Communication and risk can be viewed as two very separate terms. However, communication and risk are predominantly becoming terms used together more and more often. Especially since the world is dominated by the media, the Internet and technology, all of which come with risk. This essay aims to explain these two terms respectively and further describe their correlation to one another.
First and foremost, the terms ‘communication’ and ‘risk’ must be defined in order to understand further how these two separate terms may relate to one another. Communication, is simply the method in which one conveys information to another person or audience in an attempt to establish a mutual understanding. This also implies that should a mutual understanding fail to occur, communication has not taken place.
Risk, on the other hand, is described as the measurable likelihood of a loss, damage, or forfeiture. The way in which risk can be measured is hazard, exposure and vulnerability. It is stated that the increase of either of these elements results in the increase of risk, whereas the decrease of these elements results in a decrease of risk.
Risk communication is defined as a collaborative and continuous procedure that requires those communicating the risk to participate in dialogue with their public. However, the theory behind risk communication plays a vital role in understanding the role and importance of risk communication. In order for risk communication to be effective and successful, it must be handled with effort and skill with regards to both the sender and receiver. Therefore, risk communicators need to listen to their audience and understand that their audience cannot be passive.
Risk Communication can be broken down into three main phases. These three phases include Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Preparedness refers to communicating possible risks and the measures that have been put in place should the risks become reality. Response, or crisis communication, refers to communicating with the public once the risks have become reality. Recovery refers to communicating after the event has been dealt with and advice, support or assistance is needed from the senders to their audience.
In conclusion, the understanding of risk communication as an interactive process is vital in order to assess various crisis situations, respond in a way that is appropriate to the situations and its audience, as well as provide guidance and support with positive communication.
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