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Submit and share your media, communication and development policy thoughts, observations and analysis with The CI network. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Explanation of Situational Crisis Communication Theory and how it can be applied in crisis management.
In round 2 of my visual triage of proven models (evaluating usefulness for my thesis), I was able to narrow down the total from 70 to 34. I don’t know about you, but when I put the pictures of AIDA, SPIN, ADAPT and SIER (turned on its head) next to one another, they all say the same thing, just with different words and a different point of view.
Do you know examples of current research, where clever academics just reword the obvious because they didn’t look hard enough?
Or better: Do you think this is a problem based on the effects of a scarcity-mentality, not-invented-here syndrome and limited access to research sources? This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Germany License. Wij maken bedrijven, organisaties en overheden bestand tegen crisissen door hen te adviseren, op te leiden en te trainen in de domeinen risico, crisis en verandering. Daarnaast koppelen we voortdurend praktische expertise aan academische kennis en integreren we zo de nieuwste inzichten in onze werking. For years, organisations have been searching for the most appropriate form of communication. For example, when you just address your personnel about a modification in the opening hours of the company restaurant or the availability of the tennis court, you will act in a very simple way. However, if you are about to initiate a major change in the company structure or strategy, you do not have the same objectives and the same expectations: the way you are going to regard your communication strategy and the means you are going to use will thus be completely different. Early theories on communication are mainly based on a mathematical process, whereas the transfer of information is the key objective: a source produces a piece of information, which is received by a recipient. This requires encoding (a text or an announcement has to be written first) and decoding of the information (the receiver of the information has to read or listen to the message and interpret it).
In combination with this model, other researchers also stressed the importance of the feedback and even a feedforward. Basically, this mathematical model has been the prevailing corporate communication theory where communication is only an instrument supporting the achievement of a company’s goals by just sending out messages and making sure that the receiver gets all the information as clearly as possible.
There are three major obstacles to the main objectives of traditional communication strategies. The first one is that a receiver rarely gets one single message concerning one topic from one unique and reliable source; he or she receives messages from different sources.
Finally, the third obstacle is that each individual in an organisation refers to his own background, his own personal experience to process information and construct perceptions that are not necessarily in line with the objectives of the sender’s communication. In recent years, new trends in managerial thinking have gradually introduced a different view of corporate communication as a genuine management instrument, where mere one-way communication is no longer regarded as efficient. Taking the limitations of the traditional communication models into account, you have to realise that a rather complex and impactful communication needs a different approach. Every company values feedback as crucial because it gives valuable information on how communication is perceived. The perception of the receiver is influenced by various elements; the general context (society), the particular context (company, organisation) and the personal context (specific mental frame) of the receiver at a given time. Sensemaking is about how someone acts, based on a retrospective interpretation of past experiences and on assumptions about the future. When one scans information, which is the first step of sensemaking, one searches for clues to connect the abstract with something familiar; a past experience, or simply some tacit knowledge. This scanning leads to the next phase: interpretation, which is the development or application of ways of comprehending the meaning of information.
The importance of perception is a constant variable throughout the managerial and communication process: the way the communication strategy will be analysed and designed, the choice of appropriate means and channels, the way you are going to get constant feedback from the very beginning of the process will have a crucial impact on the expected outcome.
Even if it sounds obvious that the general (society) and the particular context (organisation) are usually taken into account, the particular context for a given group or individuals is quite another challenge: how do individuals make sense of information and how can the manager correctly analyse it?
When we talk about communication, the best example is a personal briefing or a collective meeting: let us just forget about strategy and means and focus on the way a manager communicates directly with an employee. John: We had a good meeting with all the people involved in the department and we drew up several interesting best practices that have helped us avoid some mistakes.

