How to stop miscommunicating with your team members


Have you ever arranged to meet a friend somewhere like Starbucks and find out you are both waiting for each other at different Starbuck stores? We both presumed something based on our experience and our assumptions, which proved to be incorrect. Whenever we manage new projects, we know exactly what we want done and always assume that by just projecting this to our team members, they would know what to do. However, miscommunication and misunderstanding are more common than we expect. It is always important to keep the following principles in mind when communicating with your team.

1. Know your people.

A good supervisor knows the strengths and limitations of each team member. In planning how to present information to the team, it is important to keep this in mind. By building this knowledge into the approach used, you can tailor the manner in which the instructions are given to what is best for the person involved. We know that the four major personality styles – Driver, Analytical, Expressive and Amiable prefer different communication approaches. We need to match our delivery with the preferences of that style to assure the best communication.

Keep in mind that people learn at a differing pace. Some people take a lot longer to catch on to new concepts than others. For example, some understand best by being told while others by being shown. It is always a good practice to confirm that they understand what you understand!

2. Watch your jargon.

Every field, every trade and every profession has its private language - its jargon. Try talking to a medical doctor about a condition and out pours a stream of complex Latin words, which are basically incomprehensible to the non-specialist. Or talk to someone who lives and breathes IT and again it feels as if a foreign language is being spoken to you. This is fine and can be extremely effective, when people in the same field communicate with each other.

However, more teams in business today come from a variety of disciplines. Some team members may not be familiar with the technical terms and jargon used by others. It may be prudent to devote some time to teach your team members from non-technical fields the necessary terminology and to avoid using jargon when it is not really appropriate. When dealing with non-native speakers our use of idioms can be a big barrier to getting correct understanding. We need to be sensitive to this and try and speak with as few idioms as possible.

3. Obtain continuing feedback.

Whenever you provide instructions to the team, ask questions about the key points as they are presented. Ask your team members to tell you how they interpret your instructions. Where pertinent, ask just how they intend to begin the assignment. If it is something, which can be demonstrated, have them show you what they will do. This will help correct any misunderstandings before the work starts.

At various times during the course of the project, check with your team members to assure they are performing as expected. It is not necessary to keep looking over their shoulders. Set pre-determined checkpoints at which you and your team can review the progress made and assure that what has been completed meets expected standards. We are looking to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises at the end of the project.

With the help of these techniques, you will enable your team to move forward quickly and accurately in any project. You will also help minimize the errors and improve dramatically the quality of your projects.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

To put it plain and simple in order to decrease misunderstandings, and miscommunications, take responsibility for your communication. Responsibility means verifying that your message was interpreted as you intended. You need to match your listener's communication style, observe your listener, and adjust your style accordingly, and handle a misunderstanding immediately because the cost of misunderstandings is too big to ignore.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

SimondB, takeaway isnt jargon in this case. It's something everybody says.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not everyone: I for one took something away from this article.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Watch your jargon.

I had a meeting with a woman the other day who concluded the session by telling me what her "Takeaways" were. No, she wasn't suggest a quick bite at McD's, she was (trying to) telling me what she was taking away from the meeting as in her thoughts and understanding. Guess it's the latest in thing with young HR people along with the belief that anything can be fixed provided you have a Focus Group meeting.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites