Insight #2: Feedback is Key to Effective Communication

Throughout our text in chapter 3, Fraser Seitel has supplied us with countless reasons as to why feedback is so crucial for effective communication. Being that a public relations professionals job is to conduct planned communication between a company and its audience(s), it is mandatory for those professionals to have these three things incorporated within the message: a goal, an objective, and a purpose. It’s so obvious, right? Don’t you think that rule applies to all communication that happens, even the communication we label as “gossip” between two friends? The gossip Queen has a goal to inform her friend of the juiciness she has discovered of a particular person, topic, or incident, that usually has a specific objective and purpose behind it. (Cue the light bulbs.)

Feedback is so badly needed, no matter what the goal or reasoning is for communication. If communication was in the form of a puzzle, feedback would be the last piece needed in order to make it whole. For this is the very reason that communication must be handled cautiously, with great care. To put it in simpler terms, if the message sent is received and understood in the way it was intended to be, correct communication was executed. Which leads me to another great point that Seitel made; understanding is critical for the communication process (Seitel, p45-60). It is vital for the message someone intended on communicating to be easily understood. Also, consider who you are communicating to and with.

For example, in the text, Seitel talks about how boss’ send mass emails to their employees; not the most effective way to communicate. Yet, so many boss’ out there do it! That email is not going to be effective communication unless every single employee understands and interprets it in the same way, which is of course, highly unlikely. This is one of the many example of how people ignore the fact that messages can be interpreted very differently. A single message that a boss of this nature sees as effective and easily explained could have the opposite effect, being that it is interpreted so differently. In instances like this, feedback works as an aid for the sender of the message, or communicator, to be able to realize what the message that they are sending is, in addition to what it isn’t.

These examples and information is not only crucial for a strategic communication professional, but also for the average Joe. It is harder than we realize to be a great communicator. Many of these tips and instructions we must consider are ones we would never think of, because naturally, whatever the message is we are sending makes perfect sense in our minds. It is not until we receive feedback that is anything short of what we were expecting, that we realize our communication was broken and inefficient in some way. There is a specific method that Seitel explained that stuck out to me. It’s called the concentric circle theory.

Think of how many times we see commercials or an ad that features a famous celebrity in it. To take it a step further, how many times do we see a famous celebrity promoting a particular product that they absolutely love, but swear they aren’t being paid to do so? With that being said, at least a few of my readers have probably done one of the following, based on a famous celebrity that they really like does: purchased and used a recommended product from a specific company, followed a particular company or organization on twitter, or even purchased an artists album on iTunes. People do all of that just because that famous celebrity they really like promoted it in some way. This is pretty much what concentric circle theory is. Those who end up purchasing a product because of that, didn’t create that idea on their own; it was only after they found out that a famous celebrity they like used a specific product or followed a particular company or downloaded a certain artists album that they chose to do so as well. They picked up and accepted those ideas from a person who has a greater impact on the public opinion than mass media might.

It’s not cool when your mom tells you to drink more milk, but when Steven Tyler tells you, you listen. Click the image for more examples.

To learn more of why feedback is so important, refer to the text: The Practice of Public Relations by Fraser P. Seitel.


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