Re: Audience, Power, and Authority

Subject: Re: Audience, Power, and Authority
From: Michael Keene <MKEENE -at- UTKVX -dot- UTK -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 15:49:00 -0500

> RoMay Sitze says...
> >The audience to a large extent determines both style and purpose.
> >
> Tom Pearsall said...
> >The need to know your audience has been around at least since Aristotle.

David Blyth wrote...
> If communication fails, then perhaps it would help if you understood
the topic BEFORE you started talking. If you pointed a gun at my head and
said "Pick one: understand your topic or be aware of your audience". I
would try to understand what I am saying. Thus, I maintain that a topic is
more important than an audience.

Mike Keene would add (searching before Aristotle):
What we need is a word for the way in which one knows (can know? needs to
know?) a topic before an audience ever comes along. Of course there are
topics that don't exist at all before the audience. But for many
topics--welding, for instance--we would want the person writing the
research report on it to know it, in some way, at some level,
independently of any audience whatsoever. The problems come from
hardliners, me included, who tell the welding researcher, "If you can't
explain it to me so that I can understand it, I don't think you really
know it." We need one word for the kind of knowing that can exist apart
from "knowing-how-to-explain-it" and another for the knowing that is all
intertwined with "knowing-how-to-explain-it." Was it Zeno who said that
the former is "knowledge," represented by a closed fist (?=power?) and the
latter is "understanding," that fist enclosed in another hand
(?=authority?)? So maybe the situation is that our clients come to us with
knowledge, and we help them turn it into understanding?

Mike Keene
mkeene -at- utkvx -dot- utk -dot- edu

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