Saturday, 25 August 2012

Breaking Down Why Effective Communication is Important to Avoid Communication Breakdown

An incident happened involving my job in New York. My hostel had no internet access so although I was aware of an appointment happening the next day, I could not check my email for updates on the time scheduled. Checking my email only in the morning at work, I realized I had missed it. I approached my boss to inform him of my plan to reschedule it immediately.
Various aspects of this incident illustrated how critical effective communication is in interactions. Firstly, we live in a world where being unconnected is not an option. With literally all information available on the internet, we are connected globally and everyone has access to all forms of knowledge.
Secondly, mistaken assumptions undermine communication. With that in mind, we should always apply a measure of conservativeness when making assumptions. The incident might have been avoidable if I had considered the possibility of the appointment taking place in the morning and made a phone call to be sure. The repercussions did not just involve missing an appointment but also included communicating an inappropriate impression. In a hurry to propose a solution, my follow up actions failed to consider corporate culture or communicate remorse.
Just one personal anecdote illustrated several examples of the need for effectiveness in communicating successfully, but the applications are limitless. Education is readily accessible but its how one communicates value in his degree that wins the job. According to Bergson, intellect is not presenting knowledge but presenting it in such a way that we may act on it. Long reports are becoming obsolete while conveying essential information efficiently is value-added. Personal regrets are usually attributed to ineffective communication be it ruining of plans due to unclear communication of schedules or missing once in a lifetime opportunities.
Better timed and planned communication allows for misunderstandings to be revealed early for rectification. Confidence is essential as opportunities favour the bold while egoism is detrimental to communication as it elicits barriers to message channels. It is also important to consciously communicate with oneself by learning and not repeating mistakes.



  1. In keeping with the topic, just a reminder to anyone from my class/blog group reading this to note that lessons are now at Utown TP SR2!

  2. Hi Renick! Rightly said, there are so many little instances in everyday life when we realize the importance of communicating effectively. In my case, I often find myself having a bit of inhibition in reaching out. That is a barrier I would like to cross at the end of this module. I guess I have not found the perfect reasoning to overcome this stop-log.

    See you in class :)

  3. Hi Concusfused! (Dhanya right?)Thanks for your comment.
    When you say reaching out, does it happen to have anything to do with community service? What I gather from your blog is that it seems to be one of your passions. Saving the world and all that.

  4. Hi Renick!
    After reading your blog post mine feels a bit like a diary written by a five year old.
    With that I want to say that you write very well! Maybe we can borrow you for our lecture that includes "writing business emails" this thursday :)

    I totally agree with you about the importance of conveying essential information efficiently.
    Have a good night!

    1. Hey Sofie! Thank you so much for your compliments, though I really think you should know that I have been following your blog since week 1 and using it as a model to learn from because its really interesting and well set up. I just read your post too and it feels like a diary written by a five year old with a maturity greater than many people my age. You really tackle ideas from angles that readers may not think of, so thanks for a wider perspective of things.
      I'm honored that you would like to borrow me and I would be more than glad to join you in conducting mutual absorption and enhancement.
      Keep in touch!

  5. Hi Renick! It is good for us to reflect on our mistakes and think of how we can prevent it if something similar happens in future. I like to read about personal experience as it allows me to think about how will I deal with it if I were to face with such situations. The impression you give me (based on what I see in class and in your post) is someone who has bee exposed to the outside world, such that your actions reflects your maturity that you have gained over the years. I look forward to seeing you in class, and learning more from you!

    1. Hi Jie Wei, I'm really humbled by your opinion that I seem matured, hope you would still stand by it once you get to know me more because people close to me tend to think that I grow old but never grow up.
      I have to admit that learning from my mistakes and ensuring I do not repeat them is still a work in progress for myself as I often find myself in the same corner thinking, "Not again!". So perhaps you can share with me more in future. I like the idea of reflecting someone else's experience upon yourself to tackle the issue.
      I look forward to interacting more with you to learn as well!

  6. I completely agree about having to be more careful now that many people rely on the web to get in touch. I think that things this has become so proliferate that we are now obliged to check each of our myriad social networking accounts and email addresses just to make sure that none of our contacts feel that they are being given the "haughty treatment".

    1. Hi Orange Juice, thank you for your comment, I have to apologize though that I could not source out your real name when I entered your profile and blog.
      Its interesting how you brought up that we are obligated to check out virtual spaces to prevent neglecting anyone because I am absolutely guilty of that. I have 4 email accounts which is a horrible idea, 2 of them have unread emails by the hundreds, and my facebook, twitter and linked in accounts have a million unaddressed items. Probably should start taking some management modules. Do let me know if i ever exhibit the haughty treatment... starting from now of course.

