Homonyms and near-homonyms are ever a problem in communication. Whether speaking 1on1, in a meeting or to an audience. They are the way that others receive and interpret your message, not what you intended to say. I love this example shared in Calvin Millers book the Empowered Communicator,
An old farmer told the sad tale of his failing marriage to a divorce counselor.
"My wife wants a divorce."
"Does she have grounds?" asked the counselor.
"Yep! ''bout twenty acres," answered the farmer.
"No, no, no, I mean does she have a real suit?"
"Yep, a couple of them; she wears one during the week, the 'tother on Sunday."
"No...I mean does she have a case?"
"Sure she does. I gave her a little black case last Christmas."
Finally in sheer frustration the counselor asked forthrightly, "What seems to be the problem in your marriage?"
"Well, the woman says we can't communicate."
Now this is an extreme example but you get the point. Has this ever happen to you at work, friends, your spouse or kids? How do you know if others are receiving your message clearly and with your intent? YOUR ASK! Keep a listening ear this week for homonyms you or others say. Never assume, always ask for clarity.