Creative Leadership

The 10 Most Common Communication Problems

Before the late Roger Ailes was President of Fox News and Chairman of Fox Television Stations Group, he ran a corporate communications firm. His career was up and down as he advised presidents like Ronald Reagan, celebrities, and major corporate CEO’s but eventually resigned as Fox News chairman amid sexual harassment allegations. But during his earlier years as a communication consultant he wrote a book called “You Are The Message” where he lists the 10 most common communication problems that apply to speakers, executives, and leaders of all kinds. Here’s the list, because it’s worth thinking about. Which of these do you have the most difficulty?

1. Lack of initial rapport with listeners

2. Stiffness or woodenness in the use of the body

3. Presentation of material is intellectually oriented; speaker forgets to involve the audience emotionally

4. Speaker seems uncomfortable because of fear of failure

5. Poor use of eye contact and facial expression

6. Lack of humor

7. Speech direction and intent is unclear due to improper preparation

8. Inability to use silence for impact

9. Lack of energy, causing inappropriate pitch pattern, speech rate, and volume

10. Use of boring language and lack of interesting material

Ailes goes on to say, “Various polls show that the ability to communicate well is ranked the number-one key to success by leaders in business, politics, and the professions. If you don’t communicate effectively, you may not die, but you also won’t live as fully as you should, nor will you achieve personal goals.”

How about you?  What’s the area you need to work on the most?

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8 Comments

  1. this is so helpful and true. I’m a coms grad student and we have to give a lot of presentations and it can be nerve raking for me because i get tongue-tied often or I’ll reherse things I want to say and forget them. What could I do to overcome this and better communicate?

    1. Chance are Bola, you have the talent and gift, but it’s a matter of practice. I find the biggest problem with speakers is that they’re just not familiar enough with the material. Notes help, but there’s nothing like being so comfortable with the content that speaking in public is like a conversation with a friend…
      Thanks for posting!

  2. From my very limited viewpoint, it seems like these are the very things Republicans (generally speaking) don’t get very well and what Democrats have been using as a huge advantage over them in recent years, just my opinion!

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