Sat, 28 Oct 2023 Feature Article

What Constitutes Effective Communication?

What Constitutes Effective Communication?

I am not a communication expert but proudly an ardent lover and student of communication, particularly political communication. The subject is so much convoluted. Learning it by theory alone is not enough. Similarly, practicing it alone without the technical theoretical models will not suffice. One needs a combination of both theory and practice. While the theory keeps you guided on strategy and communication goals and the changing needs of society, practice enables you garner experience to appreciate, design and evaluate communication strategies and models with ease and tact.

According to Dr. Pradeep Nair, political communication is the process by which a nation’s leadership, media and citizenry exchange and confer meaning upon messages that relate to the conduct of public policy. The distinguishing characteristic of political communication is that messages are concerned broadly with governance or the conduct of public policy. It is commonly believed that political communication is concerned only with elections but this is not so. Politics broadly defined, concerns the process by which society reaches consensus on policy issues.

Thus, political communication occurs when citizens, media and leaders ‘dialogue’ about issues of broad concern to elites and/or the public.

In a political dialogue, each stakeholder strives to make a point forcefully, expecting that such an opinion dominates decision making or influences public perception or both. The daily radio and television deliberations done by political party representatives, appointees of government, among others is a dominant part of political communication.

While such radio deliberations mostly degenerate into political cacophony and acrimony, leaving out the pertinent issues at hand, they still contribute to shaping public perceptions on certain public policies, be it positive or not. The government of the day, has an extra duty in the communication process and must persuade, inspire hope, educate, and shape political discussion to align the thoughts of citizenry to some public policies of government. It is the means by which government also courts public support for the governance of the state.

Any communication that fails to produced the aforementioned, puts the governance in bad public spectacle, culminating in suspicion, mistrust and lack of confidence in the government.

It is however, imperative to acknowledge that what constitutes effective communication may be relative to the individual because communication goals vary.

Effective communication is the process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, opinions, knowledge, and data so that the message is received and understood with clarity and purpose. When we communicate effectively, both the sender and receiver feel satisfied.

For communication to be effective, it must be clear, correct, complete, concise, and compassionate. We consider these to be the 5 Cs of communication. It is therefore the duty of the communicator to communicate in a manner as to achieve the communication goals. If you communicate in a manner where you are misunderstood or misinterpreted, derailing the intended communication goal(s), you would have communicated poorly since you failed to achieve what you desired.

Anybody, organization, political party or government that is able to achieve its communication goals would have communicated effectively and the converse is true.

As you communicate, never forget of your communication objectives and goals. They are the guarding principles of your communication. A shift from the two is tantamount to tilting the scale and the outcome will be a deviation. Unsuccessful communication could be very frustrating and could bring the overall communication goals of your organization to nothingness.

Communication goals and objectives are statements that describe what you want to accomplish with your communication efforts. They are not the same as the content or message of your communication, but rather the purpose and impact of it. Communication goals are broad and long-term, while communication objectives are specific and measurable.

It is extremely difficult to assess the effectiveness of a communicator if you do not know the objectives and goals of that communicator. The fact that you disagree with someone does not make that person a good communicator. The fact that you agree with another communicator or how you fall in love with their diction is not enough! You must be interested in an objective assessment on whether or not the communication has strategically targeted a certain objective or goal and whether the person achieved those goals or not.

A lot of us praise and condemn communicators without a broad objective assessment of their communication objectives and goals. I hope this guides our communication designs, strategies and assessments.

Do not consider this an expert opinion!
For more communication strategies, designs, models and evaluations to improve the communication of your organization, kindly consult an expert.

If you are in the Upper West Region here, I recommend, to you, Prof Domasus Tuorosong, a communication consultant and lecturer at SDD-UBIDS, WA.

Denis Andaban
The Village Boy From DBI