Assume the Next Message You Send Will Be Misunderstood
There are over 600 or more words in the English language with 10 or more meanings. In addition, our body language and tone of voice can also be percieved in many ways.
To make sure that people don’t misundertand us and they walk away with the intended message we want to deliver and not something else, here are 5 ways to avoid misunderstanding in one to one conversations as well as as in a presentation to a group.
- Repeat the message. Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them. People need to hear what you are saying a number of times before it sinks in. Also when you are repeating a point, say it in different ways or create pictures in people’s minds as everyone processes information differently.
- Have them repeat back the message. Only use this in one on one or small group situations. If you decide to use this method, we recommend that you mention to the intended receivers in advance you would like to ask them to repeat back your message to make sure everything is clear. People might think you are arrogant and condescending and could become resentful, if you just ask then out of the blue without warning to repeat back what you said.
- Make sure your body language, tone of voice and words are all congruent to the message you are delivering
- Paraphrase what you told them, “I want to make sure I came across clearly and didn’t confuse you, so just to make sure, he is what I wanted you to remember.”
- Don’t just ask “do you understand?” Most people will say “yes.” The key to know is what did they understand.