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


Thursday 25 October 2012

Communication planning templates

There are different communication planning templates. What counts is not the plan but the planning. The templates are only a means to discipline our strategic thinking and avoid assumptions. We have to understand that planning is a circular process. After some stepts we may come to the conclusion that we are stuck and have to go back and redefine previous steps. Just filling in the boxes as we were made to do in an academic workshop may help our analytical thinking, but it does not result in a strategic plan. This became clear when we reached messages. We were instructed to think of making a power point presentation for a lecture. This had nothing to do anymore with the earlier formulated objectives (knowledge attitudes, behaviour) or issue e.g. change behaviour of fishermen. Too easily formulating the issue (like not defining the behaviour of fishermen and its context) is often the reason why one gets stuck in the planning cycle: make the problem small and concrete is the solution.

Friday 19 October 2012

Audience First

In communication always look first at the audience. When judging a communication intervention look first at the target group for which it is meant. I realized this again when attending a workshop ´How to make a communication plan?´ After a short introduction we looked at the video ´Love not Loss´ and were asked to discuss what was good about the video and what could be improved. What the audience was?  Youtube the best medium? Message? Right images? Tone of voice and music? Language? Technical terms? Was it evidence-based and is it important? A lively discussion followed. All assumed the video was made for the general public and policymakers. Nobody including the workshop organizers had checked this assumption.  

When the general conclusion was drawn that the video was too fuzzy and negative to have any impact, I could not keep silent. I explained that the video was made for the CBD COP  in Nagoya to stress to the conservation community the importance of communicating biodiversity to a wider public not in a negative but in a positive way, appealing to the emotion of love for nature that is inherent in all human beings. Every one agreed that for that audience the video was perfect. And I realized that putting it on the web without any explanation about the context, for whom it was meant etc. may easily lead to such misunderstanding. Again: "Audience First"!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Body language as message

This picture from the Guardian says it all: commun ication is not only about what you say, but formost how you say it. Tone of voice and body language send their own message. Hand gestures are either supporting your message or can be counterproductive. The New York Times analysed Romney's and Obama's hand gestures during their debate a few days ago. You can click on one of the three hand gestures and see the effect.

Analyzing the debate results in 10 hints for effective communication:
  • Be prepared
  • Show confidence
  • Watch your facial expression
  • Control your body language
  • Use effective hand gestures
  • Be assertive where needed
  • Be concrete, not abstract
  • Use simple language
  • Frappez toujours
  • Be positive.

A new way to talk about biodiversity

If our current way of talking about biodiversity was effective, we wouldn’t be losing so much of it, says Melissa Harding of Phipps Science Education. Read her review of the CEC video and campaign how to tell a love story.