March, 19, 2012
Knowing your audience paper and Communication Release
As we all know how important it is to use proper communication we also must ensure that the receivers of that message understand the information we are providing to them. Without checks and balances when conveying our thought process verbally or non-verbally it will ensure us our audience completely understands and not lead to confusion. As we will notice with the communication during the Chilean copper mine accident in South America. Knowing your audience proves to be even more significant when a company has to deal with the outcome resulting from a disaster. Understanding that families and workers need to me told in different manners is a key
On August 5, 2010, a small copper mine in northern Chile collapsed trapping inside of it 33 miners (Weik, 2010). The mining company Minera San Esteban Primera, had to take on the very difficult task of informing families and workers within the company about this fatal accident. The agents chosen by the company to handle these releases took great care in how straightforward and honest information was delivered in order to keep the company’s reputation intact. These miners were trapped some 300 meters underground they had limited oxygen supplies, little food, or water for such a catastrophe. Once news was leaked of the accident everyone glued themselves to their television from around the world to watch the story unfold not knowing whether or not these brave men would live to see the sun again. The fate of the miners was not immediately known - it took 17 days before a drill reached their refuge, discovering them alive and well (Boston.com, 2010). After a total of 69 days, the first worker was lifted to the surface amid much fanfare worldwide.
So now we ask ourselves how did the company which had a poor safety track record, perform such an outstanding job of damage control. It was imperative that they came right out and told the world about what happened. We must keep in mind that there was more than one type of audience to address. Keeping the family and workers well informed before the news media outlets took the story and ran with it before confirmed information was evaluated. In order to properly communication to the family members you have to take in mind their feelings, reactions, and state of mind as most were hysterical not know the fate of their loved ones. Providing them with grief counseling and faith were first and foremost a priority. Ensuring the families are notified ahead of the media keeping them updated on the hour by hour time sensitive information relived a lot of the emotion stress most were suffering, using tact and compassion alleviated much of this tension. The family's needs by the company became a priority as situations like these leave everyone without preparation. The workers were kept informed in a different manner due to knowing the risks involved performing their duties. They were kept busy working the rest of the mine area, put on rescue worker shifts, and consoled the families of their trapped comrades.
The Chilean mine disaster was one of the most captivating stories of the year. This was due to the fact mining and government officials worked quickly and effectively in providing necessary supplies to the trapped miners. A plan of actions was enacted and implemented as different scenarios arose. They had a terrific line of open communication between, the miners, families, employees of the company and media at large. Communications between each party was constant and clear to the miners, families, and employees. We must also not forget how involved the government was as they were highly concerned for the trapped miners and had the world looking at them with scrutiny. They work meticulously to provide the tools necessary to free the miners and support the health and safety of those brave men while they were waiting to be rescued. Similar incidents throughout the history of mining does not paint a encouraging picture in providing a moral boost that most of the time miners would be rescued alive. The numbers were definitely not in their favor. However, it was visible the way messages were put across that those involved were not willing to yield to the statistics. They continued to remain upbeat and positive; reassuring all parties involved they were going to do all in their power to bring back all those men as all eyes were watching when worldwide. Brining in outside help and not being afraid to ask for it was indeed something out of the ordinary, using new technology proved that with spirit and endurance even the impossible can now be ascertained and many other incidents like this can be accomplished.
So in order to communicate effectively, regardless of the audience, we must assess who we’re speaking to and what they need to know. How empathize with them will determine the best tone in which to deliver our message. Once the message is delivered it is important we examine the responses of the audience and feasibly return with a follow-up message. Recapping the original message to safeguard no lost in interpretation.
Retrieved from: Weik, J (2010, August 6). Over 30 workers trapped after Chilean copper mine collapse. Metal Bulletin Daily. (224). 65.