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Communication barrier with a French shopkeeper

Questions:

1.Describe any situation in your experience where the communication was a failure. Analyse the barriers which stood in the way of successful communication. Explain how you would overcome the barriers.

2.Suppose you work in a service providing company. Your boss has asked you to call a meeting of the members of the sales group to discuss the launch of new product in the service list of the company. What kind of meeting would be required? Prepare a comprehensive agenda for the participants of the meeting.

3.Discuss three specific situations at the workplace where positive non-verbal communication could be used effectively to enhance verbal communication.

4.Lateral or horizontal communication is more important today than vertical communication. Do you agree or disagree? Justify your answer.

5.Critically assess the following scenario and answer the questions:


Josh in the Accounting Department tells you that he heard from a reliable source that 15 percent of the staff will be fired within 120 days. You would love to share this juicy news with other department members, for their own defense and planning. Should you? Why or why not?

1.In my personal experience, when communication proved to be a failure was recently with a French shopkeeper. I would like to mention a situation; I wanted to purchase a dress from this French boutique in the nearby mall for my birthday. The dress collections were very trendy and fashionable as per my preference but the shopkeeper was too rude to communicate and would often roll his eyes or make some offensive gesture. On asking to show few more collection with reasonable price the shopkeeper would start muttering something in French that I was unable to comprehend and eventually I had to leave the shop without my dream dress. The entire communication process proved to be unsuccessful due to the following barriers:

  • Linguistic barrier was the vital reason in the given situation for the failure of communication as language differences made the communication more difficult in understanding the unfamiliar accent.
  • Lack of interest- was also another reason for communication failure as the shopkeeper was inattentive and unenthusiastic that further led the communication in vain.
  • Improper feedback - the shopkeeper would roll his eyes more often assumed that he knows all about the customer choice and preference. This unclear assumption resulted in the failure of communication due to failure of communication.


The barriers could be overcome, if the shopkeeper uses the following techniques:

  • Active listening- listening carefully and attentively is the main reason for effective communication (Knapp, Vangelisti & Caughlin, 2014). The shopkeeper was not paying any attention that further led to miscommunication.
  • Providing feedback- for effective communication, one should provide adequate feedback but it was missing from the shopkeeper’s side

2.Communicating in meeting is vital part of effective communication, if there is any misunderstanding it would lead to failure in accomplishing the objectives of the meeting (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). For launching of a new product in the company, the meeting should be planned effectively.

  • Planning the meeting: The meeting should be planned in advance and the objectives should be well accomplished by outlining the main objective of the meeting. The agenda of the meeting should be planned beforehand to make the meeting successful.
  • Announcing the meeting: After planning and before beginning the meeting the participants should be given a message to be ready for the meeting, which is launching of a new product.
  • Conducting the meeting: The participant should be punctual so that the meeting should be conducted on time. The objective for the meeting should be made clear to the member at the beginning
  • Involving the participants: The participants should be given notes and handouts and encouraged for new ideas.
  • Asking for feedback: The participants should be asked for feedback on the issue and effectiveness of the meeting.
  • Evaluating the meeting: The meeting conducted should be assessed further to know whether the objectives criteria is well met or not.


In the recent times, businesses generally focus on success and profitability, but it is also important to train the employees on being ethical. To achieve the organizational goals and survive in the long run, effective communication and proper planning is vital. Ethical training in the organization would also help in building a strong team and fostering professionalism among the employees.

3.Non verbal communication in a workplace plays a crucial role in creating a positive impact. The body language creates a long-lasting impact on the receiver and the message can just be complemented or contradicted by the facial expression more clearly (Mehrabian, 1972). The situations where positive non-verbal communication can be effectively used to enhance the verbal communication are as follows:

  • Kinesics- this is the most important aspect of non-verbal communication that refers to the any kinds of body movements that expresses the inner turmoil of emotions, like the gestures in the form of movement of hands while giving presentation or lectures that indicates a high level of involvement in what the people are saying. Eye movement is important to convey the feeling of excitement, surprise or even fear (Burgoon, Guerrero & Floyd, 2016). Head movements like nodding helps in conveying appreciation or interest for the matter.
  • Time language- this shows the importance or meaning attached to the time and generally varies between different individuals. We normally convey our message to the other person by showing the importance we give to time. For example, arriving early at work or for job interview displays the seriousness, involvement and interest of the individual.
  • Physical context- the physical surrounding or the environment in which the communication is placed is also very vital to enhance the communication. For example, colors, designs or layout used in the workplace conveys formality, informality and status (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015). Using right colors can make right impression by enhancing positive vibes in the workplace.


