Overcoming Communication Palisades: Part Two

Yesterday you learned a four-step process to overcoming communication palisades. Now I am happy to present the Public Relations checklist for overcoming communication barriers, also known as the 7 C’s of Effective Communication.

7 C’s of Effective Communication: Clarity, Conciseness, Consideration, Completeness, Coherency, Courtesy, and Correctness.

1. Clarity: The more you focus on something, the more clear it becomes. Make sure you maintain your focus by only communicating a specific message by using concrete wording and adding emphasis only to the message itself, not tangents of the message.

2. Conciseness: Many reporters will take pages of notes on an event and go back to high light only the important facts. Being concise is creating a message out of only those highlighted features. Conciseness involves minimizing word usage; it is the combination of “brief” and “point”.

3. Consideration: Quite plainly, know your audience. Stick your feet in their shoes and wear them out. Consideration is about tweaking the words that you have used to focus on what you want to deliver, so that they also adhere to the wants and needs of the audience who will receive the message. This is your opportunity to empathize.

4. Completeness: Completeness is about representation, about credibility, about conveying all the facts accordingly. In conveying all the facts, it answers any questions that may be sparked by the presented information. When you work on making something complete, it is the only time that it is expected to add more information to the focus so that it answers those questions.

5. Coherency: While a message may have all its facts, do they flow? Making a communication coherent insinuates adding transitional phrases, checking and re checking the wording, and breaking the message into segments while maintaining the connections.

6. Courtesy: Remember the end of Overcoming Communication Palisades: Part One?    Be human and stay positive.

7. Correctness: Being straightforward, get an editor. In fact, get five editors, a few friends, and a couple of co-workers or other people in the PR field to review your message. Just do it, you may never realize how much it matters, but if you don’t do it, you will. That’s the unsatisfying result of correctness.

As everything in PR and communication, there are always more ways to look at definitions, tables, concepts, etc,. Other C’s that get thrown into the fray: credibility, content, context, continuity, capability, channels, and concreteness. All of which involve some part or another of the concepts I have presented.

The Shannon-Weaver Model

The Shannon-Weaver Model, also known as the Linear Communication Model and the Mathematical Theory of Communication, demonstrates the process of communicating. It also helps you realize why the most effortless acts of communication can result in complete misinterpretation or misunderstanding.

It was in 1947 that Claude E. Shannon created this theory with the intention for it to be used in facilitating information transmission over telephone lines. Not surprisingly, it took on an entirely new role of being one of the most largely used inter-personal communication models to this day.

The model contains 8 key components: Source, Encoder, Message, Channel, Noise, Decoder, Receiver and Feedback.

Source: The source of communication is an individual creator or group of individuals who have a message they wish to be received by another individual or group. The source, or origin of the message, must also have a definite purpose of initiating the communication model.

Encoder: The encoder, also referred to as the sender or transmitter, puts the message into specific signals that will later be interpreted. The encoder must choose distinct forms of signals to represent the meaning of the message clearly.

A gesture of a handshake can be encoded as an image, but it would not work as effectively if it were put into a text format.

Message: The message is the content that is being communicated from one end of the model to the other. Naturally you will send multiple messages that are precise, rather than a single message which has too many meanings.

Channel: The channel is the path on which the message travels. The encoder, while deciding how to best transmit the message, must also consider the best path on which the transmitted message will travel. This channel can be any medium such as magazine, radio, film, internet, etc,.

Noise: Inevitably the channel is already filled with noise; anything that interferes with the transmission of the message. This can be the radio playing too loudly in the background or the encoder’s own inability to enunciate correctly.

Decoder: The decoder simply does the opposite of what the encoder does. The decoder interprets the original message in a way that the receiver will understand. Additionally, the decoder will act as a filter in the sense that the message will have as much noise removed as possible.

Receiver: The receiver is the individual or audience whom the sender had the intention to deliver the message to.

Originally the linear model of communication had stopped there. It wasn’t until Warren
Weaver worked on the fundamentals of the model and added a necessary component. Weaver made the effect of the model orbicular in the sense that he had attached feedback to the model. *See image above.

Feedback: Feedback is the receivers response to the message. The feedback’s intent is to let the encoder know exactly how accurately the message was interpreted as well as simply reporting whether the message was received or not.

Feedback allows the once linear model to become cyclical so that each party – the individual or group at each end of the model – can continue communication.

As an example, we will stick to the model’s origin by using the telephone.

You, the source, wish to convey the message that you have completed the report early to your boss. The message is then encoded as a voice message into the phone, with the phone, or the phones cable being the channel on which the message is traveling. The noise present is simply your daughter screaming in the background as you were working from home this evening. The decoder will present the message as a voice message for the receiver, your boss, to listen to. Your boss will than reciprocate the process and present you with feedback, whether that is simply telling you that you did a good job or hinting at a promotion in the future.

Die Early On To Live A Full Life

Death is meant to be superfluous, but it’s not. It’s important, it’s vital, I may even go so far as to say that it’s the meat-and-potatoes of your mom’s cooking – no meal is complete without meat-and-potatoes.

Death is an angel in disguise, a miracle worker’s shadow, god’s secret power, the greatest treasure in all the world, it is a stronger truth bearer than the greek mythological messenger, Iris.

Death has a message of its own. This message is one that should never need to be delivered but must. This message, once delivered, forces you to challenge every theory you have, it makes analyze your worldview, and it eliminates your perception of risk which is made by the amygdala.

Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients get this message every week. The message is that they only have three months to live. Or six weeks. Or twenty days. And just like that, life begins for them. Honestly. Passionately. Truthfully begins.

Jim Rohn says the following in his book The Seasons Of Life,

“It’s when a human, with sufficient disgust, desire, and determination to change his life finally steps up to the bar of human justice and shouts for all the world to hear, ‘I have had it with defeat and humiliation, and I will tolerate it not longer.’ That is when time, fate and circumstances call a hasty conference, and all three wearily agree, ‘We had best step aside, because we are powerless to stop that kind of resolve.'”

Must you die early on to live a full life? A life which uses your muse, passion, and creativity as the foundation. A life absent of fear, regret, self-degradation and hate. A life that remains intolerant to failure, set-backs, or humiliation. Must we die early on to live that life?

This is not a rhetorical question. The answer is yes. We really must die early on to live a full life.

Contrary to belief, terminal cancer patients are not the only ones who are lucky enough to die early on and live a full life. A rare headcount of people are lucky enough to die early. For some people it takes half of their lives to die and that only leaves half a life left to live, really live. For most, people never die until they are much too old to live. That is the death of death.

You’re likely confused, so let me elaborate. The death in which I write about is the death of the ego. When a person is diagnosed with terminal cancer, or hits rock bottom in life from drugs and alcohol, or gives so much love to one person and then that person leaves them, there is a shift in the psyche of that person. That shift is the death of their ego.

Upon their death, they question everything: tradition, their fears, their relationships, their work, their ethic, their personality… to discover what truly matters and to live a full passionate life.

The only thing I don’t know then is whether the miracle is being told you will die soon or the fact that after you are told, the cancer goes into remission, the addict never touches a drug again, the alcoholic never drinks, and the lover begins to love themself as much as they loved the other?


Stay Positive & Diagnose Yourself

Garth E. Beyer