Communication does not "just happen." Effective communication requires effective strategy - a coherent plan of action. To be effective, strategy must take three factors into account simultaneously:
- Your goals and objectives;
- Operational constraints and imperatives -
things you must do and things you cannot do;
- Pertinent conditions in the environment.
When your objectives involve communicating with others (when do they not?), the most pertinent environmental conditions consist of the ideas that your publics have about you and your objectives. It is sometimes said that "perception is reality." More to the point: Your publics' perception is your reality.
Our communications approach to research is based on four premises:
- People respond not to the world as you see it, but to the world as they see it. They frame your issue in their mental pictures of the situation.
- Effective communication starts with hearing and understanding rather than talking and trying to convince. We know in our personal lives that the more we know about someone, the more effective we can be in communicating with him/her. This is no less true in a public setting, but it is more difficult.
- Communication is what the receiver does. Until and unless your "message" is heard and understood by the persons you are trying to reach, it is just noise.
- There are no magic bullets. There is no single message that is going to connect with everyone.