The effort to get a message across to a listener depends on three important things:
- The quality of the information on which the message is based;
- The process by which the information is analyzed;
- The effectiveness by which the message is communicated.
Put another way, in order to get your message across, you must employ Critical Skills.
The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, is an outstanding example of how this effort may be accomplished effectively. In fact, he demonstrates without a doubt that the communications skill can trump the information and analysis skill in a competition for the ear of American voters. He is supported by news outlets that mirror his methodology.
The communications skill is that skill that enables an individual to get ideas out of his/her head and into the heads of others through reading, writing, listening and/or speaking. Of the eight critical skills, Communications leads the pack in terms of importance and effectiveness.
Whether you agree with him or not, President Trump is a master of the communications skill – particularly the skills of writing and speaking in short bursts.
His writings (tweets) are short – limited by a set number of characters. He gets his message across without a demonstration of the validity of information on which his findings and conclusions are based.
Ignoring – either deliberately or accidentally – the validity of information leads to false conclusions or simply any conclusion that you might wish to draw.
Trump’s process of analysis is to start with his conclusion as fact, and then draw the same conclusion based on that stated conclusion.
This isn’t thinking; but it is extremely effective to sway those who want to hear the conclusion and don’t really take time to understand what is happening or that it is based on an illusion.
News outlets such as “Fox and Friends” or “Hannity” do the same thing – and, of course for those who find this disagreeable – so do others.
Just listen from time to time – you will observe the process of starting with a conclusion and then drawing a conclusion based on information that may or may not be true – or simply no information at all. One of the President’s advisor calls this information “alternative facts” – and does it with a straight face.
This is the process – what the tweet storms are all about.
Carnival barkers use it to convince the gullible to buy snake oil or to pay twenty-five cents to come into the side show and see the two-headed lady.
Sadly, the power of the internet, mass communications through cable news, biased news anchors, false information fed to social media by foreign powers – all contribute to soak individuals with what only can be described as bull shit.
Even sadder is that many individuals – many of them smart people – find it more convenient to accept what is communicated. they simply ignore the process of critical thinking based on valid information. I suppose this is because critical thinking is difficult.
So, these individuals take the easy way out; they abandon the use of their pre-frontal cortex and accept whatever conclusion is offered to them.
2 thoughts on “Communications Trumps Information and Analysis as Effective Critical Skills”
Charles C. Jett
Thanks, Ann – Happy Thanksgiving!!