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Seb Anthony

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Information sources needed


I'm putting together a presentation on human communication, and miscommunication. I need a few bits of information. I'd be grateful if anyone can point me in the right direction. There are 2 areas I'm looking at:

1 - any figures or statistics on the amount of time wasted, business lost, cost etc etc when executives have to sort communication problems

2 - any examples, from the political or business world, where a communication has acheived the opposite result to the one intended.

I've already contacted ACAS, the Work Foundation, the CBI, and the Plain English campaign but if anyone has other sources of information I'd be grateful to know about them.

Thanks in anticipation
Kevin Marsdon

5 Responses

  1. 9/11 or Ratner
    Regarding your second area I’d think
    “Today would be a good day to bury any bad news” on September 11th might be quite apposite.

    Not quite in the same vein Gerald Ratner’s comment about selling “crap” had a very adverse effect on his own business and on the Quality Standard

  2. Information Sources
    There is a useful web site called businessballs which may be of use.

    Gary Kent

  3. Anecdotes
    Turkey, not Torquay

    “I told the staff at Paddington I wanted to go to Turkey. But, because of my pronunciation, they put me on a train to Torquay.”

    Japanese tourist explaining how she ended up in Devon.

    PowerPoint not power point

    A colleague was invited to speak at a conference and wanted to use PowerPoint. He phoned the conference organiser to request access to this, and was assured that it was available. On arrival he asked for PowerPoint and was shown the location of the power point!

    Finally, examples of ambiguous medical/nursing abbreviations
    FBC – full blood count or fluid balance chart
    P/T – part time, physiotherapist or patient
    OD – once daily or overdose
    HV – health visitor or home visit
    CHD – chronic heart disease, congenital heart disease or congenital hip dysplasia
    SC – subcutaneous or self caring
    DOA – date of admission or dead on arrival
    DNR – do not resuscitate or district nurse referral
    Px – patient or prescribed
    Dx – diagnosed or discharged
    BG – blood glucose or blood gas(es)
    BM – bone marrow or blood monitoring
    Ca – calcium or cancer or carcinoma
    CT – chemotherapy or CT scan
    MM – millimole or millimetre or malignant melanoma
    pH – hydrogen potential or past history
    PID – pelvic inflammatory disease or prolapsed intervertebral disc
    MS – multiple sclerosis or mitral stenosis
    NBM – nil by mouth or no bowel movement

  4. Where does time go?
    Used this data in a workshop:

    Where does time really go?

    Efficiency expert Michael Fortino offers the following dismal scenario for the average life lived in the United States. In your lifetime you will spend:

    7 years in the bathroom,
    6 years eating,
    5 years waiting in line,
    3 years in meetings,
    2 years playing telephone tag,
    8 months opening junk mail, and
    6 months sitting at red lights.

    You’ll get interrupted 73 times a day(!), take an hour of work home, read for pleasure less than five minutes, talk to your spouse for four minutes, exercise less than three minutes, and play with your kid for two minutes.



  5. Paradigms
    You might want to have a look at ‘Vernon God Little’ by D B C Pierre – it won the booker prize in either 93 or 94. It’s basically about how anything you say can be taken completely the wrong way – you might find some useful quotes or passages(and it’s a magic book anyway!)


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