Building Self Confidence Blog

How Misunderstandings Happen and How to Deal With Them: Confidence Tip 147

Life Coaching and Confidence CoachingA friend of mine sent me this conversation recently.

 Partner 1 texts partner 2 on a very cold winter’s morning: 

“Windows frozen, won't open.”

Partner 2 texts back:
“Gently pour some lukewarm water over it and gently tap edges with hammer.”

Partner 1 texts back 5 minutes later:

“Computer really messed up now!” 

How many times have you left the scene of a conversation totally confident that the other person knew exactly what you meant, only to find there’s been a complete misunderstanding? Aarghh!

The joke reminded me of two things that could be useful to you.

The first is a very challenging quote from David Gordon: “Just because you’re making a noise in my direction, don’t assume you’re communicating with me!”

I remember coaching a manager who was totally frustrated because he’d have long conversations with members of his team to arrive at decisions about what and how they were going to do things only to find that they didn’t do what he thought they were going to do, in the way he thought they’d agreed they would do it.

The second thing the joke reminded me about was how easy it is to fall into the trap of wading in with a solution before you know enough about the problem. The risk being that you might give an irrelevant solution, a solution that’s only partially correct or one that’s totally unwelcome because a solution wasn’t being asked for anyway!

So…what can you do to avoid these misunderstandings in the first place and how can you deal with these misunderstandings if they come up?

How to Avoid Misunderstandings

Here are 5 tips to help you avoid misunderstandings:

  • At the end of a conversation where decisions are being made or actions agreed, check you are both going away with the same understanding of what has been discussed. To avoid misunderstandings you might say: ‘Just so that I can check my communication, would you feed back to me what you understand that we’ve agreed?’ Or you could ask a summarising question that ensures there is mutual understanding such as, ‘So am I right in thinking we’ve agreed…?’
  • When someone seems to have a problem check whether they are looking for you to suggest solutions.
  • When someone asks your advice, ask more questions about the problem before you give any solutions
  • If you misunderstand what someone has said, take responsibility for jumping to conclusions.
  • If they misunderstand what you’ve said, take responsibility for miscommunicating and find another way to express yourself so that they do understand.

Madeleine Morgan Life, Career and Business Coaching, Cambridge UKWhat’s your next step to making your personal and working relationships work for you?

Warm wishes, Madeleine

P.S. Check out the Special Offers, Quote of the Week, ‘Useful Links’ to life changing free ‘stuff’ below.


Special Offers and Dates for Your Diary

1. Free Coaching Discovery Session

If we haven’t worked together before, I’d like to offer you a free, confidential ‘Best Year Yet’ Coaching Discovery Session

I have 4 sessions to give away in April.

During that 45-60 minute session,

  • We’ll discuss where you are with your personal, career or business life.
  • We’ll uncover hidden barriers to your success.
  • We’ll get clear about how you’d like your life to be.
  • Then I’ll show you how you can bridge that gap. You’ll go away feeling positive, excited and confident about making 2016 your best year yet.

If you would like to apply for a session, just email me:

Hurry to book your place because there are only 4 places and this offer is going to over 1600 people. 🙂

2. Wednesday 18th May 2016 Business Growth Coaching Programme 

I’ve teamed up with business consultant Tim Gale and we’ll be launching our 12th Business Growth Programme on Wednesday 18th May at 4.30pm. If you live in the Cambridgeshire or Suffolk area and you’re interested in growing your business this year, in the run up to the launch we’d like to offer you a free Double Your Profits Strategy Session. In this session, we’ll discuss where your business is now and where you’d like it to be in 1 to 5 years’ time. We’ll share with you how we think you could achieve the lifestyle and business you really want.

To apply for your free Double Your Profits Strategy session, click here.


Quote of the Week about Communication and Misunderstandings

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


Useful Links

"I've just read Madeleine's 'The Success Ladder' over the weekend. What a great easy and effective guide for any aspiring leader. It's very easy to read and most importantly the actions are very powerful which I've already started to implement. Thank you Madeleine and I look forward to sharing my success with you :-)" Adrian Peck






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