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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

How do we miscommunicate? Let me count the ways!

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

A man and woman stand back to back with arms folded obviously upset with one another due to miscommunication

Miscommunication – the #1 search term bringing visitors to this website. That alone draws attention to how common it is and how much we want to prevent the damage it can cause.

As I have shared in previous posts, the harmful effects of miscommunication are serious:

  1. Miscommunication is responsible for one-third of all project failures according to a study conducted by the Project Management Institute. (1)

  2. Miscommunication is one of the top reasons for all relationship failures. (2)

  3. And, it is cited as the #1 reason people quit a job. (3)

How do we miscommunicate?

To have a little fun with the topic of miscommunication, I created 10 contestants competing for the title of “Mis- Communication.” The contestants are:

Miss Understanding – AKA “What you said and what I thought you said are NOT the same.”

Miss Perception – AKA “Did I hear or read that correctly?”

Miss Conception – AKA “Contagious falsehoods… because they are so common.”

Miss Information – AKA “Not making sure what you said is what you meant to say.”

Miss Interpretation – AKA “Not getting enough information to know what is meant.”

Miss Aligned – AKA “Not speaking the same language, even if it is all English.”

Miss Spelled – AKA “The typo.”

Miss Taken – AKA “The message is wrong, often without the sender or receiver even realizing the error.”

Miss Pronounce – AKA “I really don’t know this word, so I’m going to make it obvious by the way I say it.”

Miss Print – AKA “Autocorrect.”

And our bonus contestant…

Mr. E – AKA “A mystery… no communication.”

How can we overcome miscommunication?

My goal is to identify the ways we miscommunicate and offer solutions to overcome each one. To this end, I have posted blogs discussing each of the individual contestants:

How do YOU miscommunicate most often?

To answer this question, I created a self-assessment. Use it to determine which types of miscommunication challenge you most. Click the quiz button on the home page to get your free copy:

Following the assessment, find practical solutions to overcome each type of miscommunication.

Which one is your arch-nemesis? What can you do to overcome it?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

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