The Whispering Bridge between Proper Communication and Miscommunication

“Miscommunication is the number one cause of all problems; communication is your bridge to other people. Without it, there’s nothing. So when it’s damaged, you have to solve all these problems it creates.”

We did that this week. Set out to solve all those problems that were created as a result of miscommunication that happened during our continuous learning session. Wondering how that happened? Well, we played a game of Chinese Whisper. This was not the first time we were having Chinese Whisper as an activity – earlier, a few months back, we had another session that was all about actions 

It was Rajlaxmi who brought us this game that is also a fun activity. Our quiet, helpful and intelligent Senior Tester who is also an introvert decided to test us with this activity that covers the length and breadth of communication. 

Rajlaxmi’s main motive behind having the team play this game was to bring into the picture of how communication flows into an organization. She wanted to follow the entire cycle of communication – how it enters, how it is passed on to team members, and how it goes out as the product that is delivered to the client.

She also wanted to showcase the repercussions that would come in from miscommunications – the disaster it could unleash. So if you don’t listen carefully or are not paying attention, then the product suffers.

Coming back to the game – it was a regular game of Chinese Whisper that was played with teams instead of individuals. So one team acted as a client, the next one donned the mantle of a Customer Success Team, another one as the Testing Team and yet another as the Development Team. So the game progressed through a chain of these teams.

As always in a game of Chinese Whisper, there was laughter and fun all around as the mistakes were made, communication and messages were refined and simplified. Slowly and gradually, a word here, a sentence there, meaning at another place, miscommunication crept in and started creating problems at the product delivery end.

Because it was a game, it was fun and hilarious as the words got twisted as it passed on. But what the game tried to convey was wisdom beyond years and experience. By the time the session ended, we had our fill of laughter but were hungry for the lessons everybody learned at the session (we absolutely love this part of our continuous learning session). Here we go.

Shubham described the fun and issues that happened during the session. He recounted that at one stage even the language changed due to miscommunication. He emphasized that proper communication was indeed important.

Lakshmi said that both the listener and the person conveying the information have to be careful as if the communication is not good, things can go haywire.

Sakshi believed that no matter what the requirement, sometimes miscommunication happens. It would be better to ask the client once before delivering what the requirement was, and then discuss it with the team before product delivery.

Humza enjoyed the activity. One way to overcome the miscommunication problem would be to make it to and fro (but Rajlaxmi was clever, she made a rule that communication can only be a one-way street in this activity)

Hamza noticed that all developers are on the same page and felt that communication between teams needed improvement.

Avinash went a step further to explain the entire process and how the Development Team is careful when it comes to client requirements. They make sure to take down the changes and each change is confirmed first before setting down to make it a reality.

Pritam had a solution – he felt that if there is a big requirement from the client, then it should be broken down or split into parts so that it becomes easy to work on the requirement and at the same time chances of mistakes happening due to communication are eliminated.

Jahir who enjoyed this activity said that client requirement should be documented.

Subhodh agreed 100% with Jahir and said that cross-checking and confirmation was needed and communication should be perfect between both ends of the process

Blessy who is into business development was yet to come across a real-life situation as the activity as hers was a role to get the client to the demo first. She felt that every requirement and instruction should be learned as a team so that it becomes easy to deliver it as a team. What could have been done better was to discuss things internally and then proceed.

Yogita who has a lot of experience in customer success said that one-way communication creates problems and each person in the team has a role and each one plays an important role. She also felt that each recipient should check and every team should have the rule to gather the correct information before processing it. To make it work as a team one should do their best in individually put it properly.

Both Monali and Prajakta felt that communication should be proper. They enjoyed the game and the fun it brought to the session. Prajakta felt that it helps to ask as many questions as possible.

Heena also agreed and said that requirements should be clear and if there was a doubt, they should clarify and then proceed.

Abhilash said that communication is the key and sometimes, the client also conveys the wrong stuff. So listening also is a key factor in proper communication

Bhushan was all for written communication when it came to client requirements

Sayali felt that the session was very helpful in their day-to-day processes.

We ended the session on a high note – loads of laughter from all those “changed” messages, innumerable lessons that were stacked up high in our memory as take-away from the session and of course the thrill of working as a team.

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