5 Ways to Correct Communication Mistakes

Learn what to do when you’ve made a big mistake!

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #117

5 Ways to Correct Common Communication Mistakes

Last week, I left a spelling mistake in the transcript of the episode.  Did you notice it? If you didn’t notice, then this episode is for you! As I mentioned, some people are very sensitive to mistakes, whereas others overlook them.  The problem is that it’s impossible to know ahead of time which mistakes will slip by and which ones will blow up, and small mistakes (like the one in the transcript) can kill your credibility.  So today, I’ll cover five tips to help you handle communication blunders and avoid embarrassment.

Tip #1: Proofread and Edit to Avoid Mistakes in the First Place

Proofread your messages, presentations, blog posts, speeches (anything and everything!) multiple times. Some people find it helpful to read aloud, whereas others like to read the text backwards.  I still have trouble with editing my own work and so I rely on the use of editors. 

If English is your second language, then I suggest using a service to correct both the spelling and the grammar. If the topic deals with a sensitive subject, then it’s definitely best to run the text by a third-party. It often helps to have a neutral set of eyes reviewing and editing your work.  

If you can’t find someone else to edit your work, it’s a good idea to write it and then wait.  Put it aside and work on something else.  If you can wait a full day, or even a few days, you allow yourself to review it the next time with fresh eyes. 

Tip #2: Act Quickly and Be Honest

If you’ve made a mistake, it is important to tell the person or people it will affect as soon as possible. The more time elapses, the more difficult it is to recover. You can’t just act like it didn’t happen and expect everything to go away. It won’t!  It generally just gets worse with time. 

Owning up to a mistake, though it can be embarrassing, is necessary to move on. It shows that you are concerned, apologetic, and willing to right your wrong. It also starts the “healing” process of your brand. Taking responsibility for mistakes is the first step in moving forward and bringing focus on all the good things you are doing.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.