Communicating With Technology In A Work Setting
In my most recent place of employment, I managed one other person in the office. When I had a few days off, the owner of the company and our store manager (her fiancé) came up to work alongside her. When I got back to work after my time off, I noticed that a majority of the every-day tasks did not get done, and the filing system was left in disarray. Since my owner and store manager were both working in Escanaba that day, I decided to call the owner. I initially asked her if it was very busy when I was gone (the sales numbers on the reports didn’t show that it was a busy day. ) When I was asked for the reason for my inquiry, I advised that a majority of the daily office duties were not done, and I needed to spend extra time that day organizing the files, as they were rather disorganized. I then asked what tasks my other office person had to do and whether there were any unfinished tasks that needed attention. This resulted in the owner becoming extremely defensive and in a stern and short tone told me they were very busy and some things just didn’t get done. I could tell by her tone that I should put the questions to rest. About 30-minutes later I received a text message from my store manager advising me that it was not my place to question what was done over the weekend and that sometimes thing just don’t get done and it’s not up to me to be judgmental. This text message resulted in me feeling attacked, but rather than arguing, I just replied that I would rather have this conversation in person. Due to the narrow bandwidth, my inquiry was interpreted incorrectly, and the response changed the tone of the conversation. I think this entire discussion could have been far more successful had it been done in a private in-person meeting (broader bandwidth) between myself, the owner, and the store manager.
For much of my adult life, I have worked at places that relied heavily on webinars and virtual training. When I worked for a company called Convergys, we used webinar training 100%, since everyone worked in a virtual environment (from home). I don’t think that the communication technology greatly affected the propinquity between the communicator (trainer) and myself. He was very thorough in his training, and he opened the floor, per se, for questions from the trainees. I believe that in a virtual training environment, people need to adapt to the technologies available to get the job done. There was very little interference, and the messages were clearly sent and received. However, there was an instance where I felt using webinar technology definitely greatly affected the propinquity between myself and the communicator. When I worked for TEAM Wireless as an Operations Analyst, the management team held weekly webinar/conference calls. These calls occurred during the middle of an already busy workday for everyone. Some of the store managers only listened to the call on mute, while continuing their daily tasks within their store. Some of the district managers also only listened to the call on mute, as they were driving between stores. Those of us that worked in the corporate office and participated on the calls used the webinar portion because we had data to share with the management team. However, when people weren’t fully engaged in the call, the messages were not communicated properly. Unfortunately, this led to extra emails, group chats, and texts being sent because major points were missed from the call. Everything was regurgitated across those other mediums of communication.
In order to communicate with ease, we must be able to feel connected to each other. We must experience mutual commitment to joint undertakings, and we must gain each other’s attention. Our text states “a sensitive message is one that evokes an emotional reaction from the receiver. ” When trying to relay a sensitive message, there should be a personal presence. By using a medium with a wide bandwidth, the message can be transmitted using all five sensory channels. This will reduce the chances of the message being misunderstood. Using a wide bandwidth medium will also increase the closeness between the participants, while leaving room for immediate feedback. A manager might be tempted to use a narrow-bandwidth medium if she has to send out a memo or announcement to several people across various channels within the company and wants to reduce and control the chances of rumors generating. Unfortunately, in my past work experiences, I have known former managers to send a text or an email informing an employee that they were terminated. They used the narrow bandwidth medium to avoid verbal conflict. While I did not agree with the process, it’s something that happens far too often these days.