Ask a dozen people what they see in a movie and they will tell you a dozen different variations! We all perceive life in slightly different ways. Ask a group of friends who have been chatting together – they will all have slightly different views of their time together. It’s not just the spoken word, it’s the unspoken word, the hidden meanings, the side-wards glances – all this paint a picture of our view on ‘reality’. How many of us are unsure of what is being said and just make a guess of what is meant!!??? How many of us will ask… “what exactly do you mean by that?”

Miscommunication often occurs in circumstances where people are unaware of making wrong assumptions.

Have you ever had a difficulty in a relationship with someone? You have no idea what caused the tension between you but it is tangible. Non-verbal communication may be the cause. Effective communicators understand that facial expressions, body language, gestures, tone of voice and other vocal characteristics play a greater role in effective communication than words.

We can select our words carefully, know what we want to communicate and unless we look for clarification, remain unaware of the miscommunication that can occur when the person listening to us has not understood the message we expected to convey.  The underlying assumption in much of workplace communication is that if something is clear to me it should be obvious to my colleagues. Often it is anything but clear and this lack of clarity has the potential to cause costly mistakes and bad feeling between people.

Most upsets in the workplace are down to miscommunication resulting in hurt feelings or not being listened to.  Conflict arises and resolving it means communicating via listening with both parties in order to understand!

When communicating, be crystal clear, and where its appropriate seek clarification that what you meant was actually what was understood! “Let me clarify, I’m not sure I explained well. What did you hear me say?” The valuable feedback you receive can teach you how to be a more effective communicator.

No organisation will ever totally eliminate mis-communications, however by understanding the mind-reading that occurs because of indirect and non-verbal communication, we can stop the miscommunication that conveys messages we never intended.  To find out how our ‘courageous conversations’ programs can assist your teams, schedule a complimentary call with Karen here.

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