How miscommunication impacted the communication process
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication for humans for both fictional and nonfictional stories. In the professional world, stories are often used to share information with your coworkers and management. Effectively communicating a story in a professional environment requires you to know how to identify and assess the major elements of the communication process, the failures in the communication process, and the goals and purposes of communication.
You are the manager of a team of writers within a company of about 100 people. Your supervisor asks you to attend a meeting with the vice president to gather the vice president’s requirements for a new initiative while your supervisor is on vacation.
During the meeting, you take handwritten notes so as not to forget important information for your supervisor. Your method of note-taking involves jotting down individual words to remind yourself of the meeting’s major topics and writing down some of your immediate observations. Some observations in your notes include that the vice president doesn’t have the education needed to oversee the project and that highly technical terminology should be avoided. This means that your project communications will need to be written using plain language instead of technical jargon so that everyone can be on the same page. You intend to explain these points in further detail when you can talk to your supervisor.
After you attend the meeting with the vice president, you send an email meeting invitation to your supervisor for when they are back in the office. This email to your supervisor includes the proposed date and time of the meeting, the subject “Meeting to Discuss New Initiative,” and a single attachment containing a digital scan of your notes. Your supervisor accepts the meeting invitation a couple hours later with no additional comments.
Later, when your supervisor has returned, you begin the informational meeting by telling them the three items that the vice president wants to see by the next morning. Your supervisor is agitated when they hear this because they do not have the time to get all of these items completed by tomorrow. They ask why you did not tell them earlier that the vice president was expecting work to be done by the next day. You are frustrated because you thought you were doing your supervisor a favor by respecting their vacation time and saving this conversation for when they were back at work. On top of that, it makes you angry that you are getting in trouble after doing your supervisor a favor by attending this meeting, since interfacing with executives and gathering requirements is not part of your job description. You respond to your supervisor by saying “Didn’t you read my notes attached to the meeting email? All of this was listed in there.”
Your supervisor becomes even more upset, declaring that they did see the notes, but that they found them to be rude and unprofessional. Your supervisor then tells you that while the vice president doesn’t have a formal education on the project’s subject matter, they have worked at the organization for years and have significant work experience that makes them qualified to spearhead the new initiative. At this point, you try to explain the original intentions behind your notes and provide your supervisor some background information about the meeting, including why this initiative is important to the vice president, what the vice president’s vision is for the initiative, and how the vice president is willing to help make this initiative successful. Your supervisor is not interested in these details, however, and they declare that “the only thing that matters now is meeting the deadlines.”
Review the above scenario. Write a short response that addresses the following rubric criteria:
• Describe the communication goal and your rationale for why this is the goal.
• Describe the communication purpose and your rationale for why this is the purpose.
• Justify how communication theories could be applied to the scenario, and clearly identify specific theories in your explanation.
• Explain how miscommunication impacted the communication process and explain what could have been changed to alleviate the miscommunication.