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Communication. Chapter 7. Research, Action, Communication , Evaluation. Communication follows Research and Program Planning (Action) in the public relations process Communication is the process by which objectives are achieved

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communication

Communication

Chapter 7

research action communication evaluation
Research, Action, Communication, Evaluation
  • Communication follows Research and Program Planning (Action) in the public relations process
  • Communication is the process by which objectives are achieved
  • Strategies and tactics may include news releases, news conferences, speeches, special events, brochures, newsletters, rallies, posters, bumper stickers, webcasts
to be an effective pr communicator
To be an Effective PR Communicator…

…it is important to have an understanding of:

  • What constitutes communication and how people receive messages
  • How people process information and change their perceptions
  • What kind of media and communication tools are most appropriate for a particular message
categories of media comm tools
Categories of Media/Comm Tools
  • Kirk Hallahan, a Colorado State communication theorist, lists five categories of media and communication tools—and strengths and weaknesses of each: (Table, p.172)
    • Public Media—newspapers, magazines, radio, TV
    • Interactive Media—computer based WWW, e-mail, listserves, chat rooms, bulletin boards
    • Controlled Media—brochures, newsletters, sponsored magazines, annual reports, direct mail, video brochures
    • Events/Groups—speeches, trade shows, exhibits, meetings, conferences, sponsorships, anniversaries
    • One-on-One—personal visits, lobbying, personal letters and phone calls, telemarketing
communication objectives
Communication Objectives
  • While selecting the above tools, communicators should determine exactly what objective is being sought through the communication. James Grunig, University of Maryland PR professor, lists five possible objectives:
    • Message exposure—getting message out via the mass media, controlled media, and other forms; intended audiences are exposed to the message in various forms
    • Accurate dissemination of the message—the basic information, often filtered by media gatekeepers, remains intact
    • Acceptance of the message—the audience not only retains the message, but accepts it as valid
    • Attitude change—the audience not only believes the message, but makes a verbal or mental commitment to change behavior as a result of the message
    • Change in overt behavior—members of the audience actually change their current behavior or purchase the product and use it

(The first two outcomes are much easier to achieve than the last three. Many other factors must come in to play to achieve the last three such as predisposition to the message, peer reinforcement, feasibility of the suggested action and environmental context, for example)

understanding the message
Understanding the Message
  • Communication can take place only if the sender and receiver have a common understanding of the “symbols” being used. This requires:
    • Effective use of language
    • Writing for clarity
    • Effective use of symbols, acronyms, and slogans
    • Avoiding jargon, clichés, and hype words—media gatekeepers and the general public are turned off by (and may not understand) technical and bureaucratic language (jargon).
    • Clichés and excessive hype can undermine the credibility of the message. Note list of hype words on page 182.
also avoid euphemisms
Also avoid euphemisms
  • A euphemism is “an offensive word or phrase that is less direct and less distasteful than the one that represents reality.”
  • Avoid “doublespeak”– words that pretend to communicate but really do not– examples: “ethnic cleansing” and “collateral damage”
  • Examples: used cards as “preowned” cars; layoffs or firings as “downsizing;” hunting as “harvesting.”
  • Such language can “breed suspicion, cynicism, distrust, and, ultimately hostility.”
avoid discriminatory language
Avoid discriminatory language
  • In today’s world, effective communication also means nondiscriminatory communication.
  • PR personnel should double-check every message to eliminate undesirable gender, racial, and ethnic connotations.
  • Examples: “manpower” is now “personnel, workers, or employees.” “Manmade” is now “artificial or synthetic.” Firemen are firefighters; stewardesses are flight attendants; and fisherman are just fishers.
believing remembering acting on the message
Believing, remembering, actingon the message
  • Believing the Message
    • The importance of “source credibility”
      • Do audience members perceive the source as knowledgeable and expert on the subject?
      • Do they perceive the source as honest and objective or as representing a special interest?
      • Audiences, for example, give lower credibility to statements made in advertising than to the same information contained in a news article, because news articles are selected and checked out by media gatekeepers
  • Remembering the Message
    • The importance of repetition
      • Not all audience members see or hear message at same time
      • Reminds the audience– so less chance of forgetting
      • Can lead to improved learning; penetrate resistance/indifference
acting on the message the five stage adoption process
Acting on the MessageThe Five-Stage Adoption Process

Getting people to act on a message is not a simple process. A key to this is understanding the adoption process:

  • Awareness—a person becomes aware of an idea or new product, often through an ad, news story or word-of-mouth
  • Interest—person seeks more information perhaps by picking up a pamphlet, ordering a brochure, or reading an in-depth article in a newspaper, magazine, or on-line
  • Evaluation—how the product or idea meet a person’s specific needs and wants? Feedback from friends and family is part of this process
  • Trial—trying the product or idea on an experimental basis by using a sample, witnessing a demonstration, or making qualifying statements such as, “I read…”
  • Adoption—person begins to use the product on a regular basis or integrates the idea into his or her belief system
slide11
Which One Are You? Research shows people approach innovation in different ways depending on personality traits and the risk involved
  • Innovators—Adventuresome and eager to try new ideas
  • Early Adopters—Savvy individuals who keep up with new ideas/products, often the opinion leaders for their friends and colleagues
  • Early Majority—Take a deliberate, pragmatic approach to adopting ideas
  • Late Majority—Often skeptical and somewhat resistant but bow to peer pressure
  • Laggards—Very traditional and the last group to adopt a new idea or product