People who are well-versed in English can also have some trouble communicating in English because, many times, there is a disconnect between the listener and the speaker. And the message’s information needs to be recovered along the way in expressing the ideas.
Some possible ways in which miscommunication can happen are :
- The speaker may not be communicating themselves.
- The speaker might be using a language with which the listener is not familiar.
- The listener does not understand the message of the speaker.
- The listener might not be paying adequate attention to the speaker.
There are some ways to prevent miscommunication as a speaker and as a listener. It will help if you remember the following communication rules while using English or any other language.
The Important Rules of Communication
There are some essential points to remember when communicating with someone in any language.
1. Say what you mean. Expressing some ideas might be difficult for you; however, it is essential to speak meaningfully and clearly to prevent miscommunication. Thus have a clear point of view.
2. Remember to ask questions. Since communication is a two-way process, both parties should be clear in their stance and point of view. To make sure your listener is engaged (interested in what you have to say) and understanding you, ask questions.
3. Listening is equally important. Listening is often underrated and denied equal importance. It is essential to hear the point of view of the other person before commenting.
Following all three rules will make you excellent at communicating in English (and probably in your native language).
If you are a beginner in English, you might need help following these rules because of the language barrier. These tips will help you be in a better state and, with practice, will help you become a better communicator.
A word is the most specific part of any language. Having correct diction or word choice is vital while communicating essential ideas to another person. Word choice or diction means choosing the appropriate message to deliver the message in the most meaningful way. Hence, diction is an integral part of communication.
The choice of words is the style of expression. Choosing the right words will help you seamlessly communicate your ideas.
Importance of Word Choice
Word choice or diction is important. What is even more important is choosing the right word. While speaking or writing, one must use the most appropriate word. One must learn the importance of correct word choice. Thus the correct word choice and kind words are important.
Below is the list of kind words and phrases you should use in a business environment and the words you should avoid—the list made by Lumen1(Lumen 2019).
Why does the topic of bias-free writing follow a page about hidden meaning? Business writers work to be clear and direct in meaning. Drawing attention to details about the race, age, country of origin, disability, and gender in the workplace might cause conscious or unconscious bias.
Let’s look at some examples and ways to fix them. A simple rule for bias-free writing is to consider whether personal details need to be included to get the point across.
Avoid Franklin is the new African-American accountant.
Try Franklin is the new accountant.
Avoid For someone nearing retirement, she caught on to that new software quickly.
Try She caught on to that new software quickly.
Avoid Abdul has some of the highest call centre ratings, even though his Saudi accent is strong.
Try Abdul has some of the highest call centre ratings.
Avoid John is one of our most active employees, even though he must use a wheelchair.
Try John is one of our most active employees.
Avoid Did the cleaning woman bring new trash bags?
Try Did the cleaner bring new trash bags?
Avoid Do we have enough manpower to finish this project?
Try Do we have enough workforce to finish this project?
Avoiding Gender Bias
Writing in a non-sexist way requires recognizing sexism in the first place. The next hurdle is to figure out a way to eliminate any inherent sexism without disrupting the piece’s flow. Here are a few techniques to help avoid bias.
The first way to avoid gender bias in your writing is to use gender-neutral words when referring to individuals in various positions:
Avoid businessman, businesswoman
Try business executive
Avoid chairman, chairwoman
Avoid the common man
Try the average person
Avoid salesman, saleswoman
Try salesperson, sales clerk, marketer
The next thing to be aware of is your use of gendered pronouns. While some still use he as a generic pronoun, this shows a strong bias towards male individuals. Instead, you can use “he or she” (” his or her,” etc.) as the pronoun for a generic noun:
Avoid Every employee should file his report by the end of the day.
Try Every employee should file his or her report by the end of the day.
Avoid When filing the report, each employee should make sure he included yesterday’s data.
Try When filing the report, each employee should make sure he or she included yesterday’s data.
Using “he or she” is an okay solution, but it can get clunky in large doses: “Every employee should check with his or her supervisor that his or her report was properly filed.” Additionally, many individuals neither identify themselves as male nor female and instead use “they” as a singular pronoun to refer to themselves. Thus, using “he or she” is often not the best solution. The best solution is often to rephrase the sentence to have a plural subject instead of a singular subject.
Avoid Every employee should file his report by the end of the day.
Try All employees should file their reports by the end of the day.
Avoid When filing the report, each employee should make sure he or she included yesterday’s data.
Try When filing the report, employees should make sure they included yesterday’s data.
Avoid Any author who knows that his first draft of a piece won’t be good.
Try All authors know that their first drafts won’t be good.
Avoiding Race and Ethnicity Bias
When speaking about a racial or ethnic group, deciding which term to use can be tricky because the ascribed meaning to particular terms and labels can frequently change. When choosing between terms to refer to a group, it is best to ask a group member what they prefer.
As a general rule in a business setting, do not mention a person’s race or ethnicity unless directly relevant to the situation.
Avoiding Disability Bias
As a general rule, avoid using labelled nouns when talking about people with disabilities. Try to use emotionally neutral expressions rather than ones that assign a role, such as a victim.
Avoid the disabled
Try the people with disabilities
Avoid the schizophrenic
Try the person diagnosed with schizophrenia
Avoid an AIDS victim
Try a person with AIDS
Avoid a person suffering from epilepsy
Try a person with epilepsy
Clichés we use in everyday conversation (green with envy, face the music, add insult to injury, etc.) can make your writing sound boring. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a cliché as “a trite phrase or expression; a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation; something (such as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace.
Avoid slang or idiomatic expressions in formal business writing or academic writing. Slang and colloquial expressions make your writing sound informal and less credible. They can also make it harder for non-native English speakers to understand you.
Avoid That cart did not work anymore. It was all jacked up.
Try That cart did not work anymore. It had a broken wheel and bent frame.
Avoid She was dead after all that overtime last weekend.
Try She was exhausted after all that overtime last week.
Euphemisms and Doublespeak
Euphemisms are words or phrases used to talk about unpleasant or taboo topics more politely. For example, instead of saying that you are leaving a meeting to urinate, you might say that you are “going to the restroom.” If you are talking about a person who just died, you might say that the person has “passed away.”
Doublespeak is a more deliberate form of euphemism that disguises the meaning of words so that the idea the words represent seems less unpleasant. For example, the act of terminating employment for many people at once may be referred to in doublespeak as downsizing or right-sizing, or a government dropping bombs might say it is servicing the target. Doublespeak language is usually used in bureaucracies and politics and should be avoided whenever possible. In business writing (and all writing), you should avoid using doublespeak. In business writing, your purpose should not hide meaning but communicate clearly.
Avoid The department being right-sized. There is a meeting for the entire staff next Friday.
Try There will be layoffs in that department. There is a meeting for the entire staff next Friday.
Avoid The month-end income statement showed a negative cash flow.
Try The month-end income statement showed a loss.
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