Why You’re Failing at Business Productivity

Failing Business Productivity Kohezion


I think a productive business is composed of a great team of people who work well together. To work well as a team, we need to use communication skills. This may come as a surprise for you, but you really need to improve your communication skills. Yes, you… and me, and your boss, and the watchdog you hired as a receptionist. In this article, I’ll explain five ineffective communication techniques we are all using and I’ll suggest five effective communication techniques to use instead.


Ineffective communication is hurting your business productivity

Asking “why” questions

Asking “why” questions will most likely be received as criticism by your interlocutor and he may just shut down on you. This is going nowhere!

Changing the subject

Don’t we see this during meetings all the time? It is usually when the shy or introvert intern is trying to express an opinion when the loudmouth of the group just start speaking and change the subject. Rest assured that the intern will never stare her bright and innovative ideas again. Just when you needed new input… now you lost it!

Giving advice

Every time you start your sentence with “I think that you should…”, you are starting on the wrong foot. No matter what you think, you don’t know better.

Falsely reassuring

“Everything is gonna be alright” and “there, there” comments won’t resolve any problems. In business, you have to be able to face the good, the bad and the ugly. Taking the bull by the horns and stating the facts as they are will put you on the right track to success.

Making value judgements

“I really don’t think it was bright from you to do this or that.” or “I can’t understand why you would make such a decision.” are two examples of sentences to avoid. All you will achieve is to make the other person feel misunderstood, guilty and/or angry.


The use of effective communication techniques will boost your business productivity


Instead of asking why, ask the person to clarify what she just said. You can try short sentences like “Tell me more about it.” or “Could you describe what you did exactly?” and you will have better results. The exploring technique objectively focuses on ideas and experiences.

Seeking clarification

Instead of changing the subject, why don’t you explore it? To seek clarifications, you can say:

  • “I’m not sure to understand where you are going with this but I would like to. Could you explain in more details?”
  • “What is the main concept in what you just explained?”
  • “Could you give a specific example?”

These types of questions will help the person get to the point of what she is trying to say. I’m sure it’s worth your time, give it a try!

Giving information

Giving advice is subjective, giving information is objective. Share what you know and wait for your team to ask for your opinion before giving it. If they didn’t ask, they didn’t want to hear it!

Presenting reality

Falsely reassuring may just be sugar coating the truth. It won’t be helpful in facing reality, as harsh as it can be. You don’t want to argue or to try to convince your interlocutor. Simply state the facts.

Voicing doubt

Even if what the person in front of you just did or sais don’t make sense at all, making value judgement won’t lead you to positive outcomes. Instead, when you disagree with what is being said or done, try to voice your doubt in a tactful manner. “That is hard to believe…” or simply “Really?” may just help you close a door you didn’t want to open in the first place.



The described techniques and associated examples in this article were taken from or inspired by the communication techniques described in chapter 11 of Halter, M.(2014) Varcarolis’s Canadian Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing a Clinical Approach, Toronto; Elsevier ISBN: 978-1-926648-33-0.

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