12 Ways Poor Communications Can Damage Your Career

Have you ever truly thought about whether or not you are a good communicator?  No, I mean REALLY thought about it?  Do your customers and clients believe that you are a good communicator?  How do you know?  Have you ever asked them?  If you haven’t, then you may already have your answer to these questions.

When communicating with customers and clients, do you find yourself:

  • Returning calls when you have the time?
  • Not being fully prepared for meetings or conversations?
  • Punting when asked for your opinion?
  • Apologizing for having missed deadlines?

While you think about that for a moment, consider the list below, and ask yourself whether the people with whom you communicate would say you fall into the category of being “Great Communicator” or if you need to brush-up on your skills.

When communicating with people who are important to your career, do you:

  • Forward information and documents you receive, without reviewing them, without including guidance or a summary, and without your recommendations?
  • Create poorly written letters (lack of clarity, grammar, punctuation, relying too much on spell check, not even using spell check)?
  • Send emails that don’t make sense.  (Writing in text speak.  What? Are you 12 years old?!   Writing in email speak using run-on stream-of-consciousness sentences like you used to do 30 years ago when you first got email and leaving the reader to decipher what the hell you really mean).  Sure, everyone misses a typo now and then, even if they do re-read what they write and use their computer’s spell checker.  I’m not talking about simple mistakes.  I’m talking about writing in a stream of consciousness manner, where grammar, spelling, punctuation, and very often intelligent communication don’t exist.  Here’s an example of an email I recently received:

“don’t wana go im busy workig L8 mydeal meet tommrow at9a rchk”

This particular email is the type I’ve received from a particular business person over and over again.  On more than a few occasions I’ve had to write him back two or three times and/ or call him, saying I didn’t understand what he was trying to tell me.  In each case, doing that took time and caused me frustration, for what should have been a simple communication.  This selfish way of communicating forces the recipient to work too hard.  It forces people to make excuses for the writer’s mistakes, like “That’s just the way he sends emails…he’s really a good guy!”  Do you really want your clients having to make excuses to themselves or to others about anything you do?  I will only endure this kind of time-wasting communication because I know this particular guy.  He’s a nice guy and, I have to  make excuses when I get his emails.  I’m not his client.  If I were, it would be a short relationship!

What he was attempting to communicate was:

“I can’t join you for dinner tonight.  I am busy and will be working late.
I have an important deal meeting tomorrow at 9:00 AM.
Could I have a rain check?”

How much longer would that have taken him to write…30 seconds?  The fact that he didn’t take an extra few moments…just a FEW…not an eternity…to clearly communicate something as simple as the above, clearly tells me a lot about him.  Interestingly, this guy also complains a lot about the fact that his customers don’t respect him, won’t stand up for him, and don’t stay with him.  Hmm.  Is it any wonder?

Some people claim that they have different ways of communicating based on the needs of a given circumstance.  That’s bunk!  The above example was a business communication.  Do people like this only communicate more clearly and intelligently with their spouses and their children?  Despite such claims, people don’t easily turn switches on and off inside themselves. Human beings are creatures of habit.  Ten bucks say this guy communicates like this always and tries to explain it away.

How people communicate telegraphs a lot about them.  In this case, none of  it was good.  The message this guy sends to people who are important to his career includes:

1. His time is more valuable than other people’s time

2. He is inconsiderate

3. He may be disconnected (he doesn’t get what he’s doing wrong)

4. He may be distracted or disinterested

5. He seems to be ok with shifting his communication responsibility to others

6. He doesn’t get that poor communication can cause problems for himself and others (What would happen if an important client misinterpreted this guy’s poorly written communication and made a major decision in the wrong direction?)

7. He doesn’t understand that poor communications reflects badly on him and may suggest to others that he has limited intelligence, knowledge, etc.

8. People will expect him to communicate this way in the future, and may choose not to deal with him as a result

9. His poor communication leaves open the strong probability of misunderstandings, miscommunication, offending someone, inaccurate and incomplete information, and much more

10. One can expect that his formal documents may be equally unsatisfactory

11. His communication style is strongly indicative of his way of thinking, performing duties, his sense of responsibility, consideration for others, sense of fair play, entitlement, ability to function as part of a team, integrity, and so much more…

12. His way of communicating could embarrass and cause serious problems for himself, his clients, and others

Must we all write as did William Shakespeare?   Of course, not!  Clear and intelligent communication doesn’t require that much effort, and pays clear dividends to all involved.

So, would your clients say that you are a very good communicator?  How do you know?  Ask them. But, when you do, be certain to communicate your question clearly and intelligently, so they don’t misunderstand you.  🙂

About Real Estate Strategies Corporation

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America. By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com. Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

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1 Response to “12 Ways Poor Communications Can Damage Your Career”


  1. 1 eLiz July 28, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    My favorite – because it’s applicable to me – and reminds me NOT to be so busy with busi-ness that I come off less than at the top of my game as I work with people. Thank you for keeping it simple. e


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THIS WORK IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE PRACTICAL AND USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT MATTER COVERED AND REPRESENTS THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR. HOWEVER, IT IS PROVIDED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE AUTHOR IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE TO THE READER. IF LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE SOUGHT. THE AUTHOR SPECIFICALLY AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY THAT MAY BE INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OR APPLICATION OF THE INFORMATION THAT IS CONTAINED IN THIS WORK.

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