What is the difference in good, bad, and ugly in communication? 

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Posted on (Answer #1)

Good, bad, and ugly communications are pretty much what they sound like.  Good communication is effective because it is polite, responsive, and sends the right message.  Bad communication is ineffective because it confuses or just does not send the message.  Ugly communication not only is ineffective because it does not send the message, but it also offends.

GOOD communication is simple, direct, positive, planned, and effective.  Let’s say you want to tell an employee that her dress style is not office-appropriate.

  • Jenny, can I talk to you for a moment?  (Inside a closed room).  Jenny, I wanted to talk to you about your wardrobe.  We have a dress code here.  This is a copy of it.  You look good, but what you are wearing is more appropriate for a night club than the office.

Jenny should have gotten the message.  The message was practical and polite, and delivered in a private setting so she would not be embarrassed.  If Jenny continues to dress inappropriately, it is not an issue of miscommunication because she got a copy of the dress code (which also has to be clear).

BAD communication sends mixed messages, the wrong message, or no message at all.

  • Hi, Jenny.  That’s a nice top, where’d you get it?  Anyway, … we try to keep it business-like here.  Okay?  Thanks.

This likely left Jenny confused.  Her top was complimented.  She was spoken to in a friendly way.  No one explained what “business-like” meant, and she was not given a chance to ask questions.

UGLY communication is ineffective because it is offensive.  You can imagine how this conversation could go south.

  • Jenny, what are you wearing?  Are you crazy?  This is a place of business!  You can’t dress like that here.  Go home and try not to dress like a teenager at a nightclub.

All of these messages had basically the same content.  Which would you rather receive?


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