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How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it) – Katherine Hampsten

How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it) – Katherine Hampsten


Have you ever talked with a friend
about a problem only to realize that he just doesn’t seem to grasp
why the issue is so important to you? Have you ever presented an idea to
a group and it’s met with utter confusion? Or maybe you’ve been in an argument when the other person suddenly accuses you of not listening
to what they’re saying at all? What’s going on here? The answer is miscommunication, and in some form or another, we’ve all experienced it. It can lead to confusion, animosity, misunderstanding, or even crashing a multimillion
dollar probe into the surface of Mars. The fact is even when face-to-face
with another person, in the very same room, and speaking the same language, human communication is incredibly complex. But the good news is
that a basic understanding of what happens when we communicate can help us prevent miscommunication. For decades, researchers have asked,
“What happens when we communicate?” One interpretation,
called the transmission model, views communication as a message that
moves directly from one person to another, similar to someone tossing a ball
and walking away. But in reality, this simplistic model doesn’t account
for communication’s complexity. Enter the transactional model, which acknowledges the many
added challenges of communicating. With this model, it’s more accurate
to think of communication between people as a game of catch. As we communicate our message,
we receive feedback from the other party. Through the transaction,
we create meaning together. But from this exchange,
further complications arise. It’s not like the Star Trek universe, where some characters
can Vulcan mind meld, fully sharing thoughts and feelings. As humans, we can’t help but send
and receive messages through our own subjective lenses. When communicating, one person expresses
her interpretation of a message, and the person she’s communicating with hears his own interpretation
of that message. Our perceptual filters continually shift
meanings and interpretations. Remember that game of catch? Imagine it with a lump of clay. As each person touches it, they shape it to fit
their own unique perceptions based on any number of variables, like knowledge or past experience,
age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or family background. Simultaneously, every person interprets
the message they receive based on their relationship
with the other person, and their unique understanding of the semantics and connotations
of the exact words being used. They could also be distracted
by other stimuli, such as traffic or a growling stomach. Even emotion might cloud
their understanding, and by adding more people
into a conversation, each with their own subjectivities, the complexity of communication
grows exponentially. So as the lump of clay goes back and forth
from one person to another, reworked, reshaped, and always changing, it’s no wonder our messages sometimes
turn into a mush of miscommunication. But, luckily, there are some
simple practices that can help us all navigate our daily
interactions for better communication. One: recognize that passive hearing
and active listening are not the same. Engage actively with the verbal
and nonverbal feedback of others, and adjust your message to faciliate
greater understanding. Two: listen with your eyes and ears,
as well as with your gut. Remember that communication
is more than just words. Three: take time to understand as you try
to be understood. In the rush to express ourselves, it’s easy to forget that communication
is a two-way street. Be open to what
the other person might say. And finally, four: Be aware of your personal
perceptual filters. Elements of your experience, including your culture,
community, and family, influence how you see the world. Say, “This is how I see the problem,
but how do you see it?” Don’t assume that your perception
is the objective truth. That’ll help you work toward sharing
a dialogue with others to reach a common understanding together.

Comments (100)

  1. In the youtube comments section, Clay just gets seriously f**ked up.

  2. so miscomunication is like browsing youtube..keep clicking the suggestion page to anything thats related to the video but a few hours later you went from this video to that weird part of youtube

  3. TED-ed, your mis-spelling often happens! :))

  4. This channel and Crash course channel are the best channel to learn many things for free. Love this age we live in, which is Information Age.

  5. smart move in using shapes haha

  6. I love to get stoned and watch these videos

  7. The animation is so funny love these videos

  8. how to avoid miscommunication at work place

  9. Why does Triangle have to understand what Square means? Square is such a Square! Triangle is the only objective truth…

  10. Every single person I have ever argued with NEEDS to watch this video.
    "What do you mean I didn't let you say your side of the argument?! All I did was shut you up and say you're wrong!! >:("

  11. Cool conversation
    .;..

  12. can i apply this on a girl?

  13. these geometric people are so cute

  14. Very nicely interpreted ,explained and presented! Found it helpful

  15. Anyone else just watch the little character people? 🙂

  16. Great idea for a video. Poorly executed though.

  17. The sound effects and art style in this video is so funny xD

  18. Katherine why you got such a deep voice

  19. thx this help me whith a lot of conversation

  20. In the virtual world where the voice is lost to the keyboard, which looks are not higher but lower, people are reducing the ability of speaking and listening, as behind the screens are very easy to write without knowing sometimes the real reason or meaning of a word. In corporations is increasingly common.

