Let’s (Not) Play Telephone!

Let’s (Not) Play Telephone!

The game of telephone is a simple way to exemplify the faults that typically happen when communication occurs at the workplace.

The game works like this: You start with a short phrase and whisper it to a series of people.

The phenomenal part of this occurs as the phrase passes from one person to the next. Not only one person, but multiple people add new meanings to the phrase until it grows into something entirely different from what the first person meant.

Let’s take a look at how a simple game of telephone can skew intra-office communication and lead to a very tense situation.

A Typical Game of Telephone at Work

Let’s take a look at a typical game of telephone at the office.

A business director informs the on-duty manager with the following information, “There will be a meeting tomorrow.”

The manager then tells one employee under him to slowly begin initiating a game of telephone. Each employee should pass the following information on to another employee.

The manager will convey the following information to the first employee, “A meeting will take place in the lunchroom tomorrow.” The manager has inferred the location of the meeting because it was in that room where he was first informed about a meeting.

After a few more employees pass the notification on, one employee might say this to the next, “The manager wants you to come to the meeting in the cafeteria tomorrow. You’re probably getting reprimanded.”

This puts the employee at ill ease and may complicate how they feel towards the manager, even though the manager has no plans for reprimanding anyone at this point.

As the information makes its way between the last two people to know about it, it’s likely that one person will say this to the last person, “The manager’s holding a meeting tomorrow to fire several people. The company’s probably not doing so well, since they have to fire people. We might get pay cuts next.”

You can quickly see how relying on a game of telephone can be disastrous. What started as an innocent notification turned into a message of foreboding after several employees added their own inferences into the mix.

How to Not Play Telephone

The solution for avoiding all the misinformation that naturally accompanies telephone is simple. Instead of trying to rely on verbal communication, choose something more reliable like notification boards, fliers and memo cards.

When you put something into print, your words will stay as crystal clear as you write them.

The challenge you may find with passing out written communication within your business is the fact that you simply don’t have the facilities to do so due to an unreliable printer. To keep all your office printing equipment ready for when you really need it, get in touch with Arizona Business Equipment and talk to them about their Tucson printer repair and copier leasing services.