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


Friday 11 June 2010

Communicating protected areas

For Life's sake. With students of two universities I analyzed a slide show from WCPA to better communicate the importance of protected areas. Afterwards we looked at the final publication and saw that only a few of our concerns were addressed. These are some of the conclusions from the combined analysis. From a factual or scientific perspective the main values are comprehensively captured and translated into content to be communicated. From a communication perspective the top five suggestions for improvement are:
1. Change the word protected area – it does not trigger positive connotation by the non-experts, use words a ‘nature areas’, ‘conservation areas’, special bird areas etc.
2. Start with the positive dream that nature can play in our lives, do not start your messages with the threats, people will immediately switch off their attention and interest.
3. Don’t be abstract or use jargon, be concrete e.g. ‘the mangroves protect us against cyclones’ instead of ‘For life’s carbon buffers’; or ‘the river gives us to eat and drink’ instead of ‘For life’s essentials’.
4. Don’t use landscape photos – people can only positively associate with nice animals, or people in the landscape. If you use a good landscape photo, have a few words providing the essence, e.g. a wild forest = carbon store, food source, playground.
5. Make clear to whom you are talking, what your promise is and what you ask them to do. Be aware that for most people your messages are new and don’t try to cover everything, e.g. inspiration, meaning, joy etc. maybe a bridge too far. Better use words as playground, a space to find some inner peace.

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