How to avoid misunderstandings – Three basic steps for a more effective way of communicating.
3 basic steps to avoid misunderstandings in our daily communication.
Why is it important to avoid misunderstanding to achieve effective communication?
Misunderstandings bring to loss of time, to conflicts, they could be responsible for not reaching our goals in our professional and private life.
How is it possible to achieve effective communication in the workplace?
At the end of September I spoke at an IT conference in Berlin. You could now ask: what is Elena doing at an IT conference? Well, surely I am not an expert in telecommunication, but I was asked to speak about the basics of interpersonal communication skills as experts in most of the cases have difficulty to speak the language of the clients and they end up in a lot of misunderstandings.
I find myself also trapped sometimes in the mistake of using sentences or words, which are not understood by my interlocutor, and so I know it very well what it means. Which are the steps of a more effective communication? How can we create a better common ground in order to be able to speak the same language?
The 3 basic steps that you must follow to avoid misunderstandings in the communication in order to generate effective communication:
1: Be aware of the code used by your interlocutor in your daily conversations.
We distinguish between macrocode and microcode. The macrocode is the bigger code you are communicating within. So it could be a language or the type of letters (Russians use another type of letters so another macrocode) or numbers. A microcode is the code inside of a microcode. So for instance words and expressions, which are understood only by a profession, are part of a microcode. The same happens with words that are subjective and which can be interpreted in a different way because of different norms or culture, for example words such as big, small, late, interesting, better, worse, etc. To enhance your skills of professional communication be sure you avoid these words in an important conversation, be sure you are using the same language so that you avoid different interpretation of the situation. For example use instead of “I was late”, “I came 15 minutes too late to the meeting”, or instead of “a big conference”, “there were more than 2000 people at the conference” as the “big” could be interpreted as numbers of days, of speakers, of speeches, etc.
2: Explain microcodes if you need it in order to create a more effective communication in your workplace.
If you need to use a word, which is used in your profession (jargon), and you feel comfortable using it, explain it first. Do no ask if the other person knows the word, just go ahead and explain it. Asking if she/he knows what it means could mean you are putting into question if she/he is cultivate or intelligent.
3: Make sure you two could understand what the other person meant and thereby achieve a more effective communication.
Don’t be afraid of asking for explanation of words or expressions you don’t know or which could be interpreted subjectively. Be sure you understand what the other is telling you. At the other side, try to find out if your message landed in the same way. Use expressions like “I understood right that…”, “could you explain it in other words?”, “what would you understand if I tell you that…?” At the end of an important meeting or conversation, make a summary of what has been said, let the other person speak and resume what was important and which are the next step for the future. Effective and efficient communication starts with listening, be sure you are listening to understand and not listening in order to answer.
You believe that communication in your workplace is conducted effectively?