Barriers to Communication – Why Communication Fails

Isn’t it frustrating when you tell something to someone, or email them about something, and they didn’t understand, or they don’t remember?

A barrier to communication appeared, and your communication failed. You told them, but they didn’t get the message or didn’t process it or take action on it the way you wanted.

When we speak or write, communicate, our message, what we are saying or meaning to say is not what is heard or understood. When you listen to someone talking or read what they are writing, you don’t necessary hear or read exactly what they meant.

The reason is that we all have filters in place – Kind of like a strainer that separates water from spaghetti noodles or a water filter that filters out all the particles we don’t want to drink. Our filters interpret the messages that we are receiving. This is true for the people we are communicating with as well.

All communication is filtered through past experiences, frustrations, and perceptions of the people communicating. On top of that what’s going on around you and the person you are talking with impacts how the message is received and what the message is received.

These filters act as barriers to communication. Some of the filters or barriers that can impact how your message is received and processed include:

  • workload
  • physical aches and pains
  • tiredness
  • distractions
  • family
  • culture
  • verbal and non-verbal cues, like tone of voice and body language

For example, it’s obvious that if you are trying to have a private conversation at a rock concert, that the noise is going to be a barrier. Well that same affect is true if the other person has a lot happening in their world at the time, or if they are tired or hurting, or if they come from a completely different culture than you do.

The words we use, and how we say them also make a difference in our communications. The way we are communicating certain words hold very different means. Take the phrase “I hate you”. Said in anger it is hurtful and inappropriate. But said in jest and with a smile, it is fun and a tease. So your tone of voice and body language give the meaning to the words.

In email, you lose the benefit of body language and tone of voice, so the other person has to completely run what you are saying through their filters and experiences to try to understand what you mean. Email leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation.

What I’m writing to you in this article is going your own filters – your past experiences, frustrations, and perceptions. And how you interpret what you just read just went your own filters. The same goes with every bit of communication you have with others.

By being aware of these barriers to communication or filters, you are less like to have your communication fail. If you consider the barriers that can arise and adjust your message for them, you are the road to effective communication with those around you.

Radioactive Iodine Treatment and Your Immune System

I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in March of 2008. I was only 27 years old at the time, and in complete shock. I decided to get checked on a whim because my older sister was diagnosed the previous year (even though papillary thyroid cancer isn’t always hereditary). I had absolutely no symptoms and I was told that it was caught very early. My surgery for the removal of my thyroid was scheduled immediately. I was informed that I would have to undergo radioactive iodine treatment shortly after my surgery in order to destroy any thyroid tissue left behind. This is a routine procedure following a thyroidectomy (an operation that involves the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland).

Approximately four months after your radioactive iodine treatment your doctor will order a blood test to calculate your thyroglobulin level. Small amounts of thyroglobulin are normal in those with normal thyroid function.

Thyroglobulin levels should be undetectable or very low after the surgical removal of the thyroid (thyroidectomy) and/or after subsequent radioactive iodine treatments. If levels are still detectable, there may be normal or cancerous thyroid tissue remaining in the person’s body, indicating the need for additional treatment.

In most cases, the patient is only required to undergo radioactive thyroid treatment one time following the thyroidectomy. But, here I am, two years later completing my third round of radioactive iodine treatment. My thyroglobulin level was still at 14. My doctor wants me to be under 1. The radioactive iodine treatment itself isn’t very difficult. My doctor educated me on what to expect before (low iodine diet) and during my short hospital stay for treatment. What I wasn’t informed about was the effects that the treatment would have on my immune system in the coming months.

Following my first two radioactive iodine treatments I was constantly sick. It ranged from the common cold to pneumonia (pneumonia is NOT fun). I was spending hundreds of dollars a month on primary care doctor visits, and prescription medications. I was also losing money because of my constant absence at work. I would only feel “healthy” a couple of weeks at a time here and there.

This went on for about 7 to 9 months following my first radioactive iodine treatment. I was finally getting back to my old self again to find that I had to do a second treatment the anniversary month of my surgery. Then the “sickness cycle” began all over again. I tried so many different immune boosters after my second treatment but nothing worked.

Finally, just after my third round of treatment this past January, I found something that worked. AND it was an all natural product which was the best part. It’s been four months since my third (and hopefully final) radioactive iodine treatment and I haven’t had so much as a sniffle! I can not believe how much better I have felt these past four months compared to the past two years! I am writing to share my experience with others in hopes that I may help in some way. Click on my link below for more information on how to boost your immune system for those tough times ahead. I’ll also share with you two low iodine recipes that I wouldn’t have made it through with out!!

The Role of Internet in Business

The internet plays a major role in every aspect of our modern life. Internet technologies play a major role in business. As a business owner, knowing the role of internet in business will help you take advantage of the powerful opportunities it offers to grow you business and make operations more effective.

Here are different ways in which the internet has contributed to the success and growth of businesses.

Communication: The internet makes communication fast and cost efficient. Businesses use internet technologies such as Skype internet and video calls, email and video conferencing to make communication virtually instant.