Manager: Do you think it will allow you to improve your collaboration with the technical department? On the other hand, if you appeal to his positive experiences, the person you are speaking to will adopt a constructive approach more easily. It is obvious that the way you communicate depends largely on the topic you have to communicate. You first have to recognise your purpose: there is a difference between you and the audience that you'd like to resolve in a specific way. The second one, ethos, is the audience's perception of a speaker's character as conveyed through the persuasion. You can create an inauthentic ethos, but unless you're a great actor, it's hard to disguise yourself.
There has been a trend for years to consider that communication is management, that communication is part of the strategy, and that communication is strategy. The way you ask questions has an immediate impact on the team member sitting in front of you.
A few weeks ago, I facilitated a communications workshop for the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF), a research program from the CGIAR, the global partnership of nonprofit agricultural research centers. We locked ourselves up for a week, to realign the organisation’s key communications messages and tools, and to integrate an online communications strategy, as a key component of a strategic communication approach. While this case study is, of course, geared to the work of CPWF, the process we followed can be used in many other cases. The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) kindly allowed me to use examples and extracts from our communications strategy workshop. With a sincere thanks to the CPWF staff in the workshop: Alain Vidal, Amanda Harding, Tonya Schultz, Michael Victor and Ilse Pukinskis. Michael and Ilse also contributed large parts to this post and were crucial in the success of the workshop. For the time being, you can print it with one of the social icons at the bottom of the post, though. Yahoo PipesWP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better.
LegalThis blog expresses my personal opinions, and not those of my current or past employers. Design and communication has traditionally been viewed only as an extension of a development program, and when visual communication is employed, designers, artists, communication planners, and program managers neglect the needs of their audience.
There is a need for group, age, gender-specific communication material for a rural context. At least in India, too many programs relying oonly on awareness building and not doing enough formative research to identify the stage of change on which to focus.
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AIDA shows the overall aim of the step, SPIN and ADAPT what to focus on and SIER reminds us to listen. Well, this is certainly not a unique example, but my question is this: Do the same things happen today as well (in the days of the internet, where everybody is connected to everything)? Your objective is to inform people about a mere factual matter with a quite restricted impact on the life of the organisation and the individual and for which you should not expect any (major) discussion. In other words, just check if your message has been correctly received, and evaluate the reactions of the receivers.
As the prevailing communication strategies are based on research carried out in a clinical-like environment where single message communication was tested, it makes most of those communication strategies obsolete. All these elements will result in a different meaning for each individual and will contribute to create a different perception.
Based on the scanning and the subsequent interpretation of the obtained information, there is a response in action that will lead to an outcome or performance. Your strategic choices and your interpersonal skills will heavily influence the impact and success of your communication. Anyway, I think our request was clear enough but they didn’t regard our project as a priority. We couldn’t do it with the technical department and it actually went wrong in some way with them. In the first example, the manager focuses on mistakes, on the negative aspect of the project. His immediate emotions will connect him with very positive personal experiences and easily bring him into a mindset where he can be constructive.

Once an audience senses you're faking it, you have little chance of convincing them of anything (except that you're untrustworthy!). But if you aren't sure of what you're trying to do, who you're trying to persuade, and how you can use the persuasive resources available in the situation, the media won't matter.
Even if they are important, means and communication channels are only a small part of a communication strategy. Asking positive questions, carefully listening to the answers, and not always trying to impose your views will tend to install the receiver in a positive mindset. I published them in their raw format which doesn’t necessarily reflect the final and approved versions.
For my easy of reading through, do you have like a pdf file of this content which I can print and read offline? Flemish, aid worker, blogger, expeditioner, sailor, traveler, husband, father, friend, nutcase.
Designers create one-size-fits-all messages, and communication managers follow professional communication strategies.
Are the internet’s serendipity mechanisms (like twitter users or the facebook stream)¬†good enough already to prevent this?
In this case a very simple one-way communication model will thus be adequate and you will use simple and adapted means: posters and general e-mailing to reinforce the basic communication will be enough to achieve your objective.
Or even better, know, before you communicate, what the expectations of the receivers will be in view of the general context and the specific topic you are going to communicate about. Even in the best situation, the receiver is only taken into account to improve the efficiency of the message.
From a managerial point of view, it also provides a good opportunity to assess the day-to-day evolution of a given project.
And this, of course, does not necessarily have anything to do with a strict rational analysis. In the second example, he first tries to get feedback from the project focussing on the positive part.
Your audience, after all, comprises the people who have the power to meet your purpose - or not. It would be comforting to think that business decisions are made strictly according to reason. So concise that I wanted to make it into a presentation and I ended up copy-pasting almost everything. However, there is a blatant disconnect between the sender of visual messages ? who are typically urban, educated professionals ? and the receiver of the message ? who are often rural, illiterate villagers ? in development programs. Most of the time, feedback is collected via written questionnaires or surveys, and thus generally results in a more quantitative than a qualitative view. Therefore you cannot expect the same perception of your communication for each and every individual, even if they live in the same general and (why not) the same particular context. I mean, we did our best but from the outset the technical division did not collaborate with us. However, research in psychology, cognitive sciences and behavioural economics has shown that emotion infuses everything we do, including thinking and decision-making. The downside of written questionnaires is that they produce figures and equations, which usually don’t give a full insight into the real motivation of the answers, questions and reactions you get. And if your first emotion immediately brings you back to a very negative experience, the way you are going to process the information will influence the whole process of sensemaking. This tends to demonstrate that the way you ask questions will influence the answers you get. Argument is the primary vehicle for this type of persuasion; a conclusion backed by supporting statements and evidence.
If you just consider these reactions following a complete rational and logical process, you will probably misunderstand the real essence of the feedback you get from the floor. When you focus on flaws, failures, negative points, the individual you are addressing also sticks to negative issues and goes into defensive mode. Moreover, if he is overwhelmed by bad experiences and connects them to negative fall-outs, this will prevent his brain from adopting a constructive attitude.

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