The Individual as Client of Communication

As an individual, you want to be the first to know about all matters that pertain to you. Your company may be about to retrench you or to promote you and the anxiety that comes with not having direct communication may be high. In the case above, no single individual deserved to know the finality of the case other than Mary Jane Veloso. Every passing time was certainly a moment of resignation and anguish. Hodgetts (2002) presents four major barriers to communication that in a situation like this can make things more traumatic: perception, inference, language, and status.

For sure, in terms of perception, Veloso’s personal view of reality was blurred. Plunged in a situation she never anticipated made it even harder to comprehend fully her circumstances. All she wanted, as a mother of two little children, was to find work that would help her earn enough as a domestic worker to provide for the children. Instead, she found herself counted among drug traffickers destined for execution. 

An inference occurred, presented with large amounts of facts that were incomplete and not transmitted clearly; her assumptions of the messages left nothing for adequate interpretation of the meaning of what was going on and of her circumstances in general.

Obviously, she needed a translator to understand the proceedings in Bahasa. That language barrier meant that she could not process her feelings and express her views adequately before the courts. Her body language as well as other communication cues could not relay her personal messages to the court to help them see her reality. The communication was limited to looking at the evidence and probably explaining to her the sequences of having such evidence in her suitcase. She could not understand and she could not communicate.

Her status as a domestic helper or someone seeking that employment made her even not worthy to be listened to, to be respected, and to be trusted. If her circumstances were of a high social ranking individual, the credentials could probably have obliged the courts to take a look at the evidence in a different way. They may have wanted to examine the evidence in a different light. Veloso’s problem had also to do with her social rank. Although ironically in the turn of events, this very lowly status became the battle cry and source of sympathy from many people that led the Indonesian government to make a last minute consideration.

For an individual as client of communication, these barriers need to be well-managed. One has to have a way to overcome them to achieve effective communication.