#0035 Don’t JUST Communicate to be Understood

Don’t JUST Communicate to be Understood, but Communicate so as NOT to be misunderstood.

How many times has your communication with someone been MIS-INTERPRETED and the pursuing action been incorrect? I bet often.

The problem is WE think that what we say or write is simple and obvious, but the truth is there is often MORE than one literal interpretation of what you have asked or stated.

I find this to be especially true of WRITTEN communication such as emails. For a tool that has supposedly improved communication it is often the cause of much frustration, grief, confusion and mis-communication.

SO WHAT can you do about it?

  • Assume NOTHING is obvious.
  • Write like you are explaining it to someone who’s mother tongue is DIFFERENT to yours.
  • Explain what you want and then also explain what you DON’T want.
  • Go into MORE detail than you would naturally think is necessary. (Don’t go too crazy)
  • Be SPECIFIC but not patronising.
  • If possible, ask the recipient to REPEAT back to you in their words what you would like.

Communication can make or BREAK interactions with your staff, customers and family so treat it with respect.

Do it WELL and you will get all that you ask “the FIRST time”


  1. Hey Jewels, very good content on understanding how not to be mis-understood when communicating. I guess when I communicate my message. When I don’t get a response it’s really my communication. Assuming I know it all and the reader is dumb…When it comes down to it It’s my job to communicate in a way that makes sense not only to me but to my customer.

    I guess the real challenge with me is re-writing the message that can be a task in and of itself. This is because I don’t really understand my client profile.

    I understand your communication though Jewels:-)

    Thanks Again!

    1. Thanks for your comments Youpele.

      At first you will have to think a little more when writing your communications but after a while communicating effectively will come naturally.

      Glad you’re on board.

  2. After 24 years in the Army, this is simply how I roll. This is a great skill to have and it pays tremendous dividends.

    What is the source of the “Don’t just communicate…” quote?

    In your last sentence, “your” should be, “you’re.”


    1. Thanks for the feedback Pete.

      I have heard variations of the message in various Management circles but this variation is one I have used in presentations for many years. Not sure if it has been used elsewhere.
      Appreciate the grammar feedback also, now corrected.

      Cheers Jewels.

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