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Five Ways to Stop Misunderstandings

When was the last time you had a misunderstanding or a disagreement with someone, either personally or professionally?  How much did that misunderstanding or miscommunication cost you in lost time, effort, energy, rework, duplication or a soured relationship? 

Here are five ways to stop the misunderstandings and improve your personal and professional communication and relationships:

1.  Build instant rapport – Instantly create a feeling of trust and familiarity with anyone you meet, within seconds of meeting them.  A simple way to do this is to observe, then to subtly match or copy their posture ie. how they sit or stand.  This will allow the rest of your communication to be that much more effective.  Remember that people who are like each other, like each other!

2.  Really listen – When we are caught up with all the thoughts inside our head we can miss out on really hearing what others say to us.  This can lead to misunderstandings in our communication and false assumptions about the other person.  Instead, shift the focus from your internal dialogue (that little voice inside your head) and really listen, hear and focus your attention on what the other person is saying.

3.  Respect the other person’s model of the world – Each one of us has different experiences, memories, values and beliefs and these determine how we respond and react to situations and the world around us.  Respecting each others’ model of the world enables us to see the other person’s point of view, and helps to avoid disagreements and miscommunication. Rather than disagreeing about whose views are right or wrong, focus on understanding the other person’s perspective first.  This will make an agreement easier to achieve.

4.  Use appropriate words – Tailor the language you use to the other person.  There are four major communication styles: visual (pictures), auditory (sounds), kinesthetic (feelings) and auditory digital (self talk), and each style uses specific words.  Most people use a combination of communication styles and some have a strong preference for one or two styles.  By identifying and utilising their preferred communication style with them, they will clearly see, easily get in touch with and understand what you are saying.

5.  Chunk your information appropriately – Some people need a lot of detail before they can proceed with a task or make a decision, while others simply need to be told the big picture.  Give too much information to a big picture person, and their eyes may glaze over and their thoughts may drift off to other things.  Leave out information for a detail person and they may not be interested in doing a task, not know how to do it or may even ask many questions in order to get the detail they need.

Flexibility is the key.  I believe that the meaning of communication is the response you get.  So if your communication is not being received the way you intend it, be flexible and adapt to the style and preferences of the other person.  This will assist your message to be clearly understood each time.

Would you like to be a master communicator, motivator and leader?

I look forward to continuing to empower you!

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