Why Miscommunication Happens

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone when you suddenly realised that you’re both talking about completely different things?

My name is Fiona Spence, I’m a Business Mindset Coach and I have an interest in communication and miscommunication. When it comes to misunderstandings, I love digging down into why miscommunication happens, and more importantly, exploring what you can do to avoid it.

How to Avoid Miscommunication

I’ve recently been researching for an online course and as part of my research, I’ve been talking to different people about their experiences in the workplace, and also at home. We’ve been looking at the keys to good communication and one comes up time and time again. The ability to paint, as closely as possible, a picture in the other person’s head that mirrors the picture that you have in yours.

When you don’t share the same picture as the person your communicating with all sorts of interesting things can occur. Sometimes you both end up laughing because you both see the funny side of it. However, at other times one or both of you can get upset, really upset. Perhaps one of you gets angry or starts to cry. Very occasionally, a misunderstanding can even have a fatal outcome.

Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach

Misunderstanding and Miscommunication Example

When I interviewed Graeme Thom, former Fire Commander in the Fire and Emergency Services, he shared a great story from the 1970s. In it he highlighted how some miscommunications can lead to dire consequences. It all happened in Graeme’s early days as a firefighter, in the 1970s. In those days the breathing apparatus that firefighters wore was quite noisy.

Here’s the story in Graeme’s words:

Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach

“It would make quite a loud noise when we were doing fire and rescue and we were searching inside a building. People would hear us with that noise coming towards them. So then of course, in the late 1970s, when Star Wars came out Star Wars. There was Darth Vader, the guy in the black, the guy in the mask, the guy that made that noise! Which made it incredibly difficult for us to conduct search and rescue, particularly for young children hiding underneath beds, because they heard the noise and they saw us coming with our scary black masks.

The kids didn’t want to be rescued by us, which was incredibly dangerous! So we then had run a public relations campaign to try and explain to the little kids, particularly at schools and primary schools, young schools, what the firefighters were doing with this breathing apparatus on their face. We had to let them know that we were the good guys, not the bad guys”

How to Avoid Miscommunication – A Practical Tip

Isn’t that a fabulous example of how misunderstandings occur when you have completely different pictures in your heads? So next time you find yourself in a situation of misunderstanding why not try this very simple technique. Stop for a moment – press pause. Now ask yourself this question:

Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach

“How might the picture in my head differ from the picture in theirs?”

Spend a moment identifying where it is that your wires have become crossed. Somewhere in your communications you have failed to share the picture you have in your head or they have failed to grasp it. Whichever way it is, once you understand how both your pictures differ, then you can start to resolve the communication conflict.

Communication Coaching

Are you struggling to make yourself heard and fed up of being overlooked? Do you find it hard to communicate with some of your co-workers, your managers, or your employees? Or perhaps its your friends and family that are proving the bigger challenges for you. If you ahve ever found yourself replaying conversations in your head… worrying about what you did or didn’t say you are not alone. The great news is that whatever area of communication you are struggling with, whether it is one:one or presenting to a group, a coach with a specialism in communication can help. If you’d like to learn more you can book a free one hour telephone chat, called a Clarity Call, with me by clicking here. My clients tell me that I am very easy to talk to so why not go ahead and book in for a chat. Or if you still aren’t quite sure, you can learn a bit more about me here.

Executive Communication Coaching

Many years ago, when I took my MBA, they had a unit on organisational behaviour. Whilst the lecturers spoke about the principles of how people behave within organisations they failed to address how to communicate to get results. I believe this was a huge flaw in the MBA curriculum. Future managers, execs and business owners graduated from their masters degree without the knowledge of how to ensure that they always got their message across. As a result many found that the instructions they gave were not followed, their advice or suggestions often fell on deaf ears, and communication with staff or team members was frought with difficulties.

Over the years, coaching busy professionals and executives, I frequently hear them confess that they delay or hide from challenging, awkward, and uncomfortable conversations. They worry that their instructions are not followed and often place the blame on staff being inattentive. They complain about suppliers being non-compliant, and stakeholders with whom they are in a constant tug of war. They also share their frustration at giving presentations to their board, or customers, and being met with blank stares. The good news is that with communication coaching they managed to change their communications around, and you can too.

Executive communication coaching is designed to help you better communicate with those inside, and outside, your organisation. From colleagues and staff to key stakeholders, customers and suppliers, once you up your communication game your relationships will take off.

The best communication coaches will help improve your sales, negotiation and presentation skills. Not only will you be able to confidently make yourself understood, and gain buy-in to your ideas, you will also learn to ask questions that give you access to the information you need to make the best decisions. Before you know it you’ll find the instructions you give are followed to the letter. In addition you’ll learn how to tackle those difficult conversations that those less skilled than you will still be shying away from.

Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach
Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach

Executive Communication Coach Fiona Spence

If you’d like to know more about  my communication coaching program let’s have a chat. The program is designed to get you results fast. So,  instead of feeling like you have been dealt the losing hand in  negotiations, and  failing to gain support for your ideas, you will learn to confidently, and clearly present your case. That means  that you will become a respected leader who can influence decision-making, because your opinions are listened to and valued. What that ultimately means is that you will have the confidence to hold any conversation knowing that you have the communication tools you need to understand others and ensure that they understand, and respect, you.

If you’d like to book an obligation free chat to put together a strategy to improve your communication style please click the button below.

Related Blog Posts

To learn about Workplace Drama and how knowing about the Karpman Drama Triangle is the first step to putting an end to it read my blog What is the Karpman Drama Triangle?

scales balancing work and life. A good balance leads to job satisfaction

Or if you’re struggling to find balance in your work and home life, and think you might be burning out, take a look at this article Signs of Burnout at Work (And What to Do About It)

Free Clarity Call

If you’re interested in booking an obligation-free chat with me, simply click the button below.

I look forward to helping you achieve greater clarity and success in your life and career and the job satisfaction you deserve.

Please click the button below if you’d like to book an obligation-free chat with me.