Chilean Copper Mine Collapse

Communication has different meanings to different people and situations. It has a different meaning to a student in class and another meaning to an employee on the job. A basic definition of communication is sending and receiving of messages between two people. When messages are understood by both the sender and receiver, effective communication is achieved. According to Cheesebro, O’Conner, and Rios, “the key to effective communication is shared understanding of the information and involves the shared understanding of the feelings, thoughts, wants, needs, and intentions of the communicators” (Cheesebro, O’Conner, & Francisco, 2010, para. , Chapter 1, “Communication in the Workplace”). Meeting these requirements allows the speaker to use proper tone of speech, therefore, an effective and successful message is sent. Before speaking to an audience, the speaker must determine the roles of the audience. In an audience, a diversity of cultures, personalities, age ranges, and different education levels are present, therefore, speaking to the audience is challenging. The speaker needs assurance each role is considered and the message is sent clearly and concisely.

When communicating, the speaker needs poised body language and a considerate tone of voice. To explain the importance of designing communications with a particular audience in mind, I will address the event of the Chilean Copper Mine collapse on August 5, 2010. During this event, the audience is comprised of the families, coworkers, friends, and interested parties to the plight of the trapped miners. Their roles may be different but their emotions and questions are the same.

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The speaker’s tone should be considerate and comforting to maintain calmness in a time of anxiety and heartache. When traumatic events occur, not only will the emotions experience a rollercoaster of changes the person’s body will because of stress and fear. Modesto Alonso, an Argentine psychologist and researcher says, “in the face of such intense stress, some people literally die of fear and others find a resilience they didn’t know they had” (Moffett & Pica, 2010, para. 6). There are numerous needs of the miner’s families when receiving messages regarding the incident.

Maintaining a link with the families of the trapped miners will prove to be an important psychological ballast for the men in the months ahead (Moffett & Pica, 2010). The first thing the families want to know is the status of their loved one’s health and safety. This information will ease anxiety the families have over the incident. Another important communication need is the rescue plan and how long it will take to recover their loved ones. The families need to know how the incident occurred and what measures the company has to prevent the same incident from reoccurring.

Details about the rescue and the condition of the miners are important needs of the families, and the mining company must keep scheduled updates to reassure the families all measures are being met to ensure a safe recovery. There are many emotions and questions the families have when something like this happens, and it is an important job of the communicator to ease any further emotional distress. The needs of the employees also need to be met during this time. However, the emotions of the employees may not be as intense; the details of the occurrence are just as important.

The employees at other mining sites need reassurance the company is working on measures that will prevent a collapse at their site. Another need of the employee is to be informed of the status of their job during the rescue attempts of the trapped miners. When a collapse happens it shuts down all operations. Therefore, the employees are out of work. Like the families, the employees of the mining company also need updates on the safety of their coworkers. There are many actions to consider before presenting communication to an audience regarding the collapse.

The first action to consider is who the company will choose to deliver the message. The collapse is a serious event and the person chosen to deliver this type of news sends a particular message to the families and employees. For instance, the owner of the mining company or an executive of the company sending the message will pose a greater impact on the audience than choosing another employee of the mining company. This will show the audience the company cares enough about their employees they will send a higher ranked employee to explain the possible mistakes the company made to cause the collapse.

Another action to consider is the outlet the company will choose to deliver the message; local and national news, newspaper, letters to the families and employees, face-to-face, or electronically are a few methods. There are also actions to consider after the message is delivered. One of those considerations is the audience will have a continual update of any changes by the company. The company also needs to consider setting up medical and psychological therapists on site to care for any needs the families have while waiting for he rescue efforts. Furthermore, after the rescue the men will need medical and psychological treatment. It is being reported that the men are suffering from depression while being underground so the government has taking the necessary steps to send down doses of anti-depressants (“Trapped Chilean Miners Told Rescue Could Take Months”, 2010). Another action to consider is acquiring a system that allows the men to receive and send messages to their families. It is very important for them to stay in contact with their loved ones during this time.

Claudio Barrales, a psychologist at the Universidad Central in Santiago “Trapped Chilean Miners Told Rescue Could Take Months” (2010), told MSNBC, “it’s very important for the miners’ mental health that they communicate openly with their families, and without filters, either by letter or by phone” (para. 19). Many reports say the men will need additional long-term therapy to help deal with the psychological trauma they will face. There are many things to consider when communicating to an audience. When a speaker understands the different roles of the audience and exercises effective communication the message is sent properly.

Our society consists of a variety of cultures and personalities, and communication is difficult to exchange unless the sender understand the audience’s roles. Draft Communications To the families: Face-to-Face Gathering Today on the 5th of August, 2010, it is with great concern I report to you that the San Jose copper mine in northern Chile has suffered a collapse. The collapse has trapped 33 workers in an underground chamber approximately 2300 feet under the surface. We are working diligently at gathering the necessary resources to start the rescue and recovery of all 33 men.

We have sent a video camera down to the men and they are reporting they have minimal food and water. Therefore, we are gathering supplies to send down to these men in order to sustain them until they are rescued. The rescue efforts are going to take some time so we will update you daily on our progress and allow for questioning. Please understand that we are doing everything we can to recover your loved ones safely and efficiently. During this process if you have any questions or concerns we have representatives on-site to help you. To the employees: I think each mining site directly related to the collapse should have a Face-to-Face meeting.

For mining sites across the country then I think a memo or email is sufficient. Unfortunately, I am reporting that our San Jose’ copper mine in northern Chile has collapsed today. All of our men are safe and accounted for and we are desperately working on rescue and recovery efforts at this time. Local organizations, such as the FMC and CTC have questioned Minera San Esteban’s safety record (Weik, 2010) but the company is making sure that each mine is thoroughly inspected for the safety of our employees. Work will resume as normal but we will inform you of any changes that occur with the recovery efforts. If any of you need questions answered please contact the human resource department.

References

Cheesebro, T. , O’Conner, L. , & Rios, F. (2010). Communicating in the Workplace. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database. Moffett, M. , & Pica, C. (2010, August). Chile Prepares for Long Rescue Effort. Wall Street Journal, (), Retrieved from http://online. wsj. com Trapped Chilean Miners Told Rescue Could Take Months. (2010). Retrieved from http://www. msnbc. msn. com Weik, J. (2010, August). Over 30 workers trapped after Chilean copper mine collapse. Metal Bulletin Daily, (224), 65-65.

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