  21. There's a game my husband and I like to play between us. It's called "twist my words in the worst possible way". Honestly, it's amazing how easy it is to turn one thing (even if it's a direct statement) into something completely opposite.

    P. S. We never take the twisted meanings seriously. This is not a way to turn arguments and it's a dirty trick that shouldn't be used by anyone. Ask questions before assuming is a golden rule.

  22. Not so easy. It's a skill and an art.

  23. A lot of people need to watch this. 😂 😂

  24. @$#!*%=&8¢^•€<=©¢=©… XD

  25. the triangle looks so stressed and frustrated

  26. The end of this view sounds like it is preaching relativism. To have a set of beliefs (or perceptions as the video puts it) is to think that a certain set of idea are objectively true. That is what it means to have believes or perceptions. I cannot believe things and not think that those beliefs are right, but good luck communicating that basic fact to someone who is committed to relativism.

  27. One of the problems I have is people will just plain out refuse to look at your point of view. It's really annoying and adds to the rage.

  28. It seems like a lot of people misunderstood the video and have little self awareness. However, I must add that the misunderstanding of any individual could very well be overlooked through watching characters speaking in shapes. That's understandable.

  29. This is so interesting and taught me a lot but hell it did not do any good for my social anxiety.

  30. I have to remember we see the world differently.

  31. I just love these videos they r amazing represented and made interesting 🙂

  32. Maybe I should send this to my lecturer.
    he has a tendency to give us poems as a substitute for mathematic equations.

  33. This is probably the most uninformative TED-Ed video i've ever seen. Took him 4 minutes to say "Miscommunication happens, but you just need to listen better and it will happen less.

  34. this phenomena is disecated in Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Tractatus logicus-philosophicus". Worth the read

  35. Ya'll need some tree, hmu.

  36. 3:19 Describes my life.

  37. You haven't even scratched the surface! Trust me.

  38. Hello

    What do I do if I want to get hired by TED?
    My sole purpose is to contribute to the knowledge and information.

    Thank you

  39. Lol, that mars probe fiasco segment was the best part of this video XD

  40. I feel as if I am the only one who has actually gained useful knowledge from this video, for I have absolutely no skills in understanding others or sharing my thoughts to others trough words.

  41. there is another problem of people not expressing their thoughts correctly in words to convey the appropriate meaning. how could we possibly help this?

  42. I had this problem with my last job . bad cummication

  43. communication 😇

  44. Wow, thank you so much, the example worths millions of words👍🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  45. 1 plus 1 is plus 2x = Plus Plus.

  46. Not everyone is willing to listen. Some people's perception filters don't allow for alternative perspectives.

  47. Lol!! Did you just assume her gender? 1:57

  48. Every single "conversation" in this video sounded like my windbag housemate, a dude who talks too damned much.

  49. Hey there's another Katherine just like me! 😀

  50. According to Robert Selman, a psychologist, in his 1975 work in the Journal of Moral Education, by adolescence, a person must realize that mutual roletaking does not always resolve disputes; there might be rival values that simply cannot be communicated away. Why is this not addressed in this clip? This is an important stumbling block to communication, along with psychological barriers.

  51. 3:13 LMFAO 😂😂😂😂😂

  52. How to avoid misscommunication

    1. passive hearing and active listening are not the same
    2. listen with your eyes, ears, and guts
    3.take time to understand as you try to be understood
    4. be aware of your own perceptional filters

  53. Communication plays a critical role in business. That is why as much as in a business setting mitigating causes of miscommunication is a must because it could have a fatal blow especially if it is a decision to be executed for the company.

  54. very very informative

  55. "Communication breakdown… it's always the same… I'm having a nervous breakdown, drive me insane!"

  56. I think it's also important to define our terms while we are talking about a certain subject to avoid miscommunication. If you talk and debate with a friend about freedom, you have a certain opinion about it and your friend have a different one, but you never seem to get along or to understand what the other means, the good questions to ask may be: what does freedom means to you? Do we have the same definition of it? Most of the time, our personal definitions may differ a bit, but it's enough to completely misunderstand the other. Defining words in the beginning of a conversation can save lots of time debating for nothing!

  57. Every one in the world needs to learn this lesson. Miscommunication is the thing that hinders our ability to coexist. Back here in my country India many people need to learn this to understand each others' perspectives.If every body does so I think that religious hatred can be minimized.

