Effective Communication: 3 Types of Miscommunication

Effective Communication: 3 Types of Miscommunication

Miscommunication can be the cause of the most comical, crucial and consequential moments of our lives. Here are some examples of where effective communication falls by the wayside. These examples will make you smile, laugh and wish that you were a more effective communicator.

The three types of miscommunication are:

  1. Misunderstanding
  2. Non-Understanding
  3. Misinterpretation

1. Misunderstanding

Misunderstanding happens when the receiver understands a message differently from what the sender intended. Here are some funny examples:

  • Dog For Sale: Eats anything and is fond of children.
  • Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
  • Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
  • Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
  • Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced yard, meals, and smacks included.
  • Illiterate? Write today for help.

2. Missed or No Processed Information

Missed or No Processed Information happens when the message receiver receives no interpretation at all, or, receives multiple interpretations without enough information to choose the correct interpretation.

The best example of a non-understanding is a cell phone conversation with poor reception. If the reception is poor enough you will receive no message at all, but if the reception is mediocre you may end up with many differing messages and not enough information to decipher which message is the correct one.

Another common source of missed information readily occurs if the ‘Receiver’ has a hearing problem and either does not respond or responds with..yeah, yeah.

3. Misinterpretation

Misinterpretation happens when the message receiver interprets a message but has a differing understanding or definitions of words, terms, values, beliefs or instructions than that of the message sender. Misinterpretations happen often when crossing culture and language barriers. Here are some examples:

  • A store window posted a sign saying: If you write bad checks, we will prostitute.
  • A Tokyo bar menu read: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
  • A dry cleaning shop sign read: Drop your trousers here for best results.
  • A Czech tourist agency advertisement read: Take one of our horse-driven city tours, we guarantee no miscarriages.
  • A Swedish furrier advertisement read: Fur coats made for ladies from their skins.

Although these examples are quite comical, it is critical to examine your communication skills often. Miscommunication in the workplace is an unfortunate way to fail, but it is a common one.

In conclusion, remember to clarify. Clarification only takes a moment and it can save you a ton of headache. A quick clarification will give your message receiver an opportunity to validate shared understanding and give you an opportunity to make your message a success.

photo credit: A sign in Edinburgh (license)

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