Influencing Audiences

Let’s return to a fundamental question: how can you craft a message that will be effective to your purpose, based on the channel you are using and the audience you are addressing?

People causally identify the channel and the audience. In the Department of Communication, we have faculty and students who craft messages for a wide variety of purposes, including:

  • News articles, issue summaries, blog posts, and profiles for print and electronic journalism outlets

  • Public service announcements (PSAs) for health campaigns

  • Intros, outros, and bumpers for radio programs

  • Speeches for everything from forensics and debate tournaments to political campaigns

  • Research papers, reports, journal articles, and books to present research results, summarize issues, or make the case for specific policies.

  • Creative audio, video, and multimedia projects and presentations for personal and professional self-expression

In addition, everyday we all craft messages for our own interpersonal communication with individuals and small groups.

One way to describe the task of every faculty and student project is: what will make your communication effective? On one level, effectiveness depends on your purpose: are you attempting to inform? To persuade? To entertain?

On another level, effectiveness is in the eye (and ear) of the beholder. Yet there are basic principles and a wide range of tips and techniques for making specific messages effective. Our faculty devote their careers to uncovering these principles and refining these techniques. Our students then use the faculty’s expertise to succeed in whatever professional field they choose.