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Communication channels, audiences and groups

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    Introduction

                            Before any organization can think of implementing sound communication channels, there is a need to understand the background to effective communication which is strategic communication. Strategic communication refers to the process of disseminating information to a group of people and obtaining the opinions and thoughts of those recipients about impending issues addressed by the disseminating party. Therefore, strategic communication is not one-sided; instead, it is consensus based and enhances development within any business entity. (Walker, 2006)

    Improving strategic communication channels

                            The first step towards establishing a pragmatic approach in communication is coming up with a strategic communication plan. This is an assessment of the communication needs of one’s audience. Such needs may be determined by prior research. The plan also involves an evaluation of the key resources available to any given organization. There should be ample brainstorming by all the stakeholders within the respective organization. The thoughts and opinions of external experts should also be sought in this step. (Walker, 2006)

                            Besides the latter issue, organizations need to have goals and objectives for their communication issues. This should be done sequentially in that there should be an overall goal and other minor objectives. The goal needs to identify the major problem occurring within that organization. (Walker, 2006)

                            The next issue is in regard to defining their target audience. It should be noted that there are certain communication channels that receive universal acceptance regardless of the type of audience. The first attribute is a simplified set of action, the second is effectiveness of the communication channel and the third is convenience. Besides these general aspects, there is a need to look into the specifics of one’s audience. Here, the issue of demographics must be analyzed where a communicator must look into the ethnic, racial, gender and age issues. (Walker, 2006)

                            It is very necessary to ensure that on can determine the nature of the materials and messages to be communicated. This is the sole determinant of the communication channels to be used in the communication. This is then followed by the actual process of selecting the type of communication channels necessary in the process. Communication channels should be selected on the basis of the target audience. The communication channels should also incorporate objectives listed in the latter section. Sometimes communication may be done in order to build skills, in other instances it may be necessary to create social norms or they may be necessary to raise awareness. All these issues dictate different communication channels. It is necessary to ask oneself whether a newspaper or a television screen would convince one’s target audience because different groups have different appeals. Communication channels are largely determined by budgetary constraint; some communication channels such as Brochures may be more affordable to a particular company than placing a story in a national newspaper. The best communication channel is one that will be exposed frequently to one’s target audience. Consequently, a pragmatic approach would involve selecting a communication channel that would expose one’s message severally. Besides this, communicators ought to consider the issue of using various communication channels. This solidifies the chances of reaching one’s target audience consequently effecting change within the organization. (Walker, 2006)

    Conclusions

                            Choosing the right communication channels is a holistic process that starts by choosing the right communication objectives. This is then followed by conducting a thorough audience analysis where issues of demography must be considered in the communication strategy. Thereafter, the process of selecting channels commences and it should adhere to al the audience and objective goals set out in the former section of the communication strategy. (Walker, 2006)

    Reference:

    Robyn Walker (2006): Strategic Business Communication: An Integrated, Ethical Approach; South-Western College Publishers

     

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