Losses from communication breakdown are not fully understood or quantified much as those of a bridge collapse or floods. However the examples below should paint a picture for you, of the consequences of communication breakdown and why as you go through your career, you should put good communication skills as one of your top agendas.
Case 1: Loss USD 2mio
All in a coma,!
Company Z & Y had a contract which included supply of poles.
Company Z was set to supply company Y the poles for a period of 5 years and thereafter as per contract would either seek to remain or terminate the contract. However, company Y issued termination of the contract within the first two years of commencement of the contract. Company Z was aggrieved as it felt there was a breach of contract and went to court to seek legal redress. Company Y in its submission argued that the contract could have been terminated by either parties at any time but Company Z argued that the contract could only have been terminated after the first five years .The clause that was in contention read in part “the agreement shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date its made, and thereafter for a successive five year term, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party”. After the arguments which also included experts on the English language, the regulator ruled in favour of company Y as the second comma on the clause(……five year term, ) seemed to suggest that the contract could be revoked at any time by either parties with a one year prior notice as the only rider much to the consternation of company Z.
Company Z suffered losses of 2 million dollars due to the termination.
Case 2: Loss USD 8.8mio
What’s in a name but everything.
A government agency indicated the winding up of a company X and published the same in its gazette notice. It however mis-spelt the name of the company and unintentionally captured the name of another company with an almost similar name. The unintended company was forced into administration after orders were cancelled, contracts were lost and creditors came in. The company went on to sue the government agency for damages due to the listing and won. However ,the damage had been done and the company struggled to get back what it had built for a number of years.
Case 3: Loss not quantified.
97% of nurses who had applied for a post failed a language proficiency exam.The exam meant that they could not get the jobs applied for.Losses though not calculated could run into millions.
Most of us who have gone through a communication class rarely come face to face with the reality of why we need to be attentive in class.I have chosen to pick the examples to show cause and convince you as a reader why you should sit up when you get the chance to attend a communication webinar or class.
Allow us to share a common pictorial on the pitfalls of communication,when organizations are designing products for clients.The Tree swing project.
A customer walks into a contractor’s office and requests for the construction of a tree swing. The illustration below shows the possible pitfalls of miscommunication.
It is important as a communicator to be precise and avoid ambiguity in your communication.Consider your audience as much as possible.To improve your skills consider the mantra KISS-Keep it short and simple at all times.
These principles will help you consider your content before presenting.They are generally referred to as the 6C’s
Clarity: This encompasses the logical presentation of information so as to give the clear purpose of the information being communicated. Always avoid unnecessary jargon that may distort the information and follow the mantra KISS-Keep it short and simple at all times.
Completeness:-Information sought or conveyed should be complete and give absolute facts so as to elicit change. The information should also elicit required emotions. It should have no omissions and should be persuasive.
Conciseness:-Information should be as succinct as possible. Should be brief and avoid repetition.
Consideration:-Always consider the audience or receiver e.g. the age and the level of education, the language etc.
Correctness:-All information grammar, statistical information, formal spelling etc should be accurate at all times.
Courtesy:- Its important to observe decency in all your communication. Some words may be viewed to be discourteous and may lead to disinformation or may stir unwanted emotions.
This topic is as broad as you can imagine and our task was to show you that there could be considerable consequences brought about by poor communication .The next time you get a chance to be informed, please be attentive as it can mean your rise or collapse in an institution or organization.