Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Being Better at Spreading the Word

Anyone who loves the oceans can help save them, and it starts with words.

In that spirit, the professionals who successfully created California Marine Protected Areas (MPA) recently offered several insights into being better at spreading the word and getting positive results. 

These can be applied on the individual level as well as to larger audiences.

It is familiar stuff but always a welcome reminder: seek to avoid doom and gloom without belittling the problem. Figure out what resonates with people (do a poll), and fashion your message per audience.

One key concept according to Resource Media is communicating the importance of starting on common ground - connecting with the audience by introducing them to something that they know and love and then add a new concept.

Resource Media also tested how well certain words resonate with people. Based on their results, "people favor words associated with 'solutions' (ex. underwater parks, safe havens, healthy, thrive) rather than negative words (ex. declined, depleted, threatened, vanished, at risk). The term 'underwater parks' resonated well with people because they have a good idea of what a park is (ex. Yosemite), thus creating this 'common ground' discussed above.

They found out too that talking about future generations and outdoor recreation in MPAs as a way of life for Californians resonated well with the audience."

Finally, keeping it simple and consistent are the bread and butter of these things.  So speak up, follow your passion, and take action.

More: 9 Tips on Communicating the Climate Challenge

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