How can you reduce the potential of sending messages that get misinterpreted?

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Communication is a science and the reasons for this are tenfold. The potential for misunderstanding and misinterpretation is vast and a person or a business,in an attempt to communicate can never be sure that the intention will be understood.

To reduce the damaging and impending possibilities associated with miscommunication, there are various steps that can be taken, protocols can be established and transparency encouraged. A two-way free flow of information also increases the chances of having a good communication model.

Presuming that the misinterpreted messages referred to exist in a business setting, it is essential that the message is expressed using vocabulary that is familiar to the recipient. In other words, the sender must be aware of any language limitations of the recipients. If the message is intended for a large group of people with varying skills, the sender must be mindful to be clear and concise to ensure that ALL recipients fully understand the message.

Avoid grammatical errors that confuse others and may detract from the importance of a message. The relevance may also be unintentionally altered through poor grammar and word use.

Sending a message that makes vague references to what is required is also a recipe for disaster as then the message is open to interpretation. If the sender welcomes interpretation, he or she must clearly indicate this and no assumptions should be made! Make sure that ALL the facts or requirements are explained.  

The sender of a message must also be mindful of cultural differences, different levels of courtesy, acceptable language use (no expletives in other words), religious considerations and be sure that a message does not offend the recipients.  

Always have a clear intention, know the objective of sending the message and keep an open-mind when colleagues do , despite all best efforts, misinterpret a message. By welcoming feedback, or at least acknowledgement, the implications of poor communication can be minimized.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
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