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Hall of Shame

The "Hall of Shame" documents incidents in which key communication principles were violated. The purpose of this page is two-fold:  1) To provide examples of what to avoid. 2) To instruct students about key communication principles that are critical for any communicatorís long-term success. The focus is on the incident, not the student(s). For that reason, I have not included any names. We all make mistakes and we can all learn from those miscalculations.

  • One group, turned in a written project that contained the following "arguments":
    • "We didnít use many models mainly because they were applicable to our presentation."
    • "A presentation is a confidence game, as long as the speaker speaks loud and bombastically, without letting go of their position then they're in a terrific position."
    • "In our defense, we are relatively new to giving presentations, and have not mastered the method of affluent speech."

What principles did they violate?

  • A group was making a presentation during class and one of their members was not present. The first speaker briefly and effectively explained that the member could not attend the presentation for personal reasons. During the middle of the presentation the missing member showed up. The entire class watched as he slammed down his backpack, ambled to the front of the room and took "his place" on the stage with other group members. He never said a word during the presentation. He never explained the situation to the professor or class.  How did this student compromise the effectiveness of his group?
     
  • In the Interviewing class, students routinely discussed each other's strengths and areas of improvement during performance appraisal exercises.  One student quickly dismissed an improvement  idea by saying "I already knew that and I can't change it." What opportunity did this student miss? 

  • One group, part of a class of 80 students, had extensive training on the SMCR model and proper channel selection. They chose to turn in their final group paper (30 + pages) by e-mailing an attachment to the professor. What principle did they violate?
  • One group was given a case involving communication problems at a paper mill. One recommendation involved transmitting daily briefings over a public address speaker system. What principle did they violate?
  • One student repeatedly fell asleep during a discussion class despite the professorís private warning. What principle did he violate?