4.In the current scenario, lateral or horizontal communication is more important than the vertical communication. Vertical communication is the flow of communication from superior to subordinate and vice-versa in the organization (Casmir, 2013). This kind of communication often leads to the hanging down of decisions by the superior. In upward communication, the higher level employees often adopt authoritarian approach by disregarding subordinate’s opinion and merely give instruction. While in downward communication the superiors more often burdens the subordinates by giving too many instructions that further lead to confusion in the organization. Whereas, horizontal communication also known as lateral communication generally takes place in the same department between co-workers or with the same level of co-workers from different departments. Like the communication between Advertising Managers and Sales Manager in the Marketing department.

Horizontal communication helps in providing coordination of tasks, sharing information regarding the goals of organization. It helps in resolving interpersonal or official problems and helps in building rapport. The major potential benefit of lateral or horizontal communication is that teamwork is created within the organization (Broadbent, 2013). All the co-workers perform their duties together in achieving the common goals within the interests of the organization. It helps in reducing conflicts and misunderstanding within the organization through discussion and face to face conversation. It fosters an environment of teamwork, cooperation and team spirit (Kurtz, Silverman & Draper 2016). In the existing complex business scenario, efficient functioning of the successful business organization depends mostly on effective horizontal communication. This further helps in bringing dynamism in efficiently performing the organizational activities.


5.In the current scenario, the living standard is very fast and the work ethics is highly crucial to for achieving success. I would not love to share the juicy news with other departments after hearing it from Josh. Good work ethics is essential for an organization to be successful in future. Workplace ethics leads to satisfied and happy employees.  To create a better working environment and maintain discipline it is important to have good ethics in the business.

If employees get a clear idea of their task and performances in the business then various conflicts, issues and misunderstanding would never arise in the workplace.  Employees should develop feeling of loyalty, commitment or attachment towards the organization (Samovar, 2015). It is improper to pass out the confidential information of the organization to gain popularity. Employee’s ethics not bind an individual but make them into an indispensable employee. Being a loyal employee of the company, it is improper for me to indulge in nasty politics, gossiping or criticizing any fellow co-workers.  Employee ethics is important as it motivates employees to follow the rules and policies and work with the organization. The employees with good work ethics seldom think of gossiping or sharing confidential information with competitors (Hirst, Harrison & Mazepa, 2014). Moreover, their energies are used in productive activities that would benefit in the growth of business organization.

References:

Broadbent, D.E., (2013). Perception and communication. Elsevier.

Burgoon, J.K., Guerrero, L.K. & Floyd, K., (2016). Nonverbal communication. Routledge.

Casmir, F.L. ed., (2013). Ethics in intercultural and international communication. Routledge.

Ferrell, O.C. & Fraedrich, J., (2015). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Nelson Education.

Hirst, M., Harrison, J. & Mazepa, P., (2014). Communication and new media: From broadcast to narrowcast. Oxford University Press.

Knapp, M.L., Vangelisti, A.L. & Caughlin, J.P., (2014). Interpersonal communication & human relationships. Pearson Higher Ed.

Kurtz, S., Silverman, J. & Draper, J., (2016). Teaching and learning communication skills in medicine. CRC press.

Mehrabian, A., (1972). Nonverbal communication. Transaction Publishers.

Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., McDaniel, E.R. & Roy, C.S., (2015). Communication between cultures. Nelson Education.

Shockley-Zalabak, P., (2014). Fundamentals of organizational communication. Pearson.

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