Public Relations in everyday situations III – Be up-front in your communications

Posted on April 9, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The purpose of communications is to get a particular message across, effectively to your audience. When the receiver of the message successfully decodes the message, the communication is well delivered.

This becomes especially true when the sender (encoder) is attempting to deliver a negative message.

Here are some of my thoughts:

Point to the matter but not to the culprit

When things go wrong, (and they often do in life) find out what is the root cause of the problem. Position the message such that it is focused on solving the problem rather than blaming a particular person on it.

When there is a human element in it, or if it is a teaching lesson for a person, make sure that the receiver understands that it’s a learning lesson for the future.

Whilst generalising the issue is good, especially to address a ‘principle’ issue, there must be a balance to be struck. When addressing a crowd, avoid over-generalising the issue. When it’s over-generalised, the audience will not understand what is going on. It defeats the purpose of communicating in the first instance.


Sarcastic remarks don’t work. It is anti-communications. If you want to get a point across, sarcasm doesn’t work. Firstly, it sets the receiver in a defensive mode, and that shuts effective communications down.

If that’s not good enough, the negativity of the message will not entice either party to set off to find a solution to the issue or to find a resolution.

Finally, sarcasm clouds the actual message. When both parties are so engrossed with the emotional battle, the actual message is lost.

Keep the message factual and minimize the amount of emotions attached to it, unless it is intended to do so

When you want to get a point across to the person and emotions are added to the message, more often than not, the message is dismissed.

If the message is kept objective, the receiver is usually more open to hearing it, digesting it and acting on it.

This is with the exception of situations when emotions ARE the messages that are to be conveyed. In that case, make it obvious so that the receiver gets the message immediately.


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