0708-Etiquette of a Group and Difficult Communication

Background reading material for Year 2 Semester 1 medical student PPSD session on Wednesday 15th August 2006 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


On the first meeting:

The first impressions that people get about you on first meeting are lasting. Make sure you project a positive but true image of yourself. Take care of your physical appearance. Your hair must be combed well, the nails clipped, your clothes and face clean and appropriate. Your greetings must exude warmth and confidence. Eye contact with those of the same gender enhances communication.


Before starting communication in small groups you can do somethings that facilitate the process: Greetings, shaking hands, standing up as a sign of respect, kissing, and embracing. Take the initiative to greet or shake hands first. Be personal and informal; the personal touch has a lasting impact. Meet others with a cheerful countenance and maintain it throughout the communication process. Express emotions and love for your partners.


Being in a group:

When in a group gathering always talk about good and positive things. Try to always sit and talk with people of good character. Do not exclude the weak and the poor from your gatherings. When sitting in a group, do not ignore anyone. People hate being ignored. Try to involve everybody in the conversation. You can not engage in secret talks in the presence of others. You should also not use a language unknown by some of the people in the group.


Be kind and generous to the young and respectful to the elderly. Never embarrass anyone in a gathering. Always pray for those who say or do something good. When sitting in a gathering, give place to the newcomers and let them feel welcome. The newcomer should also avoid displacing anyone. It is better he sits even at the end.



Communication in difficult circumstances requires care, special tact, and knowledge. For example interviewing a new employee, informing an employee that he has been dismissed from work, disciplining a poorly-performing employee, termination of an employee, and the exit interview require tact to make sure the message is delivered but that the encounter does not become emotionally charged or even violent. It is very important to understand that in such circumstances you must separate the person from the problem. You attack the problem and solve it without attacking or in any way diminishing the dignity of the human even if he or she be at fault and common sense tells us that humiliating treatment is deserved

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. August 2007