“The ART of Responsible Communication”

This week our assigned reading is a book written by another professor within the school of journalism. I’ve just finished reading Part 1 of David Remund’s “The ART of Responsible Communication” for a strategic planning class that I’m taking as a part of the public relations series. The first part of the book discussed the different factors that play into “responsible communication” and why it is important that public relations practitioners should attempt to apply these factors to their workspace.

Remund describes responsible communication as, “Taking ownership of, and accountability for clear, candid, and consistent dialogue about values-based decisions. In other words, demonstrating daily that you sincerely care about ethical, moral, and social values, and all of the internal and external stakeholders who have a vested interest in your organization, institution, jurisdiction, or cause” (Remund 15).

I’ve always considered three kinds of communication: aggressive, passive and responsible. “Responsible” is the goal of a PR practitioner. Remund splits up “responsible communication” into three parts: accessibility, responsiveness and transparency. As a PR student, all three apply. In school, and later in the professional world, we have a special obligation to work ethically and transparently with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public. We engage and inform our key publics through the relationships that we build on being accessible and responsive to their goals, which is why Remund mentions the word “dialogue.” In building trust with your key publics, you create the honest relationship that results in loyalty for years.

My senior year of high school I was the student body president. In this position “dialogue,” opposed to what Remund described as “monologue,” was an important thing to consider at all times. Remund states, “You communicate when you listen to someone and respond to the information they have shared with you in return” (Remund 15).

Even though I was in a position that often required me to delegate tasks out to committees, it was important for me to communicate with people at all times. Asking questions about their strengths, weaknesses, the things they enjoy, and the things that stress them out helped me respond by assigning tasks effectively so my groups could succeed.

Being accessible was another part of being a president. It was important to have multiple ways students could easily approach and communicate ideas or opinions with any of the student council members or myself in order to make sure school events could most accurately represent the entire student body. Or as Remund puts it, “in order to help others maximize their contributions to the organization” (Remund 6).

Although I can identify how being accessible and responsive has helped me be an A-R-T leader in the past, in the future it’s my goal to improve transparency in leadership and communication.

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