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Theories from long ago: How I found my marketing, communications and PR roots

July 28, 2010

A few weeks ago, at the not-so-subtle urging of my parents, I sorted through the contents of a heavy, cardboard box left at my childhood home. I had a pleasant surprise upon pulling off the fading tape holding it together. The entire space was filled with college textbooks, notebooks and papers from my time at Michigan State University.

It's fun finding old books and notes from days long ago!

As I browsed through the stacks, which brought back a rush of memories from those glorious four years, I came across materials from two classes that held significant importance to me. These intro-level lectures within MSU’s top-ranked Communication Arts and Sciences College covered two topics that changed the course of my studies: human communication and public relations. I began pouring through the notes in well-worn notebooks and textbooks from a time when I was still an undecided college sophomore, reveling in the definitions and theories that would form the foundation of my future career.

These classes truly were, and continue to be, hugely important in my understanding of creating engaging marketing and public relations programs.  This simple reason comes down to one fact, that communication is one of the most important functions we humans encounter each day, and utilizing those skills to influence others is a remarkable feat.

Some of the beautiful, simple notes I found and fell back in love with are listed below, and serve as reminders of why I entered the marketing and communications profession after years of indecision about my future career.

Communication has four important elements*:

  1. Influence: the altering of one another’s attitudes, values, and behaviors
  2. Information exchange: the sending and receiving of messages
  3. Mean: the recognition and interpretation of patterns
  4. Symbolic language: the system of meaningful patterns we use to communicate

 “The essence of communicating is connection.”*

“Strategy” is defined as how a concept can be achieved.

Materials for public relations programs should be appropriate, meaningful, understandable and believable.

*Donohue, William A., and Lisa L. Massi Lindsey. Communicating and Connecting: Functions of Human Communication 2nd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 2002.

Did you have any favorite classes in high school or college that helped shape your future? What lessons did you learn from them?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. franktartaglia permalink
    July 28, 2010 3:49 pm

    Thank you
    I have enjoyed the article
    best regards
    Frank

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