Blue heaven: 8 effective communication tips

tree image“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

 This quote speaks to me at the moment. Over the last month people who need communication help have been coming forward to get a bit of advice and support. Here’s 8 business4good tweets from last week all aimed at promoting effective communication:

If you’re interested in becoming a more effective communicator or perhaps you think your organisation could do with a quick communication audit why not give me a ring on 07966 369579. Always interested in good communication tips. Why not add one.

Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

14 campaigning tips: to help you out

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProud to share 14 group learning outcomes from a recent successful Creative Public Affairs workshop Create Impact: Campaign Training aimed at community groups and smaller charities in Reading.

  • Make campaigning a key discussion in your organisation.
  • Understand the impact you want to have as a starting point.
  • Keep focused on that objective
  • Have a good, strong, clear, memorable strap-line (campaign objective).
  • Identify your key stakeholders: the high interest, high influence group.
  • Be effective. Always use strategies that are minimum effort, maximum impact.
  • Have a clear strategy.
  • Prioritise. Being over-ambitious means you spread yourself too thinly which leads to being ineffective.
  • Speak to and discuss ideas with lots of people.
  • Create coalitions: work with other groups who shared concerns and outcomes.
  • Don’t lose sight of direct action and ‘old’ off-line techniques. Don’t necessarily expect to rely on technology and social media for the entire campaign
  • Be flexible and willing to adapt where necessary.
  • There is no one magic solution.
  • Remember the key words: impact, outcomes, influence and effectiveness.

Thanks to @GetInvolvedRDG for funding the event and @RISC_Reading for the excellent venue.

Please do comment on your favourite campaign tip; and follow me @businesses4good to find out more about how to campaign effectively and with impact.

We’ll start campaigning in the morning, Ding, Dong, the bells are gonna chime . . .

Looking forward to running Campaign With Impact Workshop next week on behalf of Get Involved Reading.  One of the first challenges we’ll probably face together is to accept that campaigning means different things to different people. This may sound simple but 20 years of colourful, campaign experience has taught me that people tend to believe that it’s one of the three things: fighting a war, raising awareness or having a conversation with people.

All three hold some truth:

  • When you’re fighting a war it helps if you’re clear about you objective, strategy and tactics.
  • When you’re raising awareness you’re looking outwards and focusing on building alliances.
  • When you’re having a conversation with people you’re thinking about how you can effectively influence ideas, behaviours and attitudes.

Some things you might like to look at if you’re interested in how to:

Other posts of mine you might like, if you like this one:

Stakeholder mapping: it sounds scary but it ain’t necessarily so 

Oh let me in: social media and policy development 

Creating a public affairs strategy/3: What does success look like?

If you’ve found this of use it’d be good to hear from you, perhaps add a comment at end. Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. You’ll pick up lots of communication and influencing tips.

What’s going on? The autumn statement

Money-001 (1)Quick answers to someone confused by Autumn statement.

What is it? The autumn statement is an update on the government’s plans based on the latest forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility.

How can I get on top of the main points quickly? BBC news

And if I need a bit more detail? Treasury documents and regional map.

Or you could try out politics.co.uk and the Guardian’s autumn statement charts

Hope this helps. If it did why not leave a comment. Oh and please do follow me on twitter @busineses4good.

Stakeholder mapping: it sounds scary but it ain’t necessarily so

Someone recently came for advice on how to design an effective communication plan to manage a new project. A good place to start is to draw up a stakeholder map. This is a map of people, groups and organisations who might be interested in your project. For instance, a list of stakeholders for a medium-sized charity might have politicians (local and national), journalists (local, regional and national), think tanks, local community groups, staff, volunteers, donors and funders.

A stakeholder map has an axis for interest  – the level of interest someone has in the project because it’ll either impact on them; and another for influence – the level of influence or power an individual has in shaping the project and it’s direction.

Someone’s position on the grid shows you the type of interaction and communication that would be helpful to success.

High Influence, High Interest: These are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy. They are “key players”. Regular communications and face-to-face meetings are a must either 121 or as a group.

High Influence, Low Interest: Keep satisfied but not so much that they become bored with your message. You may need their help in the future.

Low Influence, High Interest: Collect feedback from this group to make sure that no new issues are coming up. Tailor your communications to their needs. They’re often essential to the detail and success of the plan. Often in-house.

Low Influence, Low Interest: People who simply need to be kept informed. Don’t bore them with excessive communication.

If you are interested in digging deeper on this subject then it’s worth having a look at:

Mindtools

Expertprogrammanagement

Stakeholdermap

Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. I’d love to hear if you found this of value. Please do leave a comment.

Can you see me?

Painting by Bella Opacic

Be honest. Hand on heart. Would you feel confident getting in contact with a government minister about a local issue? If the answer’s no, and you’d like a bite-size bit of advice, here’s six steps to help you build your confidence.

Step 1: Believe it’s possible. Having a can-do mind-set goes a long way.

Step 2: Do your research. Who’s got responsibility over the issue in government? Who has it as a constituency challenge or a personal interest?

Step 3: Be clear about your issue and your solution. Think it through carefully and collect your evidence (stories and statistics that show you’ve made a difference to people’s lives).

Step 4: Create a perfect pitch. Following the “Six Ps” for pitching will help.

  • Position yourself: who are you?
  • Identify the problem.
  • Project forward into the future (what’s the wider impact?).
  • What’s your proposal to solve this problem?
  • What proof do you have to back this up?
  • What project are you currently working on?

Step 5: Gain access through you local MP, one of the minister’s special advisers or through someone you know who knows them.

Step 6:  Persevere . . . Dream the dream . . . But don’t put all your dreams in one basket.

If you have any tips you’d like to share on this topic then please do add a comment or get in contact. I’d love to hear from you. Please follow me on Twitter @businesses4good.

Parliament essentials/1: Free guides on how parliament works

Painting by Bella Opacic

Getting to grips with how parliament works can be a bit bewildering even to the most hardened UK public affairs professional. But there’s free help at hand with the House of Commons Information Office guides. These cover:

• what parliament does
• how it makes laws
• how it debates its business and much more.

Knowing how parliament works puts you in a better position to engage and influence and make change happen.

Quick tip: If you have a parliamentary query you can get free advice from the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

If you’d like some help on a specific public affairs issue – whether it’s policy, campaigning or lobbying – then why not contact me on 07966 369579. Please do leave a comment if you found this public affairs blog of interest.