Communication Currents

Practical Advice from Communication Experts

October 1, 2007
General Communication Studies

Managing Parent-Child Disagreement Constructively

Whether disagreements result in anger and hurt, or satisfaction and stimulation is largely a result of the way you communicate. So, how should a parent respond when a child does not clean his or her room when asked?Instead of attacking the child's self-concept with verbal aggression (“You little slob, why didn't you clean your room like I asked?”), attack the child's position with constructive argument (“Good parents deserve respect; when you don't do what I ask, it demonstrates lack of respect for me”).

Andrew Rancer, School of Communication, University of Akron

When is helping not helpful?

When should you help a person with a disability? (1) wait for the disabled person to ask for help, (2) make the offer to help general rather than assuming what the person with the disability needs (e.g., Let me know if you need anything? ”), and (3) listen to the potential recipient and honor his or her wishes in terms of when and how help is provided, if at all. Be sure to take “no” for an answer.

Dawn O. Braithwaite, Department of Communication Studies, University of Nebraska, and Nancy Brule, Department of Communication Studies, Bethel University

Close Relationships and Communication Technology

Want to have a closer relationship with someone? Then pick up the phone. Or send mail (electronic or otherwise). "Talk" on instant messenger. Plan a face-to-face visit. It doesn't so much matter which medium you choose if you use at least one---and more than one is even better.

Andrew Ledbetter, School of Communication Studies, Ohio University

Organizational effectiveness: Tact, Truth, and Power

The information managers receive from employees is often contaminated by power. Tainted information about what's happening may be tactful at the price of truth—a process which cripples an organization's effectiveness. Perhaps employees who lack tact but speak the harsh truth are the ones managers should listen to more often.

Ryan Bisel, Department of Communication Studies, University of Kansas

Listen Up

People take all sorts of classes to become better communicators. However, if you want to improve your communication, you really need to better develop just one skill – listening.

Eilene Wollslager, Communication Studies, Christopher Newport University

Know When to be Quiet in Customer Service

In a gym, a person who presumed he was powerful asked an employee to change the television station. The employee apologized while politely explaining she could not since the channels are pre-programmed. The client said something about that being a stupid policy. Rather than leaving it alone, the employee offered to give the client a comment card to fill--which of course angered the client. The advice: when faced with a situation that you can only explain but are powerless to change, recognize when it is best to provide the explanation and leave it alone.

Robert Whitbred, School of Communication, Cleveland State University