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So much of what passes for communication training these days is focused on making you appear as something you’re not. With apologies to J.K. Rowling, we call this approach “the dark arts of communication.” Public speaking and presentation skills courses are among the biggest offenders.
Many people leave some of these courses feeling like they’ve just been taught how to act. Hit your mark. Make the correct gesture at the correct moment. Say your lines with great affect.
People feel uncomfortable during these public speaking courses. They will certainly feel uncomfortable afterwards when they are next asked to “perform.” They will fear that people will see them as being phony. They are probably right.
In this follow-up to Economic Development Communications 101: How to Effectively Communicate Your Project to Your Audiences, we take a closer look at some of the biggest risks to project communications.
Renewable energy projects that weren’t built. Much needed power plants that never came online. Improved food production stopped in its tracks. Vaccinations that were never administered. All of these are examples of how extremely competent subject matter experts and leaders of technical industries had the carpet yanked out from under them because of poor or absent communication and public engagement.
You can also see it at play on a smaller scale within organizations when new projects or initiatives are derailed because staff, customers, stakeholders or the public were not engaged in the process.
By: John McKay
The art and science of economic development communications is often overlooked by the very organizations who need it most. As a communications agency with clients in all levels of government and from economic development organizations, we have gained some insights.
In celebration of International Economic Development Week, here we outline some of the top tips for those wishing to communicate clearly and effectively about economic development projects in 2018 and beyond.
How organizations take on costly and unnecessary communications risks
A reporter calls Andrea at Complexity Professional Services (ComplexPS). Andrea says, “I’ll look into it and call you back before deadline.” Then she and several others scramble to put together a response.
She prepares a clear response in plain language that quickly gets bumped down into jargon and emptied of any real content during the internal approval process. Just before the reporter’s deadline, she sends an e-mail or calls the reporter to provide the empty statement and a link.