One interesting game that I play to help people understand better is a fun form of Chinese whispers. I put noise cancelling headphones on them, and I then silently mouth a sentence to them. I give them as long as they can to understand or at least try to understand and guess the sentence that I am mouthing to them. You would be surprised at how many different vowels and words a single mouth movement would look like. You could try to mouth “you” and you would then hear 1,000 different words and sounds that they thought it could have been over the word “you”. That is the biggest and clearest example I show people to prove how easy it is to misunderstand someone.
I then ask them to be the one to mouth a sentence to me to prove how ridiculously easy it is to misunderstand on my side. Once they hear the many different words and versions of the sentence they asked me, they find it hilarious to think that someone could get a sentence so wrong. But the point of the exercise isn’t to have a few laughs and decide that misunderstanding is easy. The point of the exercise is to help the other participant improve their understanding by racking through a thought process that tries to dismantle the words that are being said.
One you are able to use your mind to break down everything it saw and thought it saw, you realise that communication is a thousand series of patterns. The different ways the mouth can move and the different expressions that are being shown in the face. The difference expressions of emotion all convey just a singular word or thought and teaching the break to break down that process is such a wonderful way to understand better.