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Communications Theater

Communications, as has been discussed, involves far more than verbal exchanges between speaker and listener. It is also a form of theater, a pageantry of drama, history, and symbolism. It is important for leaders to keep a dramatic image in mind. We find such moments everywhere.

When the last pile of rubble was hauled from the site of Ground Zero at the World Trade Center, there was a marking of the moment. Again and again we heard that there would be no music, no speeches—just silence. It was a fitting moment of reflection to remember those who had died in the horrible and unprovoked attack.

Conventions are another form of communications theater. Whenever people united in a single purpose are gathered together, whether it is an annual convention of union members or a quadrennial presidential political convention, there are set activities that occur. Some groups open with the Pledge of Allegiance and close with a song. Political conventions are designed to peak at the selection of the presidential candidate and the candidate's address to the group and the nation. These are moments with a time-honored tradition. Consider them as part of the liturgy of the organization. They are rooted in the culture of the event. Therefore, leaders must know their meaning and abide by their significance. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

Communications theater is a time-honored tradition. The selection of the right background or the proper use of symbols can make the leadership message resonate more deeply than words alone can and allow it to be understood on an emotional level that rings true and helps bond the leader to her or his followers.


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