All posts tagged communication

The truth about common ground and community engagement

Common ground is something that people agree about even if they disagree about other things (Merriam-Webster, 2018). It can be an important objective of community engagement where there is strong disagreement or conflict between groups.

However, reaching common ground is not always an engagement objective. Sometimes it’s an unintentional bonus when engaging with groups with obviously opposed values and agendas.

We recently facilitated a meeting of two groups (residents and landowners) where the objectives were to present a new proposed development and understand the groups’ support for and objections to this development at a deeper level.

There was no specific objective for the two groups to reach consensus or find common ground, and in fact, given the history of the two groups this outcome seemed unlikely.

However, during the course of the meeting, something amazing happened. One of the residents shared a personal story of the negative impacts the unfinished development was having on their health and wellbeing. It was a truly courageous moment to witness and there were a few tears from those in the room with similar experiences.

One of the other group members responded by acknowledging that although they didn’t agree with all aspects of the new proposed development they understood the groups’ struggles and also wanted the new development to deliver solutions to improve the lives of this group.

The two groups had reached a sense of common ground. They had a shared level of understanding and awareness of the needs and perceptions of both sides. This outcome created an environment where there was more willingness to listen, communicate and be supportive.

When people understand each other, there can be unexpected and beneficial outcomes. In this case the contribution made by the groups provided greater insights and the client was able to move forward with their engagement in a more positive light.

Help stamp out burnout in a 24/7 world

You know them. They left the office at 10pm, kept working overnight and they’re back in the office at 6am. By then they’ve already scanned what was trending, the media clippings and their emails.

Breakfast was a double shot coffee. But it didn’t really pierce through that dull headache like it used to.

They’re living on adrenalin, and even though they’re desperate to stop working they can’t. They really can’t. Because the phone never stops. Ever.

In the modern communication world there are no deadlines. There’s no off button. Media, communities and stakeholders expect instant answers, 24/7.

Here’s recent proof it’s getting worse:

1. It’s not unusual for some of our stakeholders (themselves no doubt under time pressures) to email staff at 1, 2 or 3 in the morning, wanting answers that day.

2. Print journos have to publish on print, online and blogging platforms so there’s no such thing as getting back to them later in the day. They might have a 12-noon deadline.

3. Every communication opportunity needs words plus at least one visual (video, interactive, animation, photo, map or meme), a hashtag, and tailoring for multiple mediums. And even then people say they didn’t see it.

4. Deadlines are set for 9am, but the source materials don’t arrive until 5.30 the day before. And it’s not that the source materials were running late. That’s the earliest they could be delivered.

So what can we do to stamp out burnout?

Here are some things that our favourite clients and colleagues are doing:

  • Taking leave – have a system to make sure people are taking annual leave
  • Having two points of contact on projects so if you’re sick you can rest because someone is already across the project
  • Forward planning to avoid mad rushes
  • Templating everything you can
  • Setting deadlines with margins, so there’s a time buffer
  • Simplify approvals processes by setting delegations of authority to those with knowledge but more time

What else can the profession do to help stamp out burnout?

No one’s listening, right?

How good are your powers of persuasion? Here’s 5 simple steps to selling the most complex ideas.

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It’s a celebrity… get ME outta here!

When it comes to reality TV, celebrities sell. But when it comes to facilitation, sticking a celebrity out front won’t fool ‘em. And you might pay dearly for the mistake.

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Why staff, stakeholders and community are better at innovation: 5 Insights

The development of new app that will streamline compliance processes costs and save millions to an energy organisation, creation of a centralised system to map capability to automate HR processes, financial commitment by disparate parties to create a regional ecosystem to drive innovation on the ground. In working across innovation, digital economies and smart city work across the country, here are 5 key insights.

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Good presentation skills require us to challenge our preconceptions

What are the elements that make for a good communicator, or conversely, a poor one? Why is it that some have the gift of presenting and some do not? How do presenters stand out when most follow a very similar formula?

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Artificial Intelligence: Is it something to fear or favour?

I am intrigued by the fear of a potential technological revolution. Will technology steal away my livelihood? Will it mean we are devoid or lacking of skills required to fully embrace new technology?

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Project E

Here at Articulous we have been working on a very exciting start up project which promises to be a game-changer in the world of engagement and evaluation.

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Why an Ethical Approach to Engagement is Critical

Ethics in engagement is vital. We need ethics to keep the process open, honest, inclusive, far-reaching, respectful, fair, collaborative, and informative. Without ethics, people lose faith in the engagement process, they don’t trust it, they feel used, marginalised, unheard and irrelevant.

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The Biggest Loser ratings fail has taught us a valuable lesson.

Watching the latest episode of Biggest Loser (BL) got me thinking, where did it go wrong?

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Using technology to create responses

Quite often, a major goal of any communication or public relations strategy is to have a significant impact on the feelings, attitudes and behaviours of stakeholders. The rise of technology like virtual reality offers new possibilities for storytelling and new ways to impact people. As a practitioner who loves the power of the written word, the potential impact for life-changing communication programs to be implemented is both intriguing and challenging.

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What makes a great leader?

Drawing from my own personal experience, there is one exceptional leader who I will never forget. He had a way of connecting and cutting through. His authenticity, energy and commitment to delivering his vision was palpable, you could feel it simply by entering the room. He acknowledged that as the face of a successful company he was never alone, he explained that his success was a collective effort of his team and that he was “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

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Could non-verbal expressions add value to an engagement campaign?

Communication is so much more than the spoken word. While many of us like to verbalise how we feel or think, it’s often the expressions that go with our words that add meaning. The question begs then, could we analyse only those expressions to gather rich and meaningful data?

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The Millennials: How do we engage this new workforce?

Millennials certainly are creating change and challenging our traditional beliefs when it comes to how work gets done. Managers who are traditionally accustomed to a Baby Boomer workforce will need to engage new strategies to retain and motivate this growing group of Millennials.

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What will be your Project Legacy?

If I mention the term project legacy, what do you think of? A statue? A plaque? Maybe it’s just the evidence of the project itself? Creating a legacy is so much more than the tangible results that are left behind on construction projects. Long after your team has left a project behind, they can (and should) leave a legacy.

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Does media relations still matter?

Having just witnessed a year which has included U.S presidential election where the President-elect was routinely dismissed by the media and where the Brexit voters were scoffed at, has the mainstream media lost its influence?

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5 simple tricks to turn ‘No’ to ‘Yes’ and get your campaign off the ground

While communicators are intuitive when it comes to delivering successful campaigns, your campaign can be stopped in its tracks before you’ve had time to gather the team for a motivational high-five. A few simple tricks can help overcome these road blocks and get your campaign off the ground.

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Why a Sesame Street explanation of Empathy Should be at the Centre of your Community Engagement Practice

In community engagement, we talk a lot about collecting people’s ideas and feedback. We talk about the power of active listening. But, if you really believe in community and engaging at a deeper, more meaningful level, then empathy should be the key focus throughout your planning, strategising and most importantly-engagement activity.

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Is the communications team from the ABS ready to explode? They should be!

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently stated that it planned to actively prosecute Australians who had failed to complete their census within the allotted timeframe. Apparently there are up to one million Australians facing a fine for an incomplete census! There are questions that have to remain.

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