Spend some time in a classroom today, Shannon Bowen's classroom at the University of South Carolina. As reported on PR Week, Dr. Bowen is a proponent of taking an opponent's view to understand it better. Walking in someone else's shoes seems one of her key techniques, and why not? Understanding what another is thinking, and why they're acting as they are, will help you meet your own communication objectives.
You've got to analyze issues from multiple perspectives, is Dr. Bowen's point. "Examining the opposite of your beliefs and assumptions," she explains, "may offer a powerful tool for thinking originally, innovatively, spotting weaknesses, and avoiding groupthink. The latter is a phenomenon that takes over when an assertive or powerful personality argues for one position." Yes, thinking contrarily can help you break through.
Dr. Bowen is a member of the board of trustees of the Arthur W. Page Society and the board of directors of the International Public Relations Research Conference.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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