Three notes to myself, based on experiences and conversations about the things others do well.
One, to avoid misunderstandings, or disappointments based on misunderstandings, try to express your expectations explicitly. Less hints, more statements. Bonus points for social grace while doing so.
Two, after important interactions (meetings, finished projects, or anything really), ask how you could do better in the future. Some smart people I know have been doing this for awhile, and it makes a lot of sense. Takes the edge off things by pre-emptively inviting constructive criticism and helps, well, be a better person all ’round.
Three, ask more questions. If in doubt, and maybe even when not in doubt, ask. Is this what you meant? Why do you say that? How do you mean that? What is it that you’re trying to achieve with this? Asking open questions leads to knowledge, better understanding, and an overall better communication style. It also helps getting stuff done by avoiding doing unnecessary stuff. (Note: rhetoric questions and statements with a question mark in the end don’t count.) Assume less, ask more!
All these rules particularly hold true in digital communications, of course, where our messages are stripped of most social clues and misunderstandings are easily amplified.
Now, invoking rule #2 and #3: Are blogposts like this helpful or interesting for you? How could I have communicated these points more clearly?