How can you reduce the potential for misunderstanding and misperception as you communicate with others in a business context?

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The only way to reduce potential misunderstandings in business communications is to be very careful with your words and your body language and to be aware of things like cultural differences.

Misunderstandings can come about when we are careless.  If we do not think carefully about what words we use, we can use words that are perceived in negative ways by others when we do not mean to convey such a message.  We can do the same thing with our body language.  For example, we might inadvertently seem dismissive of another person by using the wrong body language.  These are things that can only be reduced by being careful and by being aware of how our words, gestures, and postures will be received.

These sorts of misunderstandings are more likely to occur when we work with people who are not "like us."  Relevant differences can be racial, national or even based on the sex of our coworkers.  In order to reduce misunderstandings based on these factors, we should learn as much as we can about how people of other groups perceive things.  This is a case in which training can be useful since professionals can give us insight, for example, into the differences in how men and women communicate.  By learning about these differences, we can be able to adjust the way we speak and the way we listen to others.  This can reduce misunderstandings as well.

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