Chapter 15 - Communicating
KEY STUDENT QUESTIONS
Students want to know how they can communicate more effectively, and why communications often break
down (especially communications between employees and their managers.)
Frequently asked questions
“How can I reduce the potential of sending
messages that get
“Why do some people misread nonverbal communication?”
“What is the best way for me to communicate with my manager?”
“With more people doing business with foreign countries, what is the
best way to overcome barriers in communication, when their customs,
language, and ways of doing business are different than yours?”
Answers to Student Questions
To reduce the potential of sending messages that will be misinterpreted, the sender has to be aware
of the receiver before, during, and after the transmission of the message.
As the textbook points out,
there are four key steps to reducing misinterpretation: 1) Ensure that the receivers attend to the
message they are sending; 2) Consider the other party’s frame of reference and attempt to convey
the message from that perceptual viewpoint; 3) Take concrete steps to minimize perceptual errors
and improper signals in both sending and receiving; and 4) Send consistent messages.
People misread nonverbal communication because it is often part of a mixed message - the non-
verbal communication may be saying one thing, but the verbal communication is saying something
Also, people misread non-verbal communication because they don’t pay close attention
to it - for example, they may look and see that someone is smiling, but not notice that the smile is only
on the mouth - not in the eyes. Finally, ‘display rules’ for emotional expression vary by culture
that while people from difference cultures may express emotion in the same way physically (e.g., by
smiling), cultures vary about the amount of expression they will display in public.
The best way to communicate with your boss is the way he or she prefers.
Some bosses like to get
information verbally - others would prefer written communications.
Find out what your boss likes, and
communicate that way.
In addition, most bosses prefer regular updates to spur of the moment
So take the time to prepare a brief update every week or two, to keep the boss
current on your activities and projects.
While it is important to understand cultural differences, it is equally important to understand that
labeling a problem as ‘cultural’ can mask the real issue.
Consider, for example, the American
marketing executive who was having trouble with an Indian engineer.
She lived in New York, and he
lived in the Silicon Valley.
Finally, things got bad enough that the marketing executive flew to San
Jose, to thrash out her differences with the engineer face-to-face.
Within an hour they were laughing
and talking, and the marketing executive admitted, “It has nothing to do with his being from Indian -