Business Communication




Theimportance of communication cannot be gainsaid as far as theprofitability and sustainability of a business is concerned. Indeed,communication may be the single most important aspect in any businessas this is the only way that consumers would be tied to retailers,suppliers and manufacturers or producers. At the center ofcommunication is the capacity to send the message in a coherent andcomprehensible manner. This, nevertheless, is not always possibleespecially in instances where consumers and retailers do not have acommon language. This is the case in the video “Lost InTranslation”. In the video, it is noted that the captain of theship is trying to send the message to the watchtower pertaining totheir progress in the sea. In his words, he says “we are sinking”or rather the ship is sinking. This is supposed to send the messagethat the ship is in danger in which case a rescue crew should bedispatched within the shortest time possible. Unfortunately,individual at the watchtower or the radar is a German in which casethe word “sinking” does not ring alarm bells in his mind. In facthe thinks that the ship captain is saying “we are thinking”,where the word “thinking” is read as “sinking” in hisdialect. It goes without saying that the results would becatastrophic if the individual in the watchtower did not get themessage in time. While this was a scenario in the sea, the same caseapplies in instances where there is a communication breakdown inbusiness.


Thevideo is, undoubtedly, one that incorporates a strong messagepertaining to the place of communication in enhancing the smoothrunning of any business. It is scary to imagine what the end-resultfor the ship was. Of course, it is evident that the ship captain wasspeaking with a sense of urgency in the hope that the individuals atthe watchtower or the radar would send a dispatch team within theshortest time possible so as to save the lives and property. It isunfortunate that the message could not be passed across as a resultof the differences in the languages, dialects and interpretations ofthe two individuals. As much as it is scary, the message is quiteclear.


Whilethere is not much to be seen in the video, the variation incomprehension is, undoubtedly, quite vivid. It is noteworthy that theurgency in the ship captain’s voice is coming from desperation inthe fact that if help is not availed within the shortest timepossible, there will most likely be loss of lives and property. Inessence, such urgency would or rather should be met with a sense ofurgency from the watchtower or radar. Unfortunately, this is not thecase as the two are not communicating. The variation in comprehensionand urgency is quite vivid especially considering that theconsequences would be catastrophic if the individual at the radardoes not eventually realize the message being sent across.

Howthe Audience Decoded the Message

Decodinga message refers to the manner in which the receiver translates themessage. In instances where the message is appropriately interpretedwithin its own context as the sender sent it, it would be similar tothe encoded message. In the video provided, the message is notinterpreted and comprehended as sent, in which case it is not similarto the encoded message, which breeds the possibility formisinterpretation.

Itis evident that the audience or the individual in the watchtower isdecoding the message in a negotiated position, where there is a blendof rejecting and accepting some aspects. In this case, the audienceis acknowledging the dominant message but is unable to entirelycomprehend it in the manner in which the encoder intended. In thiscase, the individual is sharing the text code and accepting thepreferred meaning to some extent, but is also simultaneously andsubconsciously modifying and resisting it in a manner that isreflective of his own experiences. Scholars note that decodingmessages within negotiated positions incorporates a combination ofoppositional and adaptive aspects, where the legitimacy of thedominant definitions and interpretations is acknowledged to makegrand significations, while making their own ground rules at a moresituational or restricted level. This is the case for individual inthe watchtower. He understands that there is a message that the shipcaptain is sending across, but his interpretation of the concept of“sinking” is entirely foreign from what the encoder intended.

BusinessMessage in the Video

Thefundamental message in the video is primarily the danger ofineffective communication. As much as the video is acted, it isevident that the end result of ineffective communication is loss ofprofits and livelihoods. When applied in the context of businesses,when the message is lost, either in terms of context orinterpretation differences between the encoder and decoder, there isbound to be a loss of competitiveness and profitability of thebusiness both in the short-term and the long-term.

Modificationsof the Message

Withinthe context of this video, it is evident that the communication isineffective. Nevertheless, there could be some changes that would beeffected on the ways of communication to allow for enhancedcomprehension of the message. In this case, there should be somestandard terms, words or codes that are to be used by the ship crewfor particular situations (Ober,2008).As much as the message may appear clear to viewers of the video, itis evident that there is an element of ambiguity on the part of theencoder or sender of the message. Further, it would be better if thesender was a bit clearer and states that “the ship has a mechanicalproblem and is sinking into the water rather than simply stating thatthey are sinking.

ModificationsUsing AIDA Model

Modifyingthe message to the Coast Guard so as to ensure that theinterpretation is not lost would be imperative. This should be donewithout allowing for the loss of the message. The AIDA model has beenused by a large number of marketers in their communication so as toentice their prospects to take the desired action, which is usuallymaking a purchase. It involves grabbing the interest of the audience,sustaining its interest, creating the desire for the product orservice and persuading them to make the appropriate action (Ober,2008).In this case the message would be “The ship is going into thewater”, to which the audience would reply “Of course, it isalways in the water”, after which the captain would say “it issinking into the water”.

Conceptsof Communication

Communicationultimately involves the transmission of non-verbal and verbalmessages, where a sender, receiver and communication channel arepresent. Varied concepts have been crucial to the comprehension ofthe varied aspects of communication, a large number of which will beuseful in academic writing and even professional use in the future.In business communication the concept of encoder and how he or sheshould relay information would be crucial (Guffey&ampLoewy, 2010).Scholars note that the encoder initiates communication. In instanceswhere both good and bad news or simple and complex messages have tobe given, it is imperative that the good news or simple messages aregiven first (Means&ampRankin, 2010).

Inthe communication process, the importance of channel of communicationcannot be gainsaid. It is imperative that the channel is chosen inline with the immediacy of the message and feedback. Oralcommunication comes as the most appropriate in instances whereimmediate feedback is required (Lehman&ampDuFrene, 2011).Verbal channels are appropriate in instances where the receiver maynot comprehend or may be reluctant to act on the message.

Thethird concept is, essentially, the context of the message. Businesscommunication takes place within a particular context includingwhere, with whom, why, and when. Of particular context is thefunctional context or rather the purpose of communication, whichcould be decision-making, social, or even practical (Guffey&ampLoewy, 2013).As is the case in the video, the receiver of the message wascompletely lost in terms of the context. It is appalling that hethought that the context was social, where the captain would call soas to establish connections or enhance the social ties. This isessentially why the message was misinterpreted or lost.


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