Good communications skills change hearts and minds, win over naysayers, convince financial backers and motivate colleagues. In the social sector's unoriginal veneration of business plans and policy prescriptions, it is all too easy to forget that the five Cs of social change are Compassion, Community, Courage, Competency and Communications.
In a recently-released how-to social action video from Café Impact, hardened social entrepreneurs talk tough about the necessity of kickass communications:
Writes Michael Bungay Stanier in End Malaria: "It doesn't seem fair that an idea's worth is judged by how well it's communicated, but it happens every day. So it comes down to this: If you can communicate an idea well, you have the power to persuade. The enemy of persuasion is obscurity."
If you want me to read your blockbuster social change idea, there are a few tactical suggestions for avoiding obscurity and the delete button:
- Satirist Will Rogers heckled, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." Make a good first impression with good grammar and a whole lot of re-writing.
- Are you feeling alarmed and frustrated - even panicky - by a sense of moral emergency, a sadness that the "invisible poor" are off the political agenda and that class, gender and race partitions drag on? Save your sputtering outrage. Tell me in simple sentences what you're doing about it and how I can help.
Advocating for social and economic justice is a love affair. Like all matters of the heart, it demands hearty communications.
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