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On Being Understood
July 15, 2002

"Whether you think you can or think you can't...either way, you're right." —Henry Ford


Robert Heller, in his pocket book, Communicating Clearly (New York: DK Publishing, 1998; www.dk.com), discusses the challenge of being understood...

"Delivering a message that may be misunderstood is all too easy. It may happen because you are not clear about what you want to say; or because your language is vague even though your objectives are clear; or because your body language very subtly contradicts your verbal message. Another reason why it may happen is that you are communicating with someone who has decided in advance what the message is —without listening to you and regardless of what you are actually trying to say.

"A useful way to avoid misinterpretation is to rehearse your message with an objective critic. Alternatively, get the recipients to repeat your message -- you can then use their feedback to try to correct any misapprehensions. Use positive body language to emphasize your verbal message."

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