3 Communication Mistakes You Must Avoid

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Communication mistakes are common and can be costly. Fortunately, you can eliminate most communication mistakes when you use structure. Bad structure leads to poor communication, which creates the opposite of what you want - clear, powerful, and persuasive communication. 

Worse yet, communication mistakes derail careers and destroy relationships.

3 Communication Mistakes You Must Avoid

You can prevent most, if not all, communication mistakes with the clear principles and tools you can learn in 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, credibility, and persuasion
  • 14 different ways to structure your communication using "Recipes" to 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 that simply circles and circles without ever landing or 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 excellent and necessary in learning, but data without clear conclusions only confuses.

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

GR8 Leaders provides some critical communication basics and four 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

A machete is a famous tool 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.

With the Machete mistake, you ignore the need for structure and flail away at trying to create a path SOMEWHERE! It is an excellent example of a disordered mind showing itself with a disordered presentation.

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

Remember how "structure demands behavior?" 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 just to let the water flow out instead of connecting a hose to the water valve to direct the water to a specific place. The better approach in communication is to structure the path.

Goofy Logic Mistake

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

Therefore, when you don’t make sense—you don’t make sense—a big communication mistake when 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 with 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. It seems that it is not a good strategy to plan that people won't notice. A much better approach is operating with great values and communicating clearly, credibly, and persuasively because that is the right thing to do!

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

Goofy Logic from Monty Python

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!

A Clear Structure

Yes, that scene is funny, especially if you read it out loud to others. Why? Because it has a clear structure that creates humor! While it demonstrates goofy logic, the actual communication structure is excellent! Using goofy logic in your communication implies poor thinking and creates assumptions in others' minds that you have poor judgment.

Consequently, verify your logic before communicating, especially in those critical situations. And, as you know, the easiest way to make sure your logic is sound is to ask others who are objective. But don't ask people to agree with you, because that is like letting the villagers decide!

Excellent communication persuades or moves the audience in a direction that helps, not hurts them. That is even more important when you try to advance your career and lead with excellence.

Finally, you will continually improve your communication using the Classic form, the Rule of 3s and 4s, and a Recipe. Communication is one of the 5 Essential Capacities for GR8 Leaders, so put more time and energy into your communication to prevent the Vulture, Machete, and Goofy Logic communication mistakes.


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