What Is Considered Poor Business Communication?

K.C. Bruning

There are several factors which contribute to poor business communication, from the manner in which it is pursued to which medium is used. Communication traits that can cause trouble in the workplace include failure to communicate at all, confusing interactions, and emotionally-charged conversations. Overall, poor business communication is any method of interacting that harms the company and its employees and prevents employees from achieving organizational goals.

Touching base too often can affect productivity by wasting time on unnecesary conversation.
Touching base too often can affect productivity by wasting time on unnecesary conversation.

Poor business communication can often arise from failure to deliver a message in the first place. When workers are not informed of the details they need in order to perform their jobs correctly, it can have a negative effect on productivity and company morale. In some cases poor communication can even be a safety issue. It is advisable to have a system in place for delivering key messages to relevant workers. This includes using the right method of communication, delivering messages in a timely matter, and ensuring that it is clear who is responsible for communicating which kinds of information.

Not knowing when to share information or what is appropriate to share can also lead to poor business communication. While it can sometimes be counterproductive to reveal too many details about an economic downturn, layoffs, or significant changes in the company, too much secrecy can create an atmosphere of mistrust. Revealing enough information to make employees feel in the loop, while protecting information that must be kept confidential, is often an acceptable compromise.

Excessive intervention in the work of others can be another form of poor business communication. Touching base too often can affect productivity by wasting time on unnecessary conversation. It can also make co-workers feel they are not trusted to manage their responsibilities. Scheduling regular meetings or brief check-ins can help to manage the frequency of communications while ensuring that employees are interacting sufficiently as well.

Using the wrong medium to connect is another aspect of poor business communication. Whether it is via email, phone, or face-to-face conversation, the effectiveness of a message often depends on the manner in which it is delivered. For example, a small request that is not time sensitive may be best handled with an email, but it is usually not an appropriate way to handle conflict or extremely detailed requests. It can be useful to have a company policy that covers the basics of using these different mediums, but the most effect method tends to be to acquire an understanding of company culture and adapt to that model.

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