11 Strengths and Weaknesses in Communication

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Communication is an inevitable part of our lives. Every day, we are bound to interact and communicate with others. This makes it essential to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses in communication.

Communication is not just limited to verbal interaction but also includes other aspects like body language, listening skills, tone, and more. Despite communicating daily, we often find that we haven’t aced it yet. We might still be struggling in some aspects.

So what exactly are the strengths and weaknesses in communication?
Strengths in CommunicationWeaknesses in Communication
Body Language and Tone
Use of proper gestures and tone while communicating.
Unclear Delivery
Situation when your message doesn’t reach the audience.
Confidence in speaking
Helps build a good first impression and engage the audience.
Nervousness in communication
It proves to be a weakness when it hinders performance.
Clarity
Communicating in a manner that is easy for others to understand.
Cultural Barrier
Barriers due to differences in cultures.
Constructive Criticism and Feedback
Ability to critise others in a non-derogatory manner.
Conforming
Behaving in a manner that is acceptable to others.
Understanding the audience
Communicating in a way that suits the audience.
Poor Visual Presentation
Heavily detailed PPTs, use of complex props etc
Using the proper medium of communication
Using situation-appropriate mediums like email, text, call, videocall, or more.
Overuse of Fillers
Excessive use of fillers like “um” and “uh.”
Ability to carry on a conversation
Often backed by asking good questions
Language
When people understand different languages. It can also be used to mislead people.
Being Informative
Having enough information about the matter you are talking about.
Constant Interruptions
Shows one’s lack of interest in listening.
Being Honest
Honesty is directly related to authenticity.
Information Overload
Bombarding with tons of information at the same time.
Ability to relate to others
Makes it easier to empathisize and communicate effectively.
Not giving enough Information
Failing to give enough information for others to understand.
Active Listening
Listening before giving your views.
Poor Virtual/ Online communication
Includes having your camera turned off or other interruptions.

While we can attribute our poor communication skills to several factors like our environment or lack of opportunity, the main problem lies in a poor analysis of our strengths and weaknesses in communication.

But,

Why is it important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses in communication?
  • First, it gives you a better understanding of yourself. It makes you realize which aspects of communication you are struggling at and this in turn would help you to work on those specific areas.
  • Second, working on specific areas helps you enhance those skills only. Thus saving your time.
  • Third and most important, it makes you realize your mistakes. At times what we might consider our strength may unknowingly turn out to be our weakness.

A good example of this would be if you believe that you are very knowledgeable on a certain topic and decide to give your audience as much information as you can. While this might seem like a good idea, if you are bombarding the audience without understanding their capacity to take in the information, your message might not reach them.

This is a situation of information overload. Read till the end of the blog to know more about it.

The idea of this blog is to help you understand 2 things:

  1. Your Strengths in communication
  2. Your weaknesses in communication

Before getting into the strengths and limitations, here is a small task for you! The blog gives you information on 11 strengths and 11 weaknesses in communication. At the end of the blog, you will find a small table where you can add up all the scores for strengths ( +1 per strength) and subtract 1 point each for the weaknesses. (Max score possible is 11 and the lowest is -11.)

Tally your scores with the table and let us know what you get!!

Strengths in communication

1. Body Language and tone

We have heard a gazillion times that it’s really important to have appropriate body language and tone when communicating. But it takes someone with good communication skills to coordinate their verbal communication and body language.

What this means is to make use of all aspects of communication wherein you are using appropriate gestures and expressions along with an oral explanation.

Understanding others’ body language is also a skill that can help you go a long way. It helps in identifying others’ feelings and intent. It can also help build stronger relationships.

Maintaining a decent tone of voice and modulating one’s voice as per the situation is a skill in itself. Taking pauses as and when required and emphasizing words or ideas further helps in bringing the audience’s attention to those topics.

2. Confidence in speaking

A man confidently addressing a masked crowd.

Have you ever heard someone’s presentation and thought to yourself “This person seems so confident.”?

Confidence is something that radiates through your entirety. People observe it from the way you present yourself, the way to walk, the way you start your conversation, and much more.

So essentially it plays a big role in forming a positive first impression.

While confidently communicating might come naturally to some people, for others it might seem like a task. But it doesn’t have to be. You can enroll yourself in some of the best courses and seek professional help to build your confidence.

But one thing will remain constant in either case and that is PRACTISE!

The more you practice, the more you build a flow, a style of communicating, and the easier it will be for you to confidently communicate.

Following the age-old technique of practicing in front of a mirror helps a lot. You can also make a virtual meeting room for yourself and practice it there if the communication is to take place virtually.

3. Clarity

It doesn’t take much to communicate and throw your point across the table. But it does take someone with strong communication skills to put across the message in a way that is easy for others to understand.

