Shepa Learning Company Blog

Avoiding Communication Train Wrecks

May 3rd, 2013 by
Communication Skills Training

Keeping Communication on the Rails

Communication is key for employee engagement. It’s so easy for communication to go off the rails –everything from tone, content, body language, and the ‘history’ between those transmitting or receiving the message (ranging from toxic or high trust). It’s no wonder that communication train wrecks happen more frequently than we would like.

Without the skills and tools of communication people are fearful of difficult conversations. They may jump to the wrong conclusions, which is why teaching the Ladder of Inference and Mental Models ‘rethink’ is so valuable.  Many do not have the analytical tools (Reflection, Advocacy & Inquiry) to get the conversation back on track. These are skills that can be learned.

Once people learn these skills, they never forget them, and that’s a very good thing.  Add to these communication skills the right body language, tone and context and you’ve got a formula for better engagement. In the examples below one can see, by simply changing a phrase, you can make communication more effective.


Something as simple as using different phrases can make all the difference.  For example:

You can say this:  Let me be honest with you…  Or you can say this: Let me walk you through what I am thinking…

You can say this:  I have no idea… Or you can say this: You know, I don’t have an answer for that. Let me see what I can find out…

You can say this:  I’m telling you this for your own good…  Or you can say this: I’ve been in a situation very similar to what happened today, and here was my experience….

 You can say this:  That’s not my job…   Or you can say this: I’m sorry, I’m unable to help you with that. Let me think of who might be the right person to approach….

Photo: iStock

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