Ethical Considerations When Using Visuals in Workplace Communication

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  • 1:27 Accurate Visuals
  • 2:03 Negative Data
  • 3:01 Estimated Results
  • 3:33 Cause/Effect Relationships
  • 4:05 Emotional Manipulation
  • 4:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
There are important ethical considerations when using visuals in workplace communication. This lesson covers specific guidelines that individuals can follow to ensure that the visual message is an appropriate representation of the truth.

Ethical Considerations

Using visuals in workplace communication can add another dimension to your message through the use of charts, graphs, lines, photos, illustrations, etc. There are ethical considerations to review in order to portray the information correctly. These considerations are when morals and standards of right and wrong are adhered to in a business communication. A small mistake in a visual can communicate a completely different and potentially damaging message. There are a few guidelines that you should consider when building and reviewing the visual part of your message.

Pear Products is launching their brand-new product called Thought Genius, which allows the wearer to hear people's thoughts. The new PowerPoint presentation has been completed, and the team is reviewing every slide to make sure all ethical issues have been resolved.

Review Your Visuals

It is important to review your visuals, looking for potential misinterpretation or miscommunication of a company's information based on your visual element. If there is any area which can offend, the visual needs to be edited. For example, the Pear Products initial presentation only had Caucasian consumer examples using the new product. The team quickly adjusted the consumer slides to show a variety of ethnicities and ages as to not slight any particular group.

Accurate Visuals

The use of accurate visuals is a necessity to produce a true and ethical reflection of a product or idea. Graphs can sometimes only show a certain time frame of information, and photos can limit the overall three dimensions of a product. For example, the photo of the new Thought Genius with its silver/black color scheme made it seem very heavy to wear. The team had to create a small video to further show kids wearing the product and also add a detail of the weight of the Genius (it only weights 8 oz.).

Don't Downplay or Ignore Negative Data

An ethical consideration when communicating business information is to not downplay or ignore negative data. If you have over 500 good reviews and 300 negative reviews of a product, it is not ethical to only feature the positive reviews in your report to your boss. Hiding product information can hinder sales or even cause legal issues in the future. It is best to address negatives with direct feedback and try and make improvements to solve any problems.

Pear Products did make their executive team aware of numerous customer complaints about an issue with regulating the volume on the product. Some consumers said the volume would go up and down constantly making it difficult to hear what someone was thinking. By acknowledging these reviews in the product launch presentation spreadsheet, the product bug was able to be fixed with a downloadable patch through Bluetooth technology.

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