How to Avoid Miscommunication

All of us miscommunicate at times. Reasons for it vary from each person and situation but you shouldn't feel bad if you notice that it happens to you. A couple of common mistakes can lead to miscommunication and you can learn to be more conscious of what you're doing and saying (or not saying!). Start with Step 1 below to learn how to best get the message across.

Steps

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    Think before you speak. If you think about what you say before you speak, you have the chance to organize your thoughts, rehearse your words, evaluate the situation, and not say something stupid.
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    Speak up. If you don't voice your needs, you won't get what you want. And say what you want clearly and loudly enough to hear.
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    Be clear. Keep the message as simple as possible. Don't ramble or go on to a lot of extra details.
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    Avoid 'um', 'err', and 'you know what I'm sayin. Sure, we all stammer sometimes while looking for the right words. But if you slow down and be careful about your speech, you'll be clearer.
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    Be polite. If you're interrupting other people, being rude, and disrespectful, you will not communicate effectively anything but you're a jerk.
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    Get his or her attention. If you don't have the other person's attention, you won't get the message across. Get eye contact, make sure the other person is listening.
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    Organize. If you're trying to communicate, you need to be sure the information gets to the person effectively. If you're planning an event, you need to give important details, like place, time, and what people need to bring.
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    Listen. If you don't listen to the other person, you are likely to end up miscommunicating. Good listening is often more important than whatever you say.
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    Don't assume. This is the most common presumption people tend to make. And it is the most disastrous one as well. Unless you say something, you usually cannot be entirely sure the other person knows what you're thinking, feeling, or whatever.
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    Understand body language. Much of communication is non-verbal. Pay attention; it can be very important.
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    Give reminders. Check in with the person that they understood you, and know what they need. Even if that party is the most important thing on your calendar, it might not be for your friend. And people can be forgetful. If you're getting upset at people because they aren't putting your priorities on top, remember you need to take some responsibility.
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    Learn good communication skills. If you have the opportunity to take writing, English, public speaking, theatre, computer programming, and world languages, these are all excellent means to focus on communication skills

Tips

  • Be sure you don't use sarcasm in chat, instant messaging, or e-mails without emoticons; it can be taken completely the wrong way otherwise.
  • Eye contact can be uncomfortable. Try looking at the bridge of the person's nose. You'll have the same effect and get the same information.

Article Info

Categories: Speaking and Listening Skills