If a communicatee is at all interested in understanding a communicator and the communicatee misunderstands something the communicator communicates, it is almost always the fault of the communicator.

I need to communicate better.

17 comments on “Communication”. Leave your own?
  1. Aaron Jones says:

    Should we dare ask what you miscommunicated?

  2. Mike D. says:

    Fair question but one I can’t answer explicitly. Because I failed to be clear about a particular matter and subsequently failed to follow up on it with further communication, others believed something I didn’t intend to convey… and that’s unfortunately my fault and something I’m going to spend the weekend beating myself up about. And then when the weekend’s over, I’ll work on getting better about it. Sorry for the obscurity.

  3. Eric Meyer says:

    Now why does this sound familiar?

  4. Emma says:

    judging by this post you need to get out a bit more!!


  5. Mike D. says:

    Eric: Yeah, totally different subjects, but same exact principle of communication as responsibility of the sender.

    Emma: Unfortunately I think it means I need to get out a bit less and that I need to start overcommunicating in a much more official way. :)

  6. Jim says:

    I assume you meant to type “at all interested” instead of “all at.”

    Or was that a trap to see if we’d catch something? Like those “and and” duplications our eyes don’t catch because they occur at the end of one line and the beginning of another?

    But yeah, I’d say that we’re all in the same boat: we could all learn to
    to communicate more clearly.


    (Editor’s Note: Good catch. Fixed!)

  7. Don says:

    I don’t agree, it takes two to communicate. The communicatee should engage in active listening (essentially repeat back what was said to clarify they understood accurately) and then the communicator can understand that the other person took it different than presented.

    I think the obsessive side of your personality may be too close to the surface this week. Call a friend and go relax. You always want to do better tomorrow, but no sense beating yourself up :-)

  8. Chad Edge says:


    Mike Davidson, after a recent misunderstanding during conversation, has announced he is now married.
    Let this be a lesson to all readers: miscommunication with a stranger can end in matrimony.

    — false

  9. Matt says:

    I agree with Don that it is a two-way street. Many times, the communication process breaks down because a person hears what they want to hear rather than what was said.

    Next time you’re arguing with someone, stop and ask them to repeat back what you just said. It is amazing how often they can’t or it is totally different.

    People tend to fight the battle they want, rather than the one at hand. Sadly, this is common in relationships and marriage.

    Basically, the fault can fall on either side.

  10. Jason says:

    Never drink and blog! (just kidding)

  11. leodora says:

    Obviously you’re not familiar with such phenomena as selective hearing, denial, or simply the refusal to listen.

  12. Mike D. says:

    Don, Matt, and leodora: You are all correct, but even given those impediments, the simple repeating of the statement shortly thereafter and the mentioning of it an a documented form (like email) can do a lot to reduce ambiguity and misunderstanding.

  13. Chris says:

    Have a look at my latest posting….could this be Apple’s most exciting announcement to come? If not this year, maybe next? Hope this cheers you up!

  14. Nathan says:

    Yep, Don, Matt and leodora are all spot on.

    I’m finding that I’m now putting as much as possible in writing these days, although it chews up some valuable time, it has already saved me from several potential issues that would have chewed up even more time.

    If it’s in writing it’s hard to refute… If it’s verbal it’s way too easy for the communicatee to turn their perspective into fact.


  15. Ryan says:

    Perhaps another course in Speech Communication is in order?

  16. Keith says:

    Funny, I’ve got a post closely related to this in the works…

    Anyway, not having any idea what this is about, and thus making it a bit hard to communicate about – I think, with most communication it’s a two-way street with the majority of the responsibility for good communication on the sender. The receiver, or “communicatee” has to make some effort to understand, but once that is done, I agree with Mike here, miscommunication usually falls on the shoulders of the one doing the communicating.

    If you take the time to express yourself well, explain things in detail, clear up ambiguities, etc. you’ll start to see that people understand you more. When it comes to business I find that over communication is a safe bet. Make sure people get what you’re saying, don’t leave any room out there for failed communication and you’ll be ok most of the time.

  17. Hoppy says:

    A favorite quote I’ve been using more and more often:
    (although I’ve been replacing “explain something” in place of “write”)

    Don’t write merely to be understood. Write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood. – Robert Louis Stevenson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe by Email

... or use RSS