Having clarity in terms of thoughts, the language or words used and the intent of communication are all important in this respect.

At the end of the day, communication is about making your point reach the audience and not just making your point.

4. Constructive Criticism and Feedback

Communication exposes you to diverse ideas and opinions. You are bound to agree or disagree with some of these thoughts that other people carry.

This is where the ability to give constructive criticism comes into the picture. It’s not about going after the person blatantly and being brutally honest with how you feel.

But involves criticizing their ideas or words in a manner that doesn’t hurt them. The feedback should consider the other person’s stance. It must be given in a clear and polite manner so as to avoid any misunderstandings.

5. Understanding the audience

It’s extremely important to know your audience before you start your talk or conversation or even presentation. Tweaking your communication as per their requirements will always work in your favor.

How do you assess your audience?

Let’s say you are making a presentation on “The impact of Junk Food on Mental Health.”

If you are presenting it at a conference, using technical and clinical terminologies would not be difficult for the audience to understand. But if you are presenting the same in a school setting, you might have to make the language easier and the visual presentation more appealing to keep the students engaged.

6. Using the proper medium of communication

A man seated on the floor trying to listen through a paper cup phone

There are plenty of mediums through which you can communicate with others. It includes having a face-to-face conversation, talking over calls, emailing, texting, and much more.

Having a proper understanding of which medium of communication to use plays an important role in a professional setting.

If for example, you want your colleague to update you on a task, you might consider emailing them or even texting them rather than video calling them.

7. Ability to carry on a conversation

As insignificant as it may sound, it’s quite appreciated when you possess the ability to not let the conversation die.

Although it works well in informal settings, having the ability to skip a few moments of awkward silence can help you go a long way even with colleagues or peers.

Asking good questions can be helpful here. Good questions are ones that lead to open-ended answers. It can be framed based on information just heard.

A few examples of such questions are:

  • What makes you think that?
  • How did you deal with similar situations before?
  • How did you reach this conclusion?
  • Why don’t you tell me more about (something that they mentioned during the conversation)?

Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question

E.E.Cummings

8. Being Informative

You might have encountered times when people confidently talk about their topic but when questioned about it from a different perspective, they find it difficult to answer.

Having enough information thus turns out to be a strength in communication. The idea is not to know the topic in its entirety but to have just enough knowledge.

It helps others realize your investment in the topic in question, this, in turn, would build their trust in you and the information you share.

If for instance, you have presented a paper on the topic of global warming, you can also take a look into questions pertaining to sustainable alternative technologies like electronic vehicles, which have garnered popularity in recent years.

9. Being Honest

Honesty is directly related to authenticity. The more honest you are while communicating, the more others would feel safe to trust you and your information.

Apart from the many interpersonal benefits, honesty can be observed easily as well. When you are dishonest or not true to what you are saying, your body language might indicate it.

10. Ability to relate to others

Empathy is a term that can be used here. It’s not always easy to relate to others and understand where they are coming from. And while you cannot ask them to tell you, what you can do is give them an opportunity to relate to you.

How do you do that?

Simple storytelling! How many times did we give in to listening to our professor’s or boss’s personal stories to get away with work?

While that is not what our intent should be, sharing stories, especially ones that are personal can help others understand your background and help them relate to you.

11. Active Listening

How can we miss this? Listening is a very crucial component of communicating effectively. Someone who has the ability to listen carefully and actively reaches a giant leap closer to being a good communicator.

To show the other person that you have been listening to them, you can make use of occasional head nods, show expressions that are relevant to what they are saying, and maintain eye contact.

People who have excellent active listening skills also engage in paraphrasing what they hear, again giving an indication to the other person that they were heard.

Weaknesses in Communication

1. Unclear delivery

Unclear delivery of your message opens the door for misinterpretations. It can be a result of your pace being too fast, your tone, or even using a lot of fillers.

And while it might seem challenging to know if all the information was delivered to the audience, there are a few things you can do to understand it.

You can open yourself to some questions, paraphrase, or give a summary of what you just said. All of which might help clear the air of misunderstandings.

But if you would want to improve on more clearly delivering your speech, this short video should be your perfect guide for the same.

2. Nervousness in Communication

It is completely normal to feel nervous before communicating, especially when one has to communicate in front of a large audience. It comes out as weakness only when nervousness hinders your performance.

Some of the common signs of nervousness are sweating, awkward use of hands, standing still, and reading from your presentation.

Practice can help overcome nervousness to some extent. However, it is not guaranteed that you will not feel nervous after enough practice. You can try some relaxation techniques like slow breathing.

Repeating a phrase like “I am completely prepared for this” or “I got this” can also be helpful. Such affirmative repetition helps take our attention away from the anxiety while at the same time boosting us with a little confidence.

