When talking to people about communication in professional or private lives, I see two distinct categories of miscommunication that take place.
One is in the area of what wasn't said. For example, many, many moons ago (before my sweet Dave came along), I had a boyfriend who was a man of few words. We lived in different cities and, in trying to figure out when we might next get together, he said something like, "It's too soon." I took that to mean, "Any time you suggest would be too soon to get together" when I later found out he meant, "It's too soon for me to know what my plans will be in two weeks". The problem was (well, let's be honest----there might have been more problems than this, but I am keeping the focus) those too-few words left a lot of room for interpretation, interpretation that turned negative pretty quickly.
How does this manifest itself in a work environment? As an example, a supervisor might say to an employee, "I will check" or "We'll see..." in response to a request for information, and the employee is left to wonder, "Ok, but when can I expect you will get back with me?" Don Gaetz, who was first the superintendent who hired me as a principal in Florida and later went to become a Florida senator (and who is now President of the Senate) told me once, "Tell it all. Get it all out there----it leaves less room for misunderstanding". So true...
Another area of miscommunication is simply words that were misunderstood. My father found out he might be able to collect on a life insurance policy. He was happy to think he might be getting $4000 but when I later spoke to the insurance lady, she said, "No, I said the policy was for a thousand dollars." See the problem? If not, say that last sentence outloud.
What we hear can sometimes simply be a problem of too much wax in our ears. But....it could also be an interpretation based on emotions that cloud our hearing.
Just for today, why not take the time to clarify your own communication, in your personal and professional life---to ensure effective communication?