  7. Thanks, Renick, for this good effort. You do a fairly decent job moving from the personal anecdote about the workplace communication breakdown based on your lack of an Internet connection to a broader discussion of the importance of good comm skills. I also appreciate the "academic" tone that you set by using passive rather than active voice verbs.

    I have to admit though that I get a bit confused by the ambiguity in some of your sentences (see below). It seems to me that you need to aim for a bit more concrete expression.

    You also make some generalizations that seem far-fetched to me. For example, you make this statement: "Secondly, assumptions undermine communication." The way you have stated this makes it not necessarily true. Some assumptions are required for good communication. I assume in my review of your post that you are not copying from someone else and that you are truly interested in this topic. That allows me to give you the credibility needed for you to make a plausible argument.

    You also mention "The consequence was not about missing an appointment but communicating an inappropriate impression to the client." I feel that it would have been better if you had given more detail about this consequence in the paragraph where you actually outlined the breakdown.

    Now check out these areas of concern:

    1) Breaking down of why effective Communication is important to avoid Communication Breakdown >>> Breaking down why effective Communication is important to avoid Communication Breakdown (If I were going to capitalize the title, I'd do all the words except the prepositions.)

    2) The incident was obviously avoidable via a phone call to enquire. >>> This incident might have been avoidable if I had made a phone call.

    3) You write, "One incident showed several examples, but the applications are limitless." >>> Do you mean to say your story demonstrates several examples? And do you mean examples of a communication breakdown? The sentence is a bit vague.

    4) Better timed and planned communication allow... >>> Better timed and planned communication allowS....

    5) According to Bergson, intellect is not presenting knowledge but to present it such that we may act on them. >>> According to Bergson, intellect is not presenting knowledge but presenting it IN such that ... we may act on **them** (?). ..on it?

    In any case, I really appreciate your work and look forward to reading more from you.

  8. Hi Brad, thank you so much for your advice. It really pointed out to me significant violations of the 7 C's which I could not perceive myself, most notably being 'concise'. In trying to keep with the word limit I had constructed many short but vague sentences, omitting essential information. I will perform the necessary edits accordingly.

  9. Hi Renick! A number of the things you mentioned about communication are things we can relate to, like the part where you mentioned about being too quick in making assumptions. I realise that this can also be applied in our personal lives. For example, when a friend comes to me with a problem, I should not interrupt her midway of what she has to say because I assume that she is experiencing the same thing I did and then be quick to give her advice. This is because it is quite rude of me and not everyone’s experience is the same. Instead, I should be an active listener and let her finish. If I am not sure about certain parts, I should ask her questions to see whether I understood it correctly. After I have gotten the whole picture of her problem, only then can I fully understand her situation and give her advice (if the situation can still be salvaged) or comfort her. Though sometimes, there are so many steps (to communicate effectively) to remember, that we might overlook it. I guess the only way is to make a conscientious effort in learning from our mistakes.

  10. Hi Tasha, thanks for sharing your experience. What you have mentioned is something I find all too familiar as well. Very often I find myself regretting for the rest of the day yet I can't take back the things I've done. Having said that, I think at times it is really difficult to be perfect, given the quick pace of our lives and also events leading up to the incident. Thus it may be a situation that is here to stay. Guess all we can do is to try our best and keep improving. Good luck!

  11. Hi Renick,

    I chanced upon your blog and I thought you demonstrated lots of content and concreteness in your post. Great work on those areas!

    But to come now to the main topic, I felt as if your writing was forced. Let me try to show you how.

    Except for the first paragraph, the rest of the paragraphs' sentences could have been written in bullet points without sounding awkward when read. The effect I found every sentence you made was akin to music's staccato, wherein the musician will escalate the intensity, frequency and most importantly detachment of the beats so as to bring forth strong emotion in his audiences. If we compare the last feature with your writing in every sentence after the first paragraph, I find this same detachment because every beginning of the sentence was crafted with too much care. It is as if you are creating a topic sentence for every single sentence in every single paragraph, if you know what I mean by a topic sentence.

    I love to feel a writer's emotions if it were displayed well, but to do that requires that sentences and ideas were crafted which somehow flows naturally from one to the other, like streams of river water, without effort or appearance of effort.

    Nonetheless, these things aside, your professor Brad definitely wanted to see a good and solid writing effort from his students, even if blog writing is supposed to flow effortlessly and semi-informally.

    In any case, you have demonstrated the conventional and still fine way of effortful writing. I will hope that you will achieve your communication goals by the semester's end.

    Cheers! :)

  12. Hi Mark, I do agree with your criticism of my blog as you can infer from my reply to Brad. It was a huge mistake of mine to try to include as many details as I could within the word count, as a result it became a cluster of points rather than a flow. Thanks for your mentioning of topic sentence, it made my error clearer. It was like a content page.