Magazine article Communication World

From the Editor. (IABC Update)

Magazine article Communication World

From the Editor. (IABC Update)

Article excerpt

A friend and were having a debate. The metaphor we used was a person who doesn't want others to know he is a smoker. When asked, "Are you a smoker?" the person replies, "What? Are you kidding? That's a disgusting habit." Thus the questioner is left with the incorrect impression that the person is not a smoker.

My friend argued that the person didn't lie, he only 'positioned" himself as a nonsmoker. The receiver of the message simply construed a set of facts on her own.

My perception was different. I pointed out that although the person didn't lie in the technical sense, the implied intent was to misrepresent the situation--essentially to deceive. And that the giver of the message should, to some degree, be held accountable for how the message is perceived.

We went around in circles until we agreed to disagree. But the debate reminded me of the communication professional's philosophical dilemma of positioning an organization in the most positive light without crossing into misrepresentation--or even deception. …

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