It’s something that still leaves me amused and puzzled at the same time. It happened with my mother.
Here is her story.
While teaching business communication to BBA students recently, a rather quirky situation made me sit up and think about the tricks that the English language and its usage play on you.
Crisis Communication is an important aspect of business communication, dealing with the style, content and management of communication with the public or with all stakeholders at the time of crisis in an organization or in a famous personality’s life (remember Bill Clinton?).
It also includes a government’s reaction or response during a natural disaster / calamity and any other such crisis. There’s usually a separate chapter on this in most management syllabi.
Having been a professional corporate communicator, I taught this section with much enthusiasm and appropriate examples. I was confident that there wouldn’t be a scope for misunderstanding regarding the concept itself.
I was wrong.
One day, while checking an assignment on Crisis Communication I found that more than 50 per cent of my students understood crisis communication as crisis In communication. They ended up writing about how one could communicate better in private!
I was amused of course. But I was shocked too. It began to dawn on me that … my communication was in crisis.
The exams were around the corner, my students were on leave and I couldn’t fathom how to handle the ‘crisis’.
I ended up praying — let God help them, for they do not know that they are wrong.
So much for crisis communication!