Elements of Political Communication: General guidelines – Audience

A seventeenth century sketch of a Polish king looking over his audience, from the perspective of behind the audience.
Political figures have always had a keen interest in their audience, and for good reason.

Find your audience and address it directly. Adapt to its needs and interests, but use a consistent tone and style in whatever you produce. Informal or anecdotal pieces are fine, but don’t start with an informal introduction and finish with a formal analysis of the subject. Avoid colloquialisms, but don’t try to impress your audience by using words or phrases you don’t fully comprehend, since educated readers will notice any malapropisms. Conversely, don’t be afraid to use words or concepts that some readers might not understand. In the proper context, the use of slightly more esoteric (yet relevant) concepts can give your audience a sense of accomplishment and education.

ReviewEdit

Which of these uses the most consistent tone?
A: We saw their tired faces each Sunday when they held their bowl up to get their meager helping of soup. Seventy-two percent of those on the other side voted for HB XX, which will reduce funding for indigent persons by 34.39 percent.
B: We've seen the long-term trend of homelessness shift upwards dramatically. This bill will cut off the legs of our neediest citizens.
C: We saw their tired faces each Sunday when they held their bowl up to get their meager helping of soup. Now they have introduced HB XX, which will cut off the legs of our neediest citizens.
D: We've seen the long-term trend of homelessness shift upwards dramatically. Seventy-two percent of those on the other side voted for HB XX, which will reduce funding for indigent persons by 34.39 percent.
Answer: C. or D. While the first and second choices mix informal, anecdotal rhetoric with exact statistics, the third and fourth are more consistent. Sometimes, a personal connection to the story is necessary. Sometimes hard data is more important. Use what works in that situation.


Which of these uses the most consistent style?
A: The judge is biased against the African-American community and his black constituents are tired of his antics.
B: The judge is biased against the black community and his black constituents are tired of his antics.
C: The judge is biased against the black community and his African-American constituents are tired of his antics.
D: The judge is biased against the African-American community and his African-American constituents are tired of his antics.
Answer: B. or D. In this case, this is not an issue of political correctness. Either “African-American” or “black” is acceptable, but choose one or the other, whichever you are most comfortable using, and use it consistently.


Which of these sentences is the most effective?
A: The answer to this problem seems easy: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.
B: The answer to this problem seems easy: The simplest solution is usually the best.
C: The answer to this problem seems easy: Occam's Razor.
D: The answer to this problem seems easy: Simplicity.
Answer: B. Although most readers would understand the concept of Occam's Razor, they may perceive or remember the exact definition as one of many variations. Most will perceive the Latin phrase, literally meaning "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity", as a contrived approach. Although the single word "simplicity" is indeed the simplest approach, it does not convey the complete meaning in the clearest possible way.


Which of these sentences is correct?
A: A group of citizens has banded together to oppose our policies.
B: A group of citizens has banned together to oppose our policies.
C: A group of citizens has bandied together to oppose our policies.
D: A group of citizens has band together to oppose our policies.
Answer: A. A malapropism is the use of a word that sounds similar to another yet carries a different meaning from the one the author intended.[1] In this case, citizens have not banned (outlawed) or bandied (tossed) together; rather, they banded together. Although the two words sound similar and are often used interchangeably in casual conversation, they have different meanings.


Which of these is the most effective?
A: If our leaders aren't giving us a clear example of Parkinson's Law of Triviality, I don't know what else you could call it.
B: Our leaders are purposefully trying to distract us from a larger issue by having us argue about the details of a petty one. Can you say "Parkinson's Law of Triviality"?
C: In a classic example of Parkinson’s Law of Triviality, our leaders are purposefully trying to distract us from a larger issue by having us argue about the details of a petty one.
D: Parkinson's Law of Triviality, which states that "the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved," is clearly in effect here.
Answer: C. Parkinson's Law of Triviality does indeed state that "the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved,"[2] though most audiences are probably not familiar with the concept. If a person cannot reasonably understand the definition from the context (see the first choice), or if it may be misinterpreted as a separate concept (see the second choice), the allusion may distract from, rather than enhance, your message. If publishing on a website, you can also provide an inline link to a definition.


NotesEdit

Accuracy · Fairness

Last modified on 13 April 2013, at 17:29