Posted by: JennyRain | October 9, 2009

You said What?!? The Art of Effective Communication

Is the meaning in the message in the message given or the message received?

I have long grappled with this question, trying to forge more effective and responsible communication channels in my workplace, personal life, and ministry activities. It has been a life-long effort – Communication is difficult!

Irresponsible Communication

This season, I have been trying to ascertain the truth behind the nasty PR surrounding the race for VA Governor.

Both candidates have aired advertisements asserting that numerous papers have published statements that if examined critically – are in direct opposition to each other. For example, one candidate quotes the Post’s assertation this his opponent “prohibited access to birth control for married couples.” The other candidate quotes the Post saying that there is no indication that said candidate opposed birth control for married couples.

How can both claims possibly be true?

It gets worse for the average-Joe voter like me. Amidst the confusing TV ads like these from Candidate Deeds (and this one) as well as this from McDonnell, I attempted to Google the candidates hoping to find a non-partisan summary so that I could see the truth for myself. I wanted a site that encapsulated both opponents views on different topics as well as a summary of their voting record.

Because there was so much rhetoric surrounding this campaign, I never did find a site that provided anything for me but more biased rhetoric and PR. Yuk.

What messages have I received from this irresponsible communication?

  1. Both candidates are shifty and more smoke and mirrors than substance.
  2. As it pertains to politics all information is skewed – so why attempt to learn – for that matter – why vote at all?
  3. In this age of information overload – he who saturates with the most information wins!

Responsible Communication

Contrast this with how Twitter handled reporting news from the elections in Iran. Because of the ban on media, social networking avenues were the only media outlets reporting what was actually happening in Iran directly following the elections.

So Twitter realized their critical role in this election process and made the responsible communication decision to work their network upgrade around the elections. I was a fan of Twitter prior to this, however, this decision heightened my loyalty to them by a factor of about 1000!

In an age where information abounds but accountability for responsible communication is non-existent, what steps do we, as information consumers need to take?

What messages have I received from this responsible communication?

  1. Twitter may be a social networking avenue – but I can find more accurate news with my peers than with news sources like CNN/Fox/Post/Times (name your flavor…)
  2. Twitter’s agenda includes providing a reputable communication vehicle for its consumers (hence: It is consumer minded!)
  3. In the future, if I want to get accurate information on candidates – I will do a Twitter poll rather than look in any of the local news sources.

So – to me – the meaning of the message is in the message received, not the one sent. And the message received (for all you news sources out there) is not always the one you intended to send!




  1. Jenny, this is a very helpful, careful respose to our broken communications environment today. Thank you for responsible thinking about a difficult problem, and for giving me solid positive reasons to network on Twitter.

    • Thanks Pastor Charlie,
      It’s also really fun to twitter too 🙂 Hope you are well!
      Blessings & Peace+ Jenny

  2. […] First Tweet 1 day ago jennyrain Jenny Rain You said What?!? The art of effective communication: view retweet […]

  3. Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

  4. Thanks for reading Savannah – if you ever do start one, let me know 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!


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