Effective Public Communication

Young woman giving public speech at work seminar
Young woman giving public speech at work seminar (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Communication is a complex process of exchanging messages through words, symbols, expressions and body language. Public communication involves the sending and receiving of messages on a large scale to and from the general public. Public communication includes mass media, public relations and public speaking, but can include any form of sending a message to a large group of people. Effective public communication is a skill that is learned and perfected over time.

Public Communication Defined

Public communication is the sending and receiving of messages on a large scale that impacts groups of people. For the communication to be considered effective, the messages must be clearly and accurately sent and received with a high degree of comprehension.


Different communications have different purposes. An effective public communication is one that accomplishes its purpose. For example, a journalist writes a news story to inform the public, while an advertiser crafts a message to appear on the same page of the newspaper to persuade the audience to purchase a product. Effective public communication is used to inform or to persuade, as well as to entertain and inspire. Some communications are designed simply to promote goodwill.

Channels and Media

Effective public communication is delivered to its audience over a variety of channels, or media. Public speaking in any form is considered public communication, whether a school assembly, a business meeting or a presidential speech. Mass media, such as broadcast or print media, is another channel which can be used effectively for public communications. More recently, social media like Twitter and Facebook have broadened the range of channels available for effective public communication.


The result of effective public communication depends on the message's purpose. A teacher's message can be deemed effective if students perform well on tests. Effective advertisements are those which lead to increased sales. Some messages' effectiveness, especially those with a spiritual or inspirational purpose, are harder to measure than others'. For instance, one measure of a preacher's effectiveness might be the weekly offering, but how well the sermon accomplishes its purpose - an increase in righteousness - is harder to measure.

Crafting Effective Public Communications

When crafting a public communication, consider your purpose and orient your message accordingly. Avoid getting carried away on a tangent. Consider the most entertaining commercials you've seen on television, for example. Can you remember what they were advertising? No matter how entertaining a message might be, if the audience cannot remember the point, it is not an effective message.

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