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Worldview – we’re all off! – Torchia Communications
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Worldview – we’re all off!

Worldview – we’re all off!

 

 

Circa 1995, I picked up a 680-page book that my father had brought home from work, Excellence in Public Relations and Communications Management, first edition, written by James E. Grunig. Having watched dad practice PR from a young age, and with my fascination with textbooks, I thought I’d give it a read. As I started, I couldn’t understand why so much of its first pages were devoted to the concept of worldview. Nineteen at the time, I had no clue what the word truly meant and its inclusion in a PR textbook really threw me for a loop. It took ten years, a move to Toronto and a cabby – with a different worldview – to bring perfect clarity to the concept. It’s hard for me to say it – but I must. In a short 20-minute drive from my small condo home to Pearson Airport, this driver revealed to me the extent to which he believed in honour killing and beating his spouse and family members — and doing it all for the honour of his name and family line. I left that cab ride expressing to him the value I placed on life and respect in the worth of each person — not to mention a spinning head and shaking body. He apologized for sharing too much. I instantly realized, even through an awkward and abrupt drop-off dance, that certain commonalities in worldviews was an absolute requisite for effective communication between two persons. In that short, brutally honest exchange, we weren’t simply disagreeing; we were seeing the world with absolutely diverging lenses. He placed primary value on his idea of honour; I did the same with life and respect for one’s freedom. Compromise seemed out of reach. I think of that man to this day – but especially now as we witness disturbing events around the continent. I can’t help but feeling we’re facing the same type of asymmetrical worldviews – only on a massive scale.

I wish I could remember Grunig’s solution to this worldview-divergence pickle. Perhaps it’s in his book. But, since I’ve practiced his style of PR for now 15 years, I can venture an educated guess it all starts with listening and awareness of our differences. But I can tell you this: it certainly helps if both parties respect life, freedom, the inherent worth of the other and democracy.

 

Daniel Torchia, APR, is managing director and partner at Torchia Communications.