#1 of the Human Factors' Dirty Dozen Is Lack of Communication
So, just what is Lack of Communication? In the simplest terms, it is a failure to ensure the “mental pictures” match.
For example I have a mental picture of what I hope to convey to you. If you have the same mental picture at the end of our conversation then proper communication has occurred.
Many times in Aviation and in other areas of our lives we have conversations with each other and we both assume that we understood each other 100%, but the sad truth is that only 33% of the average conversation is totally understood. This leaves a whopping 67% of our conversation misunderstood.
Lack of Communication among Top Human Errors
A study done by Albert Mehrabian on how a message is transmitted and received in average conversation revealed that 55% of the message was transmitted by body language, 38% by tone of voice and an unbelievable 7% verbally. With verbal communication being only 7% maybe now you can start to see how human errors can be made and why we consider Lack of Communication to be one of the top 4 human errors.
Is there a secret to good communication? You have:
- Two ears
- Two eyes
- One mouth
You MUST try to remember to use them in that order and proportion.
Some things you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t Detour – To detour is to change the subject being discussed. Work on keeping the conversation on the topic being discussed.
- Don’t Preplan – The problem with preplanning is you are busy working on a response instead of listening to what is being said.
- Don’t Tune Out – If you tune things out, you don’t hear what is being said.
Some things you should do:
- Listen more and speak less
- THINK before you speak
- Ask questions
- Make eye contact
- Use positive body language
- Do whatever it takes to make sure the “metal pictures” match.
Related Aviation Human Factors Articles...
- Let’s Talk Human Factors - Origin of Dirty Dozen
- Let’s Talk Human Factors - Lack of Knowledge
- Let’s Talk Human Factors: Distraction Is #4 of the Dirty Dozen
Final Thoughts on Improving Communication
The short simple message:
- If we can improve our Communication, we can reduce human errors.
- Learn about the Origin of the Dirty Dozen.
- Get your copy of the Dirty Dozen Safety Promotion Posters.
Published August 2015. Last updated July 2019.