Growth: The internet plays a big role in the growth of businesses. It gives businesses an opportunity to reach a wider global audience. Promoting through the internet is also a way to increase sales and reach the desired growth level. Business can also expand by having an online division.

Marketing: One of the role of internet in business involves marketing and advertising. Most businesses are taking advantage of the internet to market their products and services to a global audience. The most notable internet technologies here include search engines such as Google.

Networking and Recruiting: Social networking websites play a role in business networking by connecting like-minded professionals. Through the internet, people have found business partners and great employees.

Outsourcing services:The internet has helped cut costs by outsourcing services to countries where it is cheaper to provide these services. Apart from the cost reduction through the outsourcing role of internet in business, outsourcing enables businesses to concentrate on their core services and become more efficient.

Online Shopping Role: One role of internet in business is the birth of ecommerce websites and online payment solutions that allow people to shop online from the comfort of their own homes.

New Opportunities: The internet has opened up new business opportunities and giving rise to a group of successful online business owners. This is a powerful role as anyone can now start an online business.

The role of internet in business cannot be overstated. New businesses are taking advantage of the powerful role the internet plays in business to grow and succeed at a faster rate than was previously possible. Traditional businesses are also not being left behind as they are creating online divisions. A business owner can only ignore the role the internet plays in business at the peril of his or her business.

Service Industry Lean Manufacturing – Implementation Guide

Non-manufacturing industries have not embraced lean manufacturing to the same extent as those producing a product. Some service industries have found the same principles apply, although the use of lean manufacturing tools is different.

For example, a value added analysis is just as easily conducted with a worker talking on the telephone as someone using one.

The 5S tool can be used to organize the surroundings in the telemarketing office. All materials the telemarketer uses should be organized and within reach without having leave the area. This 5S organization enables the telemarketer to continuously utilize any material in front of them as well as keep an eye on a computer.

The same SMED tools can be used with a administrative assistant as a machine operator. The process map and movement will show the waste in each. The assistant’s travel shows the motion waste. The waiting waste is often huge in any white collar or service job. For example, the waste from waiting on a colleague, manager, supplier, or anyone else can be eliminated. There are ways to minimize it by removing the root cause as well as finding activities to fill the time. These activities should be of short duration, such as data entry, filing, or printing.

Line balancing is easy in a service environment. The key is flexibility. For example, two tellers at a bank may be required 6 out of 8 hours per day, but the trained lean expert or industrial engineer is required to notice it. The additional two hours of waste comes in buckets of 1-2 minutes throughout the day. Again, this time must be filled with value added activities in a standard work format. If the job isn’t standardized, the two individuals may absorb the time and appear 100% busy. There are many other instances where job combinations are obvious.

The value stream map is an excellent tool for service industries. Rather than the traditional macro level view of the system, the value stream map can be used in a department or area of the business. An example would be the service desk at a department store. Begin with the information flow and trigger for activity, which might be a customer. Break the map into various segments showing the few activities that comprise 90% of the work, such as returned goods, request for information, or complaints. Standardized Operations should be utilized for returned goods to minimize motion and waiting, such as a decision flow diagram. If the manager is called a large percentage of the time, the decision flow diagram needs improved. Obviously the 5S and SMED tools are also relevant, as well as root cause problem solving to eliminate the complaints.

Service industries often use kanbans without knowing it, such as ordering supplies. The same pull systems can be used in service industries as the manufacturing sector. The supply distribution center is one obvious example. Inventory waste can be eliminated using pull systems beginning with the end downstream customer.

When implementing lean manufacturing in a service industry, it is important to tailor the training to the business. Most SMED (single minute exchange of die) training is developed using examples of setup activities for equipment. It is easier for people to understand and see the waste in their processes when the training has obvious applicability.

One of the best long term lean manufacturing tools to apply in a service industry is the kaizen event. Kaizen means “incremental improvement” in Japanese. The kaizen team is comprised of a cross functional team developed to quickly and substantially improve a business issue. For example, a kaizen might be developed to reduce hospital check in time for testing. The team might include the individuals conducting the check-in, a nurse, manager, an IT representative, and a couple customers. If the average check in time is 35 minutes (the elapsed time from walking into the building until seated in a private room), the kaizen objective might be to reduce the check in time to 20 minutes within 5 days.

Cellular manufacturing can be used in many service businesses. Rather than placing individual pieces of equipment such as the postage meter, copier, fax, and file drawer throughout the area for everyone to use (and wait on), consider placing these items together in a U shaped cell to minimize movement.

The “One Piece Flow” concept is a great tool for processing items such as quotes, bills, or mail pieces. For example, if four people must review a quote, and the first person processes 500 prior to moving to the second individual, and so on, the cycle time is going to be very long. Also, if the fourth person notices a mistake the other three missed, all 500 are bad and much labor was spent unnecessarily. Moving the piece in a flow of “one” or in small batches minimizes the error cost and reduces cycle time.

Service industries have a terrific opportunity to reduce waste. Sometimes it is simple and obvious, while other times it takes the same creativity as in the factory.