Social & Interpersonal Skills

15 Signs Of Poor Communication Skills And How To Fix Them  

In any workplace, communication is key. But if you’re noticing that your communication skills could use some work, don’t worry — you’re not alone.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you learn how to improve poor communication skills. Check out these 15 signs that you might need some help in this area, along with tips on how to address them.

Interrupting Others

Have you ever been in a conversation where you couldn’t get a word in edgewise? It can be frustrating, not to mention rude.

If you find yourself regularly interrupting others, it may be a sign that you’re not truly interested in hearing what they have to say. It can also come across as arrogant and make it difficult for others to feel like they’re being heard.

If you’re struggling with this, try and take a step back and allow others to finish their thoughts before jumping in. By doing so, you’ll not only demonstrate respect for others, but you may also find that you learn something new.

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Monopolizing the Conversation

Conversation is a two-way street, and monopolizing it is a surefire way to make yourself unpopular.

When you’re always talking about yourself, it sends the message that you’re not interested in hearing about anyone else.

This can be off-putting for others, who may quickly lose interest in speaking with you. In addition, always talking about yourself can make you seem self-centered and even narcissistic.

If you find that you’re guilty of these poor communication skills try to ask more questions and give others a chance to share their own stories.

By doing so, you’ll come across as more interested and engaged, and people will be more likely to want to talk with you.

One Upping

When telling a story, it’s important to resist the urge to one-up or top the other person. This can come across as competitive and make the other person feel like they’re not being heard.

If you find yourself assuming what someone is going to say, wait until they finish speaking before responding. Take a deep breath and try to relax. This will help you to listen more carefully and connect with the other person on a deeper level.

Failing to Actively Listen when Others Speak

Failing to actively listen is one of the most common causes of poor communication skills.

Active listening involves not just hearing what someone is saying, but also taking the time to understand and process it.

This means making eye contact, maintaining an open body posture, and avoiding distractions.

If you’re not sure whether or not you’re actively listening, try repeating back what the other person has said to ensure you’ve understood them correctly.

Failing to Acknowledge Others

If you regularly fail to acknowledge others – whether it’s by making eye contact, nodding your head, or saying “thank you” – it can make them feel like you’re not really interested in what they have to say.

This is especially true if you’re always focused on your own thoughts and experiences.

Try and be more aware of the other person and make an effort to show that you’re listening.

Ignoring Nonverbal Cues

Nonverbal cues – such as body language and tone of voice – can often convey more than words alone. If you’re ignoring these cues, you may be missing out on important information or coming across as disinterested.

Pay attention to the nonverbal cues of others, and make sure your own body language is open and inviting.

Assuming What Someone Is Saying Before They Finish

We’ve all been there before: we’re having a conversation with someone, and we think we know what they’re going to say next. So we blurt out a response…only to find that we were totally off-base.

Not only is this frustrating for the other person, it can also lead to poor communication skills in the workplace and misunderstandings.

The next time you find yourself assuming what someone is going to say, try waiting until they finish speaking before you respond.

This will give you a chance to hear their entire thought, and it will also prevent you from interrupting or talking over them.

Not Asking Questions

If you’re not asking questions, it may be a sign that you’re not really interested in the conversation or the other person.

Questions show that you’re engaged in the conversation and want to know more. They also give you a chance to get to know the other person better. So, if you’re not sure what to say, try asking a question.

One Way Communication

One-way communication – where you’re doing all the talking and the other person is doing all the listening – can be frustrating for both parties. It can also make it difficult to really connect with someone.

If you find yourself in a one-way conversation, try and turn it into a two-way street by asking questions and encouraging the other person to share their own thoughts and experiences.

Read More: 15 Reasons Some People Are Not Talking To Anyone At Work

Using Sarcasm or Jokes When It’s Not Appropriate

Sarcasm and jokes can be great ways to add humor to a conversation, but they can also backfire if used at the wrong time.

If you’re not sure whether or not it’s appropriate to use sarcasm or jokes, err on the side of caution and avoid them altogether.

Criticizing or Complaining

Nobody likes a negative Nancy.

Constantly criticizing or complaining makes you seem difficult to be around, and it can put a damper on any situation.

If you find yourself being this person, try to focus on the positive aspects of the situation and look for ways to problem-solve instead.

This doesn’t mean you have to pretend everything is perfect – we all have our moments. But, if you can learn to find the silver lining in every cloud, you’ll be much more enjoyable to be around.

And who knows, you might just make some new friends in the process.

Being Inconsiderate of Others

Everyone has their own way of processing and understanding the world around them. As a result, it’s important to always be thoughtful and considerate of how your words will affect others.

If you regularly ignore other people’s feelings or fail to consider their point of view, it can come across as arrogant or insensitive. Instead, try and be more understanding.

Take the time to see things from their perspective and have a genuine interest in what they have to say. By making an effort to be more understanding, you’ll not only build stronger relationships but also help create a more compassionate world.

Being overly Direct or Blunt

It’s important to be mindful of the way you communicate with others. With so many different cultures and backgrounds, it’s easy to accidentally offend someone without meaning to.

This is especially true when it comes to matters of sensitivity, such as race, religion, or sexual orientation.

If you’re unsure whether or not your words might be offensive, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid them altogether.

This doesn’t mean that you have to water down your words or censor yourself unnecessarily – simply being aware of the potential for offense and making an effort to be respectful will go a long way in ensuring that everyone feels comfortable and respected.

Failing to Apologize

Making a mistake is always difficult, but admitting it can be even harder. We all want to be seen as competent and capable, so admitting that we’ve made a mistake can feel like a blow to our ego.

However, failing to apologize can do even more damage. If we upset someone and refuse to take responsibility for our actions, we come across as unapologetic and difficult to work with.

Over time, this can damage our relationships and negatively impact our career.

Therefore, it’s always best to take the high road and apologize when we make a mistake. Not only will it help to repair any damage that’s been done, but it will also show others that we’re willing to take responsibility for our actions.

Never Giving Compliments

Giving compliments is a great way to show appreciation for someone else. But if you never give compliments, it can make you seem unthoughtful and uninterested in the other person.

So, next time you see something you like about someone, take the time to tell them.

Wrapping Up

Communication is essential in the workplace. It helps coworkers understand each other and work together more efficiently. However, poor communication skills can lead to frustration and miscommunication. This can create a negative work environment and make it difficult to get tasks done. The good news is that there are ways to improve poor communication skills. By being aware of the symptoms of poor communication skills and taking steps to fix them, you can create a more positive and productive work environment.

If you’re guilty of any of these poor communication skills examples, don’t worry – you can change! Improving communication skills is a process that takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. By working on the areas we’ve highlighted, you can start to see an improvement in your interactions with others.

What are some other ways you’ve found to be helpful when improving communication? Let us know in the comments!

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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