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Student Question

How does effective communication incorporate the basic elements of communication?

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Effective communication takes into account all the basic elements of communication and uses them well. 

  • Speaker: Aristotle considered the ethos of the speaker the most significant factor in making a speech persuasive. This includes both extrinsic ethos, in the sense of a speaker's reputation, and intrinsic ethos, or how the speaker portrays him or herself in a speech. For extrinsic ethos, having expertise reflected in advanced degrees or tangible achievements will make a speaker more credible. For intrinsic ethos, using language well (i.e. no grammatical errors, pronouncing words correctly) and being polite and respectful towards your audience contribute to persuasiveness.
  • Audience: Communicating effectively requires adapting your message to the nature of your audience. Just as you speak differently to your grandmother than you do to your friends, so the language you use at a frat party is probably not appropriate for a formal business environment.
  • Message: Your message should be clearly presented and logically consistent.You should use multiple forms of evidence and argument to support your message and you should stay on topic. 
  • Medium: You should choose the most appropriate medium for your audience and message. A short pithy comment might suit Twitter, but a complex discussion of a sensitive topic might be best held in person. 

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