How to Avoid Misunderstanding in Communication?


We communicate in some way from the time we are born and it becomes almost an automatic part of our life.  However, not many people have had effective role models of communication.  We are taught to communicate poorly by well-intentioned people, who themselves were taught inadequate ways of relating.

Communication in your Relationships

Most of our communication and our messages are understood, however misunderstandings are bound to occur and frequent misunderstandings with people, especially with people who are important to us at home or at work, can build into feelings of resentment and cause a great deal of stress, and lost time.

When people are using the same communication ‘rules’ there is a pretty good chance they will understand each other.  Sometimes when people are communicating, they may unknowingly be playing by different ‘rules’.  In this case, communication breaks down more easily.  Knowing about differences in personality; accepting and respecting differences, and communicating skillfully in a way that works for both you and the other person, are the keys to minimising misunderstandings.


What is communication?


  “Communication is to relationships, what breathing is to life.”


The Role of Perception in Communication

Perception is the process by which we sense, organise and interpret the world around us.  What occurs ‘out there’ differs greatly from what reaches our brain.  Our perception of events is closely related to our values, self-esteem and past experiences – and the way we interpret the situation.

Once we understand that perception is individual, that no two people perceive events in the same way, then we do not assume what another person may be feeling or experiencing, just because we feel that way.  Neither do we assume that the other person will know what we are feeling or experiencing.

It is common to hear remarks such as:

“That is not what happened!”

“That’s not true!”

“You’re quite wrong!”

It is important to understand that these may be examples of differences in perception.

Key Learning

  • Own your own perspective eg. “My understanding is…” or “What I see is…”
  • Work on understanding the other person’s perspective and needs before you disagree.
  • Take the initiative to improve your communication rather than blaming other people or withdrawing and feeling resentful when misunderstandings do occur.
  • Do not ASSUME that you know what another person perceives.

Bonus Viewing: