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Many of us are guilty of them, but we can change, conference speaker says
CHICAGO—Your CEO says he wants a job description for a new HR manager on his desk "ASAP."
So what does "ASAP" mean? Does it mean after you finish the other three projects you're working on? Does it mean you drop those projects and make this new one a priority? Does it mean tomorrow? By week's end?
Those are the questions you should be asking your CEO, yet too many workers fail to demand specifics about vague instructions like these—which can lead to miscommunication that can cost a company in the ballpark of $5,200 per employee, per year, said Skip Weisman, who spoke Tuesday at the Society for Human Resource Management's Talent Management Conference & Exposition.
Weisman, president of communication consultancy Weisman Success Resources, Inc. in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., outlined what he called the seven deadliest communication sins that "everyone is making every day that are causing most … challenges" in the workplace.
"I would venture to say that there is not anything—success, failure, challenge, frustration—that is not directly related to communication," he added.
[SHRM members-only platform: SHRM Connect]
Weisman is a former professional baseball executive who served as CEO of five baseball franchises over a two-decade career, starting at age 26.
It was during those years in baseball, Weisman said, that he made some of the communication mistakes he speaks about today. The biggest mistake, he said, was failing to address the hostility between his wife, who was director of business operations, and a work colleague of hers. Both left the franchise after one especially heated altercation, and 18 months later, he and his wife divorced.
Communication, Weisman said, invariably leads to three outcomes: building a relationship and trust; slowly eroding a relationship and trust; or instantly destroying a relationship and trust. In fact, he asserted, every single time one person communicates with another, there's a 67 percent risk of damaging that relationship, which he called "pretty frightening."
Here are the Weisman's seven deadliest communication sins:
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