When communication fails. 5 outcomes and 5 ideas to solve this

Communication is the essence of better relationship and professional results. Sometimes communication fails. I’ve noticed some reasons why communication is not used at the maximum intensity.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.     

George Bernard Shaw

Before this, here are some of the results of poor communication in both personal and professional life.

Lack of communication or poor communication leads to:

  1. Disconnection is relationships

There is a constant need for communication in order to set the foundation for trust. Constant communication and solving problems as soon as they appear reach that point in which everything is clear. The reverse is continuing to increase the disconnection and gap in the relationship until that point in which it is very difficult. That space of no turning back leads either to closing the relationship or more frustration.


2. Lack of productivity

When communication fails this leads to more and more thoughts of how to solve the “problems” So, our mind creates a story in which productivity is…well, sometimes absent. I’ve always said that productivity is better results and more free time. If communication in a certain area, either professional or personal life, has worsened, than the story will become more and more intense. This will lead to more negative productivity.

3. Unmet expectations

When communication fails this will lead to unmet expectations, just for the first reason that expectations are now…communicated. This gap starts sometimes with supposing that others know our expectations. But, if we double check this, we might be surprised to find out that they don’t actually know it. Sometimes, even the fundamentals are not understood. It always surprised me to hear that people really think that others know their expectations. Well, everyone is looking forward to meet their own, so next time you think a manager or a colleague know your expectation, just start the conversation and you might get to new insights.

4. Bad mood and spread of negativity

This is one of the most common. You can see lack of communication through the tension in a team, a group or even in family. Those unsaid things that might solve the problem, even by in the first stage bringing them to light, are those that create the negativity. Of course, you can see those with high degree of negativity because they bring their “baggage” with them and they spread it. It’s part of human condition to have something to chase for and be unfulfilled, so more lack of communication triggers a bigger gap. Ego plays a role in not starting the conversation.

5. Unfulfilled potential

When communication fails all the above are triggered and you become part of a system in which communication is absent. So, your potential could be wasted just because you didn’t accept your own responsibility for better communication. If you only count the time spent without sharing your ideas, your thoughts, your concerns or problems that might have a solving, you get a lot of wasted time for unfulfilled potential. And that’s a pity.

What can you do about it? Here are 5 ideas to improve it:

1.Limit the gap as soon as possible

Take that call. Have that conversation. As soon as possible. Just think of the gap that will get deeper and deeper and wouldn’t help you too much. When you will finally decide to communicate, it might be too late.

2. Boost your productivity

Focus on the tasks that might start a productive conversation. If your lack of productivity is because you haven’t talked to someone to solve the problem, just go for it. Imagine how the end of the day could be by thinking of the great experiences you had and the results you obtained if you just had that, possible “tough” conversation.

3. Share your expectations

Stew Friedman, author of “Total Leadership” and professor at Wharton Business School, talks about the “Shareholder dialogue” – an exercise in which you share your expectation for other and think of what expectation he/she has. The other person does the same and then you compare what you though of. In most case, simply comparing the perceived expectations from other with the reality, gets to surprising results. And then, you can start fresh with an open mind and flexibility towards the effects of communication.

4. Stop the negativity spreading

If you have a bad day because of lack of communication this might have an impact on the others. What if your impact could be affecting in a positive way their mood? More self-awareness gets you to reducing your ego and look at the problem from a win-win perspective. Otherwise, your win, and the other person lose, will only have the effect of strengthening your ego who will want more.

5. Discover different perspectives

Most of failed communication comes also from the fact that we can’t place ourselves in the other’s shoes. More empathy gets to amazing results simply by understanding that you see your way at looking at things, while the other comes with a different view impacted by many variables: own beliefs, experience, information, behavior and personality.

So, place a “Stop loss” on your challenging areas for communication and go beyond the planned results. Become more productive!