Although there are several problems that can diminish the effectiveness of Interpersonal Communication Essay, some tactics can be used in order to minimize these failures in communication. A recent visit to a hotel sparked a perfect example of this communication opportunity between a patron and the hotel’s front desk employee.
First of all, the history of the confrontation between the patron and the hotel’s front desk employee was clouded with expectations and assumptions. For example, the patron made a reservation for a room by using the hotel chain’s national reservation center. This center, in turn, is obligated to give the information to the individual hotels so that the hotels can then honor the reservations accordingly.
Unfortunately in this example, the patron’s request and approval for a king bed was not relayed from the reservation center to the hotel. As a result, the hotel employee did not have the information that the patron assumed he had received. This assumption resulted in a breakdown in communication between the hotel employee and the patron, which then created hostility on the part of the patron and defensiveness on the part of the employee. The hostility felt by the patron was partly due to past experiences with hotel employees and the negative outcomes of those experiences (Pfeiffer 12). These past experiences created a situation where the patron did not really listen to what the employee was saying (Pfeiffer 13). Instead, he only heard that there was a problem ("just like there was last time").
The employee’s defensiveness was due to his assumption that this particular patron has the same problem that past patrons have had: The patron simply made a mistake with the reservation (DeVito 9). The employee also became defensive because of his rank in the situation and the status differences between a guest of a high-end hotel and a hotel employee (Pfeiffer 14). He knew that he needed to be absolutely correct or else the patron would be awarded a favorable outcome (;the customer is always right;), and this defensiveness did not allow him to fully and effectively listen (Pfeiffer 14). On the other hand, the patron’s assumption that the employee had received the information created unclear information. Had the patron clarified and qualified the correct information, the message would have been clear and the problem may have been solved much earlier. For instance, the patron could have simply explained to the employee the exact information that was given to him by the reservation center, which would have led to a clearer understanding on the part of the employee while minimizing the generalizations used in the conversation (DeVito 13).
There were several other conditions that contributed to the communication breakdown between the hotel employee and the patron. For instance, the hotel employee did not at first give his full attention to the conversation with the patron. By not fully attending the situation, the patron felt that he was being somewhat ignored or that his problem was not terribly important to the employee even though it was extremely important to the patron (Bolton 26). Moreover, had there existed more initial eye contact between the employee and the patron, positive feelings between the two could have been greatly increased (DeVito 124). After all, eye contact "expresses interest and a desire to listen" (Bolton 29). Without this eye contact, the patron likely felt that the employee had no desire to really listen.
In addition, the environment was not conducive towards effective communication. For example, the employee was forced to handle several phone calls, requests from other patrons, and interruptions from other employees during the confrontation with the patron. Because he was not acting like an effective listener, the employee did not attempt to minimize these environmental distractions (Bolton 30) and conveyed the message that the patron was not important enough to exclusively attend to. Moreover, the physical state of the patron and the employee could have contributed to the lack of effective communication. For one thing, the patron had just spent the day traveling while dealing with stresses such as bus schedules, parking, airplane rides, taxi drives, luggage, and more. These stresses could have led to a negative frame of mind and would have been "detrimental to communication" (Pfeiffer .