What is Great Communication?

September 15, 2016

Michael Rauh

My wife Annette and I recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with a trip to Italy. We spent a beautiful evening touring the Vatican Museums, including the spectacular Sistine Chapel, with its ceiling painted by Michelangelo and walls painted by a team of other renowned Renaissance artists. Like most artwork at the time, these images were designed to communicate biblical stories to the masses, virtually none of whom could read or write. My knowledge of the bible is pretty sketchy, but it didn’t take long to get the point, by looking at these paintings—if you make the right choices, you get to hang out with angels in the clouds listening to music. Make the wrong choices and you’re down with the horned guys in a fire pit getting poked at with a pitchfork. It struck me that the world we live in today, with so many new, fast and glamorous ways of “communicating” aren’t necessarily an improvement, unless they’re used correctly. Great communication, even a thousand years later, still involves “painting a picture” for someone. This could be literal, through artwork, photography, animation, etc. but also through the appropriate use of metaphors and analogies. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Imagine what Michelangelo could have done if he had access to Instagram.

Michael Rauh