Communication Process: Avoiding Misunderstanding Communication is not successful unless the receiver understands the message as the sender meant it.
Analyze the following examples of communication failures. What went wrong?
a. The editor of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News told his staff to “change the picture” of film icon James Dean, who had a cigarette dangling from his lips. The staff thought that the editor wanted the cigarette digitally removed from the picture, which they did. When published, the altered picture drew considerable criticism. The editor later explained that he had expected the staff to find a new picture.
b. Team leader Tyson said to team member Alicia, “I could really use your help in answering these customer inquiries.” Later Alicia was resentful when she found that he expected her to answer all the inquiries herself.
c. A supervisor issued the following announcement: “Effective immediately the charge for copying services in Repro will be raised 5 to 8 cents each.” Receivers scratched their heads.
d. A China Airways flight, operating in zero visibility, crashed into the side of a mountain shortly after takeoff. The pilot’s last words were “What does pull up mean?”
e. Skiers in an Austrian hotel saw the following sign in English: “Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.”
f. The following statements actually appeared in letters of application for an advertised job opening. One applicant wrote, “Enclosed is my résumé in response to Sunday’s New York Times.” Another wrote, “Enclosed is my résumé in response to my search for an editorial/creative position.” Still another wrote, “My experience in the production of newsletters, magazines, directories, and online data bases puts me head and shoulders above the crowd of applicants you have no doubtedly been inundated with.”