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Communication in your Workplace

            Working in a department store exposes me to many different kinds of people. Here, lots of communication processes and exchanges occur every single day between female customers and employees, among employees, and between employees and officers. In these daily exchanges, I have noted that the effectiveness of communication lies in both sides of the communication process—the sender and the receiver. Thus, it is not enough to say that a message should be explained in detail and passed on cleverly to the listener. The message, surely, will be clear when the pass-on procedure is clear and well-executed. However, it will still prove futile if the listener or the receiver of the message is not effective.


            For instance, when one staff instructs the supplier to re-stock some stockings she also wrote down the instructions including the sizes, the colors, and the date for which the re-stocking should be finished. The date is a week earlier than the usual delivery request. The supplier got the sizes and the colors right, but they mistook the request for a later date and so the stocks did not come on time. It will be annoying to consider how much money the store lost with the

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stocks not refilled.

            What occurred is one case of listening. Listening is not always hearing information. The mere receiving of a fact is listening in itself. Listening is a critical part of the communication process as it is where half of the effective communication process lies[1]. As mentioned above, the sender of the message can come up with the most effective way to pass his message, but a poor recipient will break the chain.

            It is important for senders to make sure that their effective communication channels and means are perceived properly by the recipient. In the example, it might have helped if a representative of the store called the supplier to confirm the delivery. Even if the sender is sure that the message has been transferred properly, it is another responsibility to ensure that the message has been received properly. Otherwise, the communication process will not happen and even result into chaotic miscommunication.

            What happens in the brain is a factor to this miscommunication processes. In the example, the suppliers assumed that the delivery is as usual. Thus, they prepared the delivery as usual, including the usual date unaware of the changes that have been noted in the request. This assumption, however small, was able to negatively affect the normal operation of the store and so it should be assured that this will not happen again. Listeners should not pre-evaluate messages. They should wait for the whole message to be transmitted and consider how the sender wants it to be understood and not how the listener understands it at face value[2].

Values and beliefs

            Even among the personnel at the store, communication barriers occur. Even casual conversations may either lead to misunderstanding or worse heated arguments merely because of miscommunication. As an example, one staff told another how one of her client told her that she will never wear a certain clothing line because they are too expensive for the quality that they have. She said that the client called it a waste of money, and worn only by women who are pretending to be someone they are not. She was in the ladies room, and no customer can hear her in any way. The speaker was obviously referring to the client and was putting full focus on her likes and dislikes. The next day, she was issued a memo for speaking ill about products that are being sold in the store because customers do not need to hear them. Apparently, the manager overheard her story and was offended, not because she disgraced the brand but because the brand she was referring to was actually the manager’s favorite. The manager only used concern for her customers to mask the real offense.

            The manager also did not try to get the staff’s side before putting out a directed memo. For one, she thought that the message came from the staff. The staff, on the other hand, had no choice but to receive the letter. She would have wanted to explain that it was a story of one client, but figured it will never help.

            The manager’s belief that the message came from the staff has drastically affected another person. It even marks her corporate profile for a long time. The effects occurred without due recognition to the core of the message and what it truly meant. Again, it was an assumption. Again, it was destructive.

            Values and beliefs are detrimental to communication[3]. When a person considers her values and beliefs first rather than the message at hand, he will most likely conclude the message erroneously. The manager’s value of personal preferences and her beliefs that it should be respected overshadowed the meaning of the staff’s message. What was an otherwise interesting story resulted in a memo that hurt the innocent staff.

            The end of the listening process should be as effective as the beginning. Where the senders of messages are striving to effectively communicate their messages, the receivers should enforce the same efforts. This will ensure that the messages are delivered and received as accurately as possible, with less interference and fumble. Ensuring this efficient exchange of messages will benefit not only the people directly involved in the communication process, namely the sender and receiver, but all the other persons involved in it.


Grazier, P. (2003) Values and beliefs as barriers to team consensus. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from http://www.teambuildinginc.com/article_consensus.htm

Grognet, A. and Van Duzer, C. (2002) Listening skills in the workplace. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/27/ba/24.pdf

[1] Grognet and Van Duzer, 2002
[2] Grognet and Van Duzer, 2002
[3] Grazier, 2003

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