Business Costs of a Failure to Communicate

2016 12 Communication CDoucette photo

Guest Post by Catherine Doucette 

Does talking to this person or that client make you feel like you’re beating your head against a stone wall? Does it feel like you’re speaking different languages?

As in the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

Fifty to 80% of the workday is spent in communicating, two-thirds of that in talking. ~ Journal of Communication

It comes as no surprise then that any failure to communicate costs you money. Here are a few examples:

  • Missed opportunities to build rapport with clients reduce sales
  • Lost productivity to rewrite that proposal because you misunderstood client needs
  • Worse, you lost the project to the competition because your proposal was off track
  • Frustrated team members lead to lower employee engagement which reduces sales

Don’t take my word for it. Look at the research from Harvard and Forbes:

How can you improve communication with your clients and staff?


1 Get a mirror.

People learn, solve problems, and communicate in different ways.  Understand that your way is not the only way. There are strengths and weaknesses to each style. Stay open.


2 Listen for style.

Pay attention to not only what someone says but how they say it. Are they logical? Intuitive? Do they like or hate details? Do they prepare or fly by the seat of their pants? That information will give you a better idea of how they like to receive information.


3 Adapt.

Provide your message in their style, not yours. If your client is detail-oriented, you need to provide them with details, not merely the big picture vision. If your client is logical, spend less time on chit chat. Don’t try to sell team building training because of employee engagement and satisfaction. Talk numbers. Show them statistics demonstrating how it affects the bottom line.


To help you build your skills, we are offering two new Effective Communications workshops: What’s Your Style? Learning to Communicate Effectively and Assertive Communication for Business.


What are you going to do differently this week to grow your communication skills?


Catherine Doucette BPR, MEd, CTDP is a Training and Performance Consultant who makes a measurable impact on organizations by delivering customized business communications, leadership, and training for the trainer (facilitation, learning styles, etc.) programs in the classroom, one-on-one, and online.

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