Mitigate miscommunication with grammar and complete information

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By Anny Chih, 24 hours Vancouver

Eliminate confusion by being clear to begin with. (FOTOLIA)

Eliminate confusion by being clear to begin with. (FOTOLIA)

Miscommunication is arguably the greatest source of inefficiency and irritation that everyone has been guilty of promoting, by shortening messages and filtering information. It’s unlikely that misunderstandings will ever disappear completely, but using full sentences and being open with information are two ways that can mitigate negative effects of miscommunication.

Limited time, 140-character limits and small mobile keyboards are all reasons why people consciously shorten their messages. But ignoring grammar to save time or space can actually waste more time and require more messages to be sent. For example, writing, “Editing. Friday paper,” in response to, “Can Paul start editing our group paper for grammar?” can mean many things and prompt a series of additional questions. Did you already start editing the paper using the version that was sent on Friday? Are you planning on editing the paper yourself this coming Friday? Are you busy right now editing a paper that’s due on Friday for a different class? The possible misunderstandings are endless.

Complete sentences are more understandable than a series of fragmented words. For example, “I’ve made revisions to our group paper and will email the paper to Paul on Friday so he can proofread it over the weekend” is much clearer than “Editing. Friday paper” and saves the reader from asking another question which requires another response.

Limiting information is another way people waste time when working with others. For example, if you asked a friend to help add images to your presentation about a marketing case study for athletic shoes but failed to explain that you will only be speaking about Adidas, your friend might add photos of many different shoe brands to your presentation. You would then have to delete the images and spend time adding new ones.

Providing all the information that a person may need is a much more efficient way to work together. For example, “Could you please add Adidas sneaker images to my presentation about the evolution of the brand’s marketing?” gives the email reader a better understanding of what types of images to include in your presentation than simply asking for pictures of athletic shoes.

Use full sentences and provide complete instructions if you want to be understood.



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