  58. no wonder I upset people so easily. I rarely look at them and in general give little feedback

  59. The non-verbal is so cute that I was finding it hard to focus on the words.

  60. @TED-Ed Here's an Italian translation (in subtitles format) for those who need it-

    Italiano

    0:06 Ti è mai capitato di parlare a un amico di un problema solo per realizzare
    0:09 che lui non sembra poter comprendere perchè la questione sia così importante per te?
    0:14 O di esporre ad un gruppo un'idea, che venga accolta con assoluta confusione.
    0:18 O, magari, durante un litigio,
    0:20 che l'altra persona ti accusi all'improvviso
    0:22 di non ascoltare nulla di quel che dice.
    0:26 Che cos'è che sta succedendo?
    0:27 La risposta è: cattiva comunicazione,
    0:30 e, in una forma o nell'altra,
    0:31 tutti l'abbiamo sperimentata.
    0:33 Può recare confusione,
    0:34 ostilità,
    0:35 malintesi,
    0:36 o, persino, portare alla distruzione di una sonda da milioni di dollari sulla superficie di Marte.
    0:41 Il fatto è che anche stando di fronte a un'altra persona,
    0:44 nella stessa stanza
    0:46 e parlando la stessa lingua,
    0:48 la comunicazione umana resta incredibilmente complessa.
    0:51 La buona notizia, però, è che una comprensione essenziale
    0:54 di ciò che accade quando comunichiamo
    0:56 può aiutarci a prevenire la cattiva comunicazione.
    0:59 Per decenni, i ricercatori si sono chiesti: "Cosa succede quando comunichiamo?"
    1:04 Un'interpretazione, chiamata modello trasmissivo,
    1:06 vede la comunicazione come un messaggio che viaggia direttamente da una persona all'altra,
    1:11 in modo simile a qualcuno che lanci una palla e se ne vada via
    1:15 Ma, in realtà,
    1:16 questo modello semplicistico non tiene conto della complessità della comunicazione.
    1:20 Ecco, però, il modello transazionale,
    1:22 che ammette che vi siano molte ulteriori difficoltà nel comunicare.
    1:26 Con questo modello, è più accurato pensare alla comunicazione tra persone
    1:30 come una serie di passaggi.
    1:32 Quando comunichiamo il nostro messaggio, riceviamo un riscontro dall'altra parte,
    1:36 Attraverso questo scambio, creiamo un significato assieme.
    1:39 Ma dallo scambio, sorgono anche ulteriori complicazioni.
    1:43 Non è come nell'Universo di Star Trek,
    1:45 in cui alcuni personaggi possono vulcanianamente unire le proprie menti,
    1:47 condividendo ogni pensiero e senzazione.
    1:49 In quanto esseri umani, non possiamo fare a meno di inviare e ricevere messaggi
    1:52 attraverso la lente della nostra soggettività.
    1:55 Quando comunichiamo, una persona esprime la sua interpretazione di un messaggio
    1:59 e la persona con cui sta comunicando
    2:01 percepisce la sua particolare interpretazione del messaggio.
    2:04 I nostri filtri percettivi modificano continuamente significati e interpretazioni.
    2:09 Ricordi la serie di passaggi?
    2:11 Immagina una palla d'argilla.
    2:13 Ogni volta che uno la tocca,
    2:15 la plasma secondo la forma delle sue particolari percezioni
    2:18 sulla base di un qualsiasi numero di variabili,
    2:20 come il sapere, o l'esperienza passata, l'età, l'etnia, il genere,
    2:25 l'etnicità, la religione, o il contesto familiare.
    2:28 Nello stesso momento, ogni persona interpreta il messaggio che riceve
    2:32 in base alla sua relazione con l'altra persona
    2:35 e iloro unico modo di intendere
    2:36 la semantica e le connotazioni delle singole parole che vengono usate.
    2:41 Potrebbero poi essere distratte da altri stimoli,
    2:44 come il traffico,
    2:45 o una pancia che brontola.
    2:47 Anche le emozioni potrebbero annebbiare il loro modo di intendere
    2:49 e, aggiungendo più persone alla conversazione,
    2:52 ognuna con le sue specifiche soggettività,
    2:54 la complessità della comunicazione crescerebbe esponenzialmente..
    2:58 Così, mentre la palla d'argilla va avanti e indietro da una persona all'altra,
    3:02 rimaneggiata, riformata, e sempre cangiante,
    3:06 non c'è da stupirsi se i nostri messaggi a volte si risolvono in una poltiglia comunicativa.
    3:11 Tuttavia, per fortuna, esistono semplici pratiche
    3:13 che possono aiutarci a governare la nostre interazioni giornaliere per comunicare meglio.
    3:18 La prima:
    3:19 riconoscere che l'ascolto passivo e quello attivo non sono la stessa cosa.
    3:24 Confrontati attivamente con i riscontri, verbali e non verbali, degli altri
    3:28 e aggiusta il tuo messaggio per raggiungere un'intesa migliore.
    3:32 La seconda:
    3:33 ascolta con gli occhi e con le orecchie ed anche con le tue viscere.
    3:37 Ricorda che la comunicazione non è fatta di sole parole.
    3:40 La terza:
    3:41 prendi tempo per capire, quando cerchi di farti capire:
    3:45 nella fretta di esprimerci,
    3:47 è facile dimenticare che la comunicazione è una strada a doppio senso.
    3:50 Apriti a ciò che l'altra persona potrebbe dire.
    3:52 E, infine, la quarta:
    3:54 Sii consapevole dei tuoi personali filtri percettivi.
    3:57 Elementi della tua esperienza,
    3:59 incluse la tua cultura, la tua comunità e la tua famiglia,
    4:01 influenzano come tu vedi il mondo.
    4:04 Dì: "Io vedo la questione in questi termini, ma tu come la vedi?"
    4:07 Non dare per scontato che la tua percezione sia la verità oggettiva.
    4:11 Ti aiuterà a porre le fondamenta per condividere un dialogo con gli altri
    4:14 e per giungere,, assieme, a un'intesa comune.

