Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Friday 27 April 2007

Practice what you preach!

Or how to make a simple communication strategy?
The Cepa toolkit and the blog are now four days on line. Still one of the best kept secrets. So far no reactions. It feels a bit lonely. Maybe this is how many National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Coordinators must feel, after finishing their work: We have a good document. It is widely available. How come it still is so silent? We need better communications! What is happening to me as a professional communicator?

So this is the plan. Today I send a mail to the team of authors asking for advice on the blog and if they want to participate. And invite ideas for publicity for the toolkit. I will also bring the toolkit and blog to the attention of other communicators in my network. Ask them for advice and invite them to make the URLs available to people in their networks who might be interested.

Later today I will discuss with the CBD Secretariat a PR and distribution plan for the hard copy version of the toolkit and discuss the possibility of making a direct link from the CBD website to the online version of the toolkit. I will ask IUCN also to make a direct link to the toolkit from the CEC website. And maybe they can post information on their news items.

Next week I will mail the URLs to all respondents of the websurveys for the toolkit and those who sent resources and gave feedback and advice. In the coming months there are several events where I will be present anyway where the toolkit can get exposure: e.g. the world environment education congress in Durban, the summer course on environmental communication in the Autonomous University of Madrid, etc. I will ask my co-authors to do the same.

Then later this year there are the regional workshops planned by SCBD, and which are being discussed with Ramsar, UNEP and UNFCCC. So far it all is free publicity. And by listening to the advice of others the communication plan will be perfect! We will monitor initial success by looking at hits and downloads. We will keep you posted! And if you have a good advice: post it!


Gillian Martin Mehers said...

You can also get the Blog (and the Toolkit) out by linking to other bloggers who have complementary blog topics (like strategic communication). I just did a blogsearch on and did not find another CEPA CBD blog out there yet. You could also set up a bloglines account ( to monitor who is linking to you, in order to see how far the information is going. When things go viral it is interesting to watch the spread, some of these tools can help.

Anonymous said...

I really liked your blog!! I enjoyed so much the type of language you are using "The Art of Positive Change", and the fact that you share such personal and wonderful stories to get key messages through.. (the story on your musical education with the violin and how that story connects with learning and the toolkit.. I loved it!)

Thank you so much also for sharing the CEPA toolkit´s URL, I could finally access such treasure so easily!! I still think we have to find a way (as we spoke in Switzerland) to scroll down more easily (moving from pdf to another more interactive format??), and that idea we shared on how to make it possible for people to send materials and upgrade the references, going previously through a peer group revision. We should get it in Spanish as soon as possible, how can I help you with this? Did Susana mention the possibilities for funding the Spanish version?

Suggestions: I think CEC should make A LOT of fuzz (promotion, launchings, e-mails to all IUCN members) on the CEPA Toolkit. This is such a key result for IUCN-CEC!! We should also make many CDs and printed copies, in order to distribute in the next CBD and other events. I will visit the CBO focal point in Ecuador to show him the toolkit!

Ana Puyol

Frits Hesselink said...

Thanks Gillian - I will devote some time to increase my blogging knowledge and skills on. But is is like Eddy said easier to ask some one to show me how to do it, than to read a manual, or open another internet account. Maybe the bloglines are still a zone too far from where my blogging learning is. Last week a few questions to Lizzie already were very helpful.

Frits Hesselink said...

Thanks Ana for the positive feedback and the suggestions to promote the toolkit. I send you already an email, but I just learned you can respond also by writing another comment! We are taking in your suggestions for PR and distribution. I also know that we have to quickly work on an on line version that is really user friendly. But we need some basic resources to get that done. I will let you know when plans are more concrete. I would appreciate if you let me know what the reaction was of the CBD focal point in Ecuador.

Anonymous said...

Communication is the key element in the catalytic elixir of change. Frits and his team have created a wonderful document that will provide the tools that the Biodiversity Conservation Community needs utilize to create the alchemy necessary to achieve the change that we all so desperately are hoping for. I agree with Frits –the silence is deafening…perhaps we in this field are not accustomed to adopt a new way of communicating? If this is true, then how could we ever expect our clients to adopt new ways of thinking and acting? As an “old dog” I know that I need to adapt and embrace these new ways of communicating – especially if I am going to reach my intended audience – the next generation of key conservation leaders.

I think the multiple channels proposed in this posting for communicating the opportunities that the CEPA toolkit offers, and the change within each one of us that is required is right on target. By combining a traditional communication and dissemination strategy with the new power of the Blog-o-shpere, we have a unique opportunity to reach the previously converted and talk beyond ourselves to spur advocates in the work that we do. My challenge to myself and all the “Old Dogs” who may be reading this posting is ---add you comments – get involved – try something new – embrace change – because if we do not, our path to irrelevancy will only be quickened! Frits, look for me to become a regularly contributor to your exciting new Blog, and keep pushing us to the new frontiers of communication strategy.

Frits Hesselink said...

Thanks Keith, I will try to find some creative ways to keep you involved. I am finding out for my self that blogging is not so much about a new technique - though I still have difficulties with some technical aspects - but more about people.

It is like being in the corridors full of people you do not know during the coffeebreak of a conference. You tell some one you do know a story, his response gives you a new idea a third person you do not known listens in and joins the conversation.

Before you know it becomes a circle of people with a lively discussion. If ce can create that type of buzz for the toolkit and create interest in the art of positive change in the CEC network and beyond that would be wonderful.