Communications: Making Connections in a Media Literate World — Part 2

Developing a Communications Plan: 3 Questions

Basic communication is an encoding and decoding process. We arrive at a thought or concept and want to share it with another. We have to encode that thought into some form (a medium) that is transmitted to the other. That person then has to decode the information from that medium to receive the thought and be given the opportunity to develop an understanding of what you are trying to communicate.

It is in the encoding and decoding stages of the communications process that problems occur. Very often persons will choose media that aren’t appropriate for the information they are trying to encode, or more often, they are sloppy or inadequate in their encoding of their idea to whatever medium they are using. That is why some movies are enthralling stories and why others are the pits. Those which understand the medium and encode well help us to connect to the thoughts of the writer and director. Those which are weaker in encoding simply irritate us, and very often can lead us in a direction opposite of what the writer/director intends.

One of the things that helps this encoding process succeed is developing a plan/process for your communications tasks. This plan can be rather simple or it can be complicated. However, in most cases it involves answering 3 basic questions:

1) What are we trying to communicate?

2) Who care we trying to communicate to or with?

3) How shall we communication our message?

The third question is partially determined by the answers to questions 1 and 2, which in turn feed on each other. While we will go into more detail in a coming article, the content of our communication is somewhat dependent on our audience, while our audience changes based on the the content of our communication. Answering these interrelated questions of “who” and “what” form the basis of all the decisions that come later.

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