Trucking, by its very nature, is a stressful industry. When things go wrong it increases the stress on everybody involved, particularly on dispatchers and drivers who have to communicate regularly and clearly. Our main tool for communication is the worst one for clear communication – the satellite or Qualcomm.
When things go smoothly the satellite is a convenient tool to communicate needed information. But sometimes, in this business, things don’t go so smoothly; sometimes due to miscommunication and other times for reasons out of our control. Then nerves get frayed. Then, sometimes, innocent messages are misinterpreted and taken out of context. A conflict is perceived, by either driver or dispatch, where there is none. The satellite is tone deaf.
Here are a few tips to avoid problems using the satellite.
- Be professional.
- Use clear communication. Avoid language that is ambiguous. Be specific.
- Stay on point. Irrelevant points can confuse and lead to miscommunication and end with a mistake being made.
- Don’t use language that is accusatory, this can quickly escalate. Ie ‘This is the situation and this happened.’ Don’t accuse such as ‘You did this and then that happened.’
- Don’t react emotionally to a problem. If you act on your impulse and send a nasty message you’ll escalate the situation. Just focus on the best resolution possible at the time. You can deal with outstanding grievances later, when people are calm.
- Most companies provide ways to resolve problems between personnel. A fight on the satellite isn’t a productive way to get what you want.
- Remember, just as with email, once the message is sent you can’t unsend it.
The main points here are use clear communication to avoid communication problems, don’t assume malice when reading messages, and don’t escalate situations.