Politics‎ > ‎

Communications theories

A random compendium of theories and rules for effective communication. Follow the links for more information on each insight.

Don't be such a scientist

Randy Olson's approach to connecting with people who aren't cerebral nerds, based on his acting and film making training and experiences.
  1. Connect to the four organs:
    1. Brain - facts and reasoning
    2. Heart - emotions and feeling
    3. Gut - prejudices and instict
    4. Crotch - sex!

  2. Arouse and fulfill, don't be too literal minded in your presentation

  3. Tell a story, find the tension or conflict and construct a narrative around it

  4. Don't be unlikeable, don't talk down to people, don't come across as excessively negative

  5. Find your authentic voice that can convey a rational, emotional and instinctive depth

Politics and the English language

George Orwell's rules for good writing.
  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never us a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous

Making a good frame

George Lakoff's work on linguistics shows how words or phrases can "frame" a topic by linking it to particular ideas or associations. Evoking the frame, or negating it, simply reinforces the frame. So, for example, if the opposition argues for "tax relief" it is pointless saying "I disagree with tax relief" because you are fighting something good - relief.

He suggests four steps to developing an effective frame:
  1. Pick out the relevant core values for this issue.
  2. Write down how your position follows from these values.
  3. Articulate the facts and their consequences within this moral framing.
  4. Define us and them within this moral frame.

Subpages (1): The Political Brain