Communication refers to the process in which information is exchanged between two or more people. It involves transmitting information and ideas from the sender to the receiver through a common system that includes signs, symbols, behaviours and feelings. Effective communication is completed when the receiver fully understands the content of the message, ideas or information for which the sender intended. Communication situations, therefore, refer to a unique exchange of information at a specific time and place and, in a unique activity, for example, an argument between two co-workers as a result of misunderstanding of the message among others (Blundel, 1998).
In an organization, many situations which may bring problems due to failed communication processes or misinterpretation of the messages. This creates confusion and tension and, hence, may lead to failure of an organization (Burnard, 1997). This paper points out some of the communication situations and how to improve those communication situations.
Julie, an employee at Sheraton Towers in the department of house keeping, has a responsibility of training new staff in general housekeeping skills. She met Anna, a new staff, who she was supposed to train on how to clean and maintain a mini bar in the guest rooms. Anna finds it hard to understand Julie’s Australian accent and pardoning her. When Julie gave Anna a task of cleaning the mini bar, she came back to find uncompleted work. This resulted in a nasty incident with Julie threatening to report to the manager as a result of miscommunication (Australian National Training Authority 2001). This communication situation is brought about by language barrier since Anna could understand Julie’s accent. This shows that language is a very important aspect in communication and also a determinant of effective communication. Language barrier can be improved by finding an alternative means of communication. In this case, Julie should have given Anna written instruction (Reece et al., 2010).
Damien, an employee at Sheraton, worked at the front desk. His duties were to welcome guests, giving them direction and assisting them in anything they wanted. He came to work with a pounding headache and was unable to assist Lisa, a guest at the hotel, who wished to be directed to Melbourne flower show. Damien did not listen to her request and, therefore, got annoyed as he gave Lisa a brochure on Melbourne and a map of the city without uttering a single word. Lisa then asked about the train to catch when Damien pointed to MET time table. Dissatisfied, Lisa confronted Damien who, in return, picked a ringing phone and turned his back on her. Lisa got annoyed and threatened to report to the authority.
This communication situation is caused by emotion problems. Damien fails to control his emotion and, instead, turns it against Lisa who also gets annoyed. It is good to be courteous always in order to have effective communication. This situation can be improved by Damien reporting his condition to the authority who sent a representative to take charge.
A situation where a doctor has to break bad news to the patient, and a case where a dentist has to break bad news to his patient require tactical communication skills. If a doctor does not plan on how to deliver the message, he may end up hurting the patient or causing emotion breakdown (Information Science Today 2001). Such communication situations are as a result of emotions. This situation shows that the way communication is carried out is very important. It is not easy to break bad news as it may cause many problems. In this case, the doctor needs to control his emotions and finds a way to pass the information to the patient (Newton & Fiske, 1999).
In a communication situation where a married couple has communicate issues, a wife, who had been left at home by her husband, suddenly fell ill in the afternoon and decided to rest. Her husband came home and found the house in a mess and the wife lying on the sofa. When he asked questions, the wife told him that she was not feeling well. The husband got annoyed and told her that she had been giving that kind of excuse everyday. This communication situation is brought about by emotions and attitude. If the wife would not have been doing that, probably, the husband would not take it seriously. Attitude is very crucial as it may be a barrier to effective communication. Negative attitude can be destructive to communication as well a relationship between people since it causes resistance of the message, hence, communication breakdown. It can, therefore, be improved by written communication (Krull, 2011).
The department of Veterans Affairs allowed some health care providers to have their patient data available immediately after Hurricane Katrina which had led to their destruction. The flow of information is from HIOs to public health but it was conceived that the HIO infrastructure enabled target communication from public health to HIO network users. This communication situation is semantics in which same words or statements are interpreted differently just like the electronic availability of clinical data. It is important to note that unexplained statements can break down communication especially when misinterpreted. However, it can be improved through proper details and explanations of the words or sentences.
In a situation where anonymous messages are sent or published, for example, Thomas Paine’s famous pamphlet, “Common sense”, which helped spark the American revolution, was originally published under the pseudonym “An Englishman”. The author of federalist papers relied on the pseudonym “publius” which means friends of people to veil their identity in order to succeed in rallying the adoption of the constitution. This communication situation may not be effective since the receiver may have a negative attitude towards anonymous messages and articles. Effective communication can be improved by acknowledging information from writers in order to appease the reader.
An absent mindedness situation. In March 2003, when I was at a Mathematics lesson, I was suddenly interrupted by my seat mate who asked me a question. The tutor noticed that I was not attentive and posed a question on me which I failed, hence, prompting him to punish me. This situation was caused by lack of a listening skill which is a barrier to effective communication. It is clear that listening determines effective communication and a good listener is one who receives information effectively. Listening skills can be improved by being focused as well as attentive when the message is being passed.
A situation where an employer angrily confronts an employee due to a mistake made. In June 2011, Rose, a friend who was working in a provincial hospital, made a mistake and gave a patient the wrong dosage. The dosage reacted severely with the patient causing loss of consciousness. The doctor confronted her furiously in front of the other patients. This communication situation is due to lack of concentration on work. Rose was not attentive and lost concentration, hence, giving the wrong dosage. This action may have caused the life of a patient, therefore, its important to always be attentive. It can be improved by being concentrated attention.
In December 2010, I was working in a networking company with my colleagues. One of my colleagues always wanted to dictate to me what I should do. I knew how to do my task but, unfortunately, I confronted him furiously. This situation created tension between us as I had a negative attitude towards him. It means that dictatorship can interfere with communication. It can, therefore, be improved by encouraging democracy.
In April 2007, an employee at Sheraton hotel received a Japanese guest who did not understand English. The communication failed, hence, the employee had to look for another person to help him. This situation is as result of language barrier. It is always important to learn many languages especially while working in public place where international guests are likely to come (Chris, 2011).
In February 2009, I was approached by a dumb person who was asking for direction. I failed to communicate with her since I did not understand sign languages. Language barrier is a hindrance to effective communication. It can be improved by learning different languages or through written communication. In March 2011, a business meeting was conducted near a music studio. At the end of the meeting, most people had no idea about what was discussed on the meeting. It is of the essence to note that noise is one of the barriers to effective communication. It can, therefore, be improved through avoiding noisy places (Barker, 2010).
Communication improves the links needed between players in a game as noted by Meyers (1977). Restrictive communication would lead to a loss, thus, it is a barrier to effective communication. Communication allows freedom and helps to avoid misunderstanding (Gonzalez-Aranguena, Manuel, Gomez 2011).
Effective communication is a very crucial aspect as it ensures that messages are received and well understood. In the situation mentioned above, communication situation may disrupt communication processes and create misunderstanding. In today’s business world, communication is the determinant of a successful business, hence, it is of the essence to ensure that all barriers to effective communication are eradicated. In addition, communication situations can lead to poor customer relations, hence, causing an organization to loose customers, for example, in a situation where a customer is dissatisfied by an employee or the management due to lack of efficient communication skills.
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