3 Communication Mistakes You Must Avoid

...because they create the opposite of what you want - clear, powerful and persuasive communication. Worse, these communication mistakes derail careers and destroy relationships.

Communication Mistakes

You can prevent most, if not all, communication mistakes with the clear principles and tools you can learn in the our popular THOUGHT-Talk System Workshop.

You will learn...

  • The Classic Form that provides a clear path from beginning to end
  • The importance of the Rule of 3's and 4's to aid clarity, brevity and memory
  • 12 different ways to structure your communication using "Recipes" that create a logical flow of information for you and the audience to follow.

Consequently, you stack the odds overwhelmingly in your favor to not make the Vulture, Machete or Goofy Logic communication mistakes when you write, speak or make a presentation! So, the first thing to do is assess yourself to determine if you are making these communication mistakes.

Vulture Mistake

Vultures seem to circle and circle, but never land.

Or when they do land they are feeding on road kill!

A presentation which simply circles and circles without every landing, without ever getting to the point, is torturous communication for everyone involved. 

You go on and on, then circle back and go on and on about facts, figures and information, but never make the information point to a clear conclusion. Repetition is great and very necessary in learning, but data without clear conclusions only confuses.​

For now, without the benefit of the THOUGHT-Talk System, to avoid this mistake, at least determine the 3 ideas you want to present. Talk about each one and at the end, simply recap your 3 points. That is the essence of the Classic Form.

The soon to come next version of GR8 Leaders provides you some critical communication basics, as well as 4 of the "Recipes". In the interim, watch this video from course 03 - Leaders Communicate with Clarity. You will learn what you need to do before you even choose your topic and definitely before you choose a "Recipe".

Machete Mistake

The machete is a famous tool used for hacking one’s way through an untamed tropical jungle. When a speaker uses a machete it is a flailing attempt to hack from one part of a "topical jungle" to another.

The Machete mistake ignores the need for structure and flails away at trying to create a path SOMEWHERE! It is prime example of a disordered mind showing itself with a disordered presentation.

While similar to the Vulture mistake, the difference is very little repetition of information.​ It is a constant barrage of information about many different topics.

Remember how "structure demands behavior"? Any and all communication mistakes have no coherent structure to channel information into a path of least resistance to listening, understanding and action.

It is like opening a water valve to just let the water flow out as opposed to connecting a hose to the water valve to direct the water to a specific place. Obviously, the better approach in communication is to structure the path.

Goofy Logic Mistake

Finally, you may have a great topic that uses the THOUGHT-Talk principles, but your logic is flawed or total nonsense.

Therefore, when we don’t make sense - we don’t make sense. A big communication mistake if you need to persuade your audience.

Suppose you want to change some critical processes in the business. You provide your steps for change, but each step is based on an eminent zombie apocalypse. All you have done is provide your audience some clear evidence that you DON'T think clearly,

Those that are thinking clearly will challenge your goofy logic. 

However, others will not notice, because they don’t analyze your logic. That happens too often, unfortunately. Seems to me that is not a good strategy to plan that people won't notice. A much better strategy is operating with great values and communicate clearly, briefly and persuasively, because that is the right thing to do!

You are far better off if you verify your logic for any important communication, since it is very difficult to recover from goofy logic (unless you are an elected official).

The following scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail says it all - goofy logic.

BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?

VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.

BEDEMIR: A newt?

VILLAGER #3: I got better.

VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!

CROWD: Burn! Burn her!

BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.

CROWD: Are there? What are they?

BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?

VILLAGER #2: Burn!

CROWD: Burn, burn them up!

BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?

VILLAGER #1: More witches!

VILLAGER #2: Wood!

BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn?[pause]

VILLAGER #3: B--... 'cause they're made of wood...?


CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah...

BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?

VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.

BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?

VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.

BEDEMIR: Does wood sink in water?

VILLAGER #1: No, no.

VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!

VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!

CROWD: The pond!

BEDEMIR: What also floats in water?

VILLAGER #1: Bread!

VILLAGER #2: Apples!

VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!

VILLAGER #1: Cider!

VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!

VILLAGER #1: Cherries!


VILLAGER #3: Churches -- churches!

VILLAGER #2: Lead -- lead!

ARTHUR: A duck.

CROWD: Oooh.

BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically...,

VILLAGER #1: If... she weighs the same as a duck, she's made of wood.

BEDEMIR: And therefore--?

VILLAGER #1: A witch!

CROWD: A witch!

Yes, that scene is funny, but it has a clear structure that creates the humor. While it presents goofy logic, the actual communication structure is excellent!

This particular mistake implies poor thinking and can easily create assumptions in others' minds that you have poor judgment.

Consequently, verify your logic before you communicate. The easiest way to make sure your logic is sound is to ask others who are objective. Don't ask people to agree with you, because that is like letting the villagers decide.

Great communication persuades or moves the audience in a direction that will help not hurt them and others. That is even more important when you are trying to advance your career and when your role requires great leadership.​

A final reminder, you will always improve your communication when you use the Classic form, Rule of 3's and 4's, and a clear Recipe. Communication is one of the 5 Essential Capacities for GR8 Leaders, so put more energy into your communication to prevent the Vulture, Machete and Goofy Logic communication mistakes.

Now that you know about these communication mistakes, you are ready to learn about 3 ways to create clear, powerful and persuasive communication!​

Help Your Friends Too!