; you’re only going to work.
You’re never alone. Even when you think you’re alone, you’re not. If there are grooming matters to attend to, handle them before you arrive. If that’s not possible, head to the nearest restroom and get situated. Be aware of what you look like walking into the office. Maintain strong posture and stride.
5. Afterhours Fright
Few things generate dread like seeing the name or number of your boss on the phone after hours. Nothing can create animosity and frustration like an always-on leader.
Avoid Afterhours. Nothing scares people more than an after-hours work-related text message. If there is something on your mind you wish to share, write it down and save it for the next day. Allow your employees time to decompress without fear or worry of unexpected messages.
Terrifying timing. If there is something urgent to share, start by first apologizing. Ensure the recipient you would not have called or messaged under any other circumstance. Acknowledge you respect their time and will do your best to limit the interaction.
Put fear aside in others by being mindful in your communication methods and manners. Increase your credibility by being respectful of others and avoiding scary bad habits that cost you influence.
Stacey Hanke is the founder and communication expert of Stacey Hanke Inc. She is the author ofand Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A to Z to Influence Others to Take Action. Stacey and her team have delivered thousands of presentations and workshops for leaders of Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, Nationwide, FedEx, Kohl’s and AbbVie. Learn more about her team and company at: and connect with her on Twitter, @StaceyHankeInc.