The Power of Miscommunication

The almighty “POWER OF COMMUNICATION” is something that has been drilled into me all my life- at school, in articles I’ve read, from what my parents have told me, and mostly, from putting it in to practise. How much better do we feel once we’ve expressed ourselves or let something off our chest? From making a great pitch, to sharing a problem (a problem shared is a problem halved indeed) – as Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal”.

I believe in the power of communication. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here in the Present.Me office doing my job. But today I’m going to play devils advocate by briefly discussing the power of miscommunication. Don’t worry, this is not a long and complicated thesis on great philosophers thoughts. This is more something to (hopefully) bring a smile to your face on a Wednesday afternoon.

The idea for this blog post came from something I saw posted on the Internet:

I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures. Also having read European Studies at University (which included studying two European languages), this really struck a cord. How many times have you said something when actually meaning quite the opposite?

Perhaps for you it was by accident, such as when JFK allegedly called himself a doughnut when addressing the crowds in a famous speech in Berlin. The story goes that he should have said “Ich bin Berliner” (“I am a citizen of Berlin”), and that in fact “Ich bin ein Berliner” really means “I am a jam doughnut.” Much to my own humiliation, I’ve made several of these mistakes throughout the years in my language classes. Luckily it was always to a much smaller crowd.

So how powerful is the power of miscommunication? In cases such as my own and JFK’s (I’m no germanophone so I don’t actually know if what he said was correct or incorrect- please do let me know if you speak German) we have a good laugh at someone’s expense and move on. However, when making a pitch or doing an important presentation in front of tons of people, it can be a make or break moment.

I’m not going to pretend that with a little thought you can always avoid being misunderstood. Nonetheless, one of the reasons the four founders of Present.Me created our fantastic tool for you, is to avoid making this mistake. Present.Me allows you to record your own video, in your own time, paired with some content if you wish. This is so that you can get it perfect before letting anyone else see it.

(This is not a pitch- for more info, please go to the home page.)

I would love to hear your opinions, so please give feedback. Whether it’s a funny story about how you’ve miscommunicated something in the past, or whether you just want to put the facts straight on the JFK story, let me know.

Have a good, clear week.

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