3 Communication Mistakes To Avoid

Improve Listening skills – Improve communications

  • Are you working hard putting everything you have into your role?
  • Do you want to be the best you can be?
  • Do you want the best from others?

But something or someone is holding you back.

Taking time to improve your listening skills can drastically improve your performance and here are my 3 communication mistakes to avoid:


  1. Talking about the person not talking to them 

If you are the kind of person who needs a sounding board to clear your own mind first this can be useful but on the whole it is wasting valuable time and resources.

Learning how to create an environment where you can give your feedback directly to the person and together you can gain the clarity and understanding through a process of questions and listening can be far more efficient.

No one can know the person better than they know themselves, therefore most discussions without them are likely to based on assumptions and therefore ineffective, resulting in nothing more than a moaning session.

2. Talking about the problem not the solution 

How much time have you spent talking about what you don’t want rather than what you do want this week?

People in general spend hours engaged in conversation about the problem. Talking about what went wrong or what you didn’t like. Imagine if you asked the yourself one simple question every time you noticed yourself talking about the problem that effectively focused your attention to talk about the potential solution.

Imagine that same time invested in exploring solutions. The Clean Language question we use to achieve this is:

What would you like to have happen?

or What is working?

Notice what happens to your own efficiency and energy levels when you focus your attention on solutions and resources. Notice how others engage in the conversation more when you focus on what you want rather than reflecting on what you didn’t want.

3. Listening waiting for your turn to talk

Listening well and asking questions that focus others to talk about solutions and resources is one of the fastest and most effective ways to empower others to solve problems and make decisions.

Yet it is like our brain is hard wired to spark off ideas, solutions, suggestions or to make connections of when we experienced something similar.

This whole process can then result in your mind being consumed by the thoughts you are having rather than the thoughts being shared. Then what tends to happen is you spend the next few moments just waiting for your opportunity to share your thought rather than listening.

Step 1 – Chatting with the purpose is all about setting others up for success and ensuring when you speak they know the purpose of listening. Likewise when you are listening it is important to understand the purpose. Sometimes the purpose is simply to give the other person a space to download and sometimes you will need to take action as a result of listening or give advice. It is hard sometimes to concentrate on all the information if you are unsure what the purpose is.

My husband Mark use to find it almost impossible not to interrupt me with his ideas and when we explored this it was because he does not trust his memory to remember what he was thinking when I finish talking. Bearing in mind when I am in full flow I can talk for sometime. 

We have found a balance so that I feel heard and not interrupted and he can share his thoughts and concepts before he forgets them. It is this increased awareness and development of strategies that has improved every relationship I have that matters to my success and happiness.

Activity to improve your listening skills today are:


  1. Notice when you are talking about someone and ask what needs to happen for me to have this conversation with this person
  2. Catch yourself if you are talking about what you don’t want and ask what I would like to have happen?
  3. When you are listening, focus your attention on their thoughts and opinions, ask questions so they get more clarity and let go of the need to solve the problem for them. Notice what happens if you just listen for 5 minutes without giving your opinion or ideas.

Thanks for listening


If you would like more information on how to communicate more effectively please contact Sheryl Andrews at Step By Step Listening or sign up to our Free Guide or Social Media networks to get more information and to stay in touch with us.

About the Author

How to improve your listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening and designer of the The Power Group Model is a mum of a blended family of 5 children and is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion to help others achieve. She is also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being enough. On the outside to everyone else you might have thought all was okay but how she was feeling inside was often a different story. Sheryl found it difficult to speak up and have her needs met as well as that of her clients, her team and her family. Leaning how to improve her listening skills and how to create peer support without peer pressure was vital to improving her performance and happiness. Today Sheryl shares with you her own 10 step strategy that empowers her to work, learn and live at her best more of the time. Sheryl has a big open heart and will do everything she can to create a leaning environment that is safe for you to develop the resources you need to be the best version of you that you can be. You will feel heard, understood and valued. Sheryl will believe in you even when you don’t and will encourage you to notice and celebrate what makes you unique and of value.

Would you like:


  • Clarity, focus and direction
  • To unravel what is holding you back
  • To Develop resources to be the best you, that you can be
  • Plan your next best step with confidence


Don’t know how call me now….+44(0)1329 286648

I am more than happy to have a no obligation chat to understand what is happening for you now and what you would like to have happen or download my free self coaching guide “Success Without Stress”

Free Step By Step Listening Guide

Free Motivational Monday Newsletter

Listen Lunch and Learn Introductory Sessions

Follow Step By Step Listening on Social Media

Blog Post Social Media Icons Facebook Blog Post Social Media Icons Twitter Blog Post Social Media Icons LinkedIn Blog Post Social Media Icons YouTube