Let’s say you’re working on an important project with a coworker. You check in with her on Wednesday and ask how it’s progressing.
“Um … things are going okay,” she says.
“Awesome — when do you think it will be done?” you ask.
“Let’s go with early next week,” she responds.
You go back to your desk and schedule a time on Monday morning to review the final result with your manager. Nothing more is said about the project for the rest of the week.
Ten minutes before you plan on presenting the work to your manager, you ask your coworker for the deliverable … only to find out it’s not done.
“What happened?” you ask in a panic. “I thought everything was going great!”
“What do you mean?” your coworker responds. “The last time we talked, I thought I made it clear that it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing … and it won’t be done until Tuesday end of day — at the very earliest.”
Ugh … a classic case of miscommunication. Clearly, your interpretation of “going okay” differed significantly from your coworker’s. Not to mention that “early next week” didn’t mean Monday morning — closer to Tuesday evening.
How do these types of miscommunications happen? More importantly, what can we do to prevent them? This video from TED-Ed explains the psychology of miscommunication and ends with four tips to steer clear of these awkward situations.