If you find yourself in similar situations, consider watching this quick video to help you overcome your nervousness:

3. Cultural Barrier

When we think of cultural barriers in communication, we think of dialect barriers. However, poor understanding of differences in other aspects of communication is a much bigger barrier.

Body language for instance changes from culture to culture. A good example would be eye contact. Eye contact is a way of showing your involvement in the conversation but in European countries, long-held eye contact is seen as derogatory.

Another example would be that of addressing individuals. In Western countries, it is commonly seen that you address all levels of your colleagues and bosses by their first name while such a practice would be seen as a grave disrespect if followed in Asian cultures.

While it is unreasonable to know all the cultural ideals followed by people around the world, You can try to avoid creating any misunderstandings by simply following universal principles while communicating.

4. Conforming

Conforming is behaving in a set manner that is backed by some rules, laws, or beliefs.

It is much more common in group settings. It can happen when you end up agreeing with what the majority agrees on even if your stance is different. It is difficult to stand out against something that is widely believed. One might give in to the group’s decision to save oneself from any trouble.

A group of four suited men interacting with each other.

5. Poor Visual presentation

Visuals are the easiest and most convenient way to present communication in a precise yet detailed manner. Having poor visuals like the use of complex props or long PPTs can come in the way of making your presentation effective.

With several freely available tools, you can easily overcome this barrier. Some of the many websites you can take help from are:

6. Overuse of fillers

Using a lot of fillers like “um”, “sort of”, and “uh” shows your uncertainty or inadequate knowledge on the matter. In such cases, you can either replace the fillers with “I would like to add here that” or instead of saying “sort of”, replace it with something like “I believe”.

You can also use affirmative words like “uh-huh,” “got you,” “I understand,” “for sure,” “I see,” and “yes” to show that you have understood.

For a more crisp understanding of eliminating filler words check out our blog that gives you 6 precise tips to do the same:

6 tips to stop saying filler words: Eliminate the ahs and ums

7. Language

Language can be a weakness in communication. In its most common form, not understanding the language that the other person speaks is a barrier. It can also prove to be a barrier when one uses the language in the wrong way which includes the use of slang, derogatory and stereotypical words.

The use of words that are too difficult to understand can also be unattractive for the other person to stay focused on. Another aspect of language that doesn’t go unnoticed is poor grammar.

Language can also be used to mislead the audience. This is known as doublespeak.

If by whiskey is another way in which language confuses people. It is a fallacy in which the person supports both sides of an issue. If you are interested to find some examples of the same, check it out at If By Whiskey

8. Constant interruption

It’s always annoying when you are trying to say something but someone keeps interrupting. It may be because they have some important work from you or maybe they want to share a similar story they encountered.

Either way, interruptions give a clear indication that the person isn’t listening to you.

It is fairly easy to overcome this weakness by giving the other person a chance to complete what they are saying. You can later add your input.

9. Information overload

Information overload as discussed is a situation wherein you end up bombarding people with too much information. The reason it becomes a weakness is that you can not take a lot of new information at one point.

So, how is the information overload problem to be solved?

Either you gradually introduce the information to people. Or You provide them with all information and give them a chance to go back and forth. The latter can be done by providing them with a manual or video link.

Information overload is quite overwhelming for the audience. At the same time, it increases the chance of important information being missed out.

10. Not enough information

Having too much information can be a barrier. But so can not giving information be as well. This is especially a case of weakness in email communication. Emails are seen as a formal way of communication. You direct what you expect from the other person and expect the task to be done. But when you haven’t provided enough information, it may create a bit of confusion and delay.

11. Weakness in virtual or online communication

An angry women blasting over a video call.

Virtual communication has become a part of our lives. Poor communication skills in an online or virtual setting include very basic things like ghost appearance or camera turned off, poor connectivity, background interferences by family and friends, and much more.

What you can do to avoid these barriers while communicating online may include keeping your camera on, dressing up as per the situation even when you are at home, looking into the screen, and not observing the beauty of your room

To learn more about communicating in a virtual or online medium, check out our video on ‘Effective ways to engage a virtual communication.’

This brings us to the end of the blog. If you kept a tab on your scores while reading the blog, check out the table below to know where you stand.

ScoreAnalysis
< -5A long way to go but remember slow and steady wins the race!
-5 to +5A few big steps and you’ll be an expert in communicating effectively!
+6 to +9Great going! Just a few more improvements. You’ve got this!
>+10Bravo! Have you aced communicating effectively already?

If you haven’t scored up to your expectations and feel the need to improve, Do check out our services at franticallyspeaking.com. We provide services catered to your specific needs and are always happy to help.

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