President Obama’s scorecard as Communicator-in-chief

How do you determine whether you’re communicating effectively? By evaluating results. You set objectives, sometimes referred to as goals in the blogosphere, for your effort, be it a blog, a presentation, etc. and then you use some appropriate means to measure effect. Now your objectives need to be realistic and attainable, and there are short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives as well so be sure you know which you are assessing. The process of goal-setting must be carefully done. It’s easy to confuse your primary goal with secondary objectives necessary to reach the primary goal. In other words, there can be a hierarchy of goals to consider.

For example, take my recent post about Earth Hour: https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/29/earth-hour-nonverbal-and-symbolic-communication/ The sponsoring organization earthhour.org clearly has as its primary medium-term objective:  to influence the up-coming Global Climate Change Conference in  December, 2009 to move governments around the world to take action against global warming. The means which they have devised to achieve this end is to present a billion “votes for earth” evidenced by the symbolic act of turning off lights in one’s home, business, municipality, wherever. This is the secondary objective.  As another example, increasing traffic to a blog could be construed as a primary objective, but in and of itself number of hits and views is not consequential. What happens because of the increased visits to the site is what ought to be the basis for defining the primary goal. 

Goal setting deserves and will eventually receive its own attention on this blog, but for right now, I just needed to set forth some generalities before launching into an appraisal of how our new president is doing in regards to his communication efforts to date. I have raised the matter of  the administration’s developing “communications strategy” in at least two previous posts. Now might be a good time to pause and have a look at this one: https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/26/president-obama-and-communication-experimentation/  and this one as well: https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/20/president-obama-on-late-night-tv/

Come on back when your done, I’ll wait…waiting…waiting…waiting. OK, let’s assume the administration’s primary goal is to get this economy moving again. Fair assumption I think as it has been stated as “job one” about one thousand times. From a communications standpoint the means to this end is to pump confidence back into an abjectly deflated populace, ergo, enter our secondary objective.

Now enter the New York Times/CBS News Poll just released. The headline in the New York Times is: “Poll Finds New Optimism on Economy Since Inauguration”; so the combination of late night TV, virtual town halls, prime time news conferences, et al. just might be paying off.  The number of people who think the country is going in the right direction has moved from 15% in January, pre-Obama, to 39% now. The number who believe it’s going in the wrong direction dropped to 53% vs. 79% in prior polling. The percentage feeling that the economy is getting worse has gone from 54%, pre-Obama, to 34% at this point in time.

One person, in a follow up interview conducted in conjunction with the poll, said “It’s psychology more than anything else,” It’s effective communications more than anything else, and if you’re keeping score, the strategy seems to be working.

For the Complete New York Times Article on the recent poll go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/us/politics/07poll.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/04/08/president-obamas-scorecard-as-communicator-in-chief/

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