  61. I find this video terribly funny!

  62. Let's please not forget the significance of body language. Nice vid.

  63. I imagine communication as devices. Each person has a different receiver of words. And as we throw out our words, each person process them differently

  64. this is a weird object show

  65. i like how the ear is illustrated as a blind person, as it can only hear.

  66. I'm very to the point unless the person is too prickly and volatile, then I find I'm walking on eggshells to avoid confrontation.

  67. oh that's easy they happen cause I have Asperger's Syndrome

  68. it makes a lot of sense and it has been very helpful

  69. Hello fellow name sharer

  70. the animation was so good and funny that i lost track of what the narrator is saying !

  71. is distracted by the graphics therefore passive listening

  72. Thats a freacking eye 0:45

  73. Serves for school

  74. I like that video It is very interesting

  75. The red thing drinks matcha yeeeey 0:12.

  76. One of the best lessons by Ted-Ed.

  77. Good to reflect my own communication style. And it's the opportunity to be aware of my personal perceptional filters. Do not assume from your own perception and take time to understand as you try to be understood.

  78. “I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm.” – Calvin Coolidge

  79. This ignores that sometimes people are so individualistic, self-absorbed, and unable to think critically that they simply fail to understand any viewpoint that doesn‘t fit their own perceptions of the world. No amount of tips or even excuses can really justify „miscommunications“. Often times folks simply don‘t care or respect you enough to listen, and it takes social awareness and personal dignity to realize that

  80. なるほどなるほど

  81. The telepathy does not always…work.Hope I understood all that is meant to be communicated.Confusion..,taking toll…

  82. Miscommunication is an easy trap to fall into. It is even the basis for a theory of interstate conflict after the second gulf war so overcoming it is important.

    I struggle with understanding the point of view of people on social media who often speak indirectly. So sometimes I feel more comfortable communicating indirectly as well since talking directly to people who don't talk back can get creepy.  Unfortunately, indirect communication is even more likely to create misunderstanding.

    To communicate directly you need to meet the minimum threshold for a field that interests you whether that is sport, entertainment, or politics. That seems to be the unwritten rule. Until you get there, the chance of misunderstanding is unfortunately high. I don't know the answer except to keep trying to meet the minimum threshold so direct communication in a professional environment becomes possible.

    The only people I have made an effort to communicate with are people I like. However, creatively I have not yet met the threshold for direct communication unfortunately, and that is totally my responsibility.

  83. my one and only bestfriend leave me 🙁 she's the only one I have but she leaves me

  84. 自分用
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  85. And what if the other person refuse to talk honestly to you?

  86. This video uses needlessly complex language. Streamline and simplify to increase understanding.

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