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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  24 process forms one axis and the view of meaning the other. The resultant model thus has four squares, which can be seen as part of the basic communications competencies of public relations. I refer to this model as the Communication Grid. 6. The Communication Grid explained The four fields identified in the matrix can be seen as strategies of public relations. Each has its own theory, which sets out those conditions under which these strategies could be applicable and could, therefore, realistically be deployed. The four strategies constitute the “tool-kit” of public relations so to speak. Anyone wishing to manage the organization’s communications could use selected individual strategies to resolve specific communication problems. The matrix is therefore a situational diagram (see figure 2). Figure 2 The Communication Grid One way Information Persuasion Denotation Connotation Consensus building Dialogue Two way The square bounded by monitored one-way traffic and the denotative side of meaning provides the information strategy. Extension science refers to this as “providing information in order to help in forming opinions or decisions” (Ban, 1980; Woerkum, 1982). While the concept of help is open to discussion, this wording defines what belongs in this square, namely the strategy of informing someone about something. Press releases and public relations materials are often made just to inform.

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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24
process forms one axis and the view of meaning the other. The resultant model thus has four squares,
which can be seen as part of the basic communications competencies of public relations. I refer to this
model as the Communication Grid.
6. The Communication Grid explained
The four fields identified in the matrix can be seen as strategies of public relations. Each has its own
theory, which sets out those conditions under which these strategies could be applicable and could,
therefore, realistically be deployed. The four strategies constitute the “tool-kit” of public relations so
to speak. Anyone wishing to manage the organization’s communications could use selected individual
strategies to resolve specific communication problems. The matrix is therefore a situational diagram
(see figure 2).
Figure 2 The Communication Grid
One way
Information
Persuasion
Denotation
Connotation
Consensus building
Dialogue
Two way
The square bounded by monitored one-way traffic and the denotative side of meaning provides the
information strategy. Extension science refers to this as “providing information in order to help in
forming opinions or decisions” (Ban, 1980; Woerkum, 1982). While the concept of help is open to
discussion, this wording defines what belongs in this square, namely the strategy of informing
someone about something. Press releases and public relations materials are often made just to inform.


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