As campaigners and communicators, we have a lot to learn from the past few years. Despite all the effort we put into crafting our messages, the way most of us are communicating just isn’t changing hearts and minds on our issues. That’s where strategic communications comes in.
This approach to campaign communications starts from the best evidence available about how and why we form attitudes, and looks at how to connect our causes to the values that matter most to people. Our free strategic communications trainings will give you a broad grounding in strategic communications theory and practice, and teach you how to use this approach in your work.
Who is this training for?
If you’re a communicator or campaigner working on poverty and inequality, this training is for you. These workshops are particularly aimed at small voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) working in London, and those with lived experience of poverty or inequality are particularly encouraged to attend.
If you’re not sure if this training is right for you or your organisation, get in touch with us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to talk it through with you.
What does the training cover?
Our level 1 training gives you a broad grounding in strategic communications theory and practice. It covers:
- Why facts alone aren’t enough to persuade people
- How to use framing and shared values
- Understanding your audiences
- Why mythbusting doesn’t work
- Communicating structural problems
- Showing hope and agency
- Crafting your messages
Our half-day level 2 training builds on this, deepening your understanding of the concepts and equipping you to better put this approach into practice in your organisation. It covers:
- A deeper look at framing through common frames in the last few years
- An in-depth look at how one organisation is reframing poverty
- An in-depth look at how one organisation is reframing reproductive rights
- A practical look at how to test your messages
What is strategic communications?
Using insights from behavioural science to understand how and why people respond to some messages over others, strategic communications uses values-based framing to create messages that change hearts and minds.
Why does mythbusting often leave people believing the myth more strongly? Why should we think twice before making economic arguments for our campaigns? Why did Ireland’s abortion rights campaigners stop using the word ‘choice’? Why is it important to be careful about the metaphors we’re using? And how did the wording of campaign materials about environmental conservation lead more people to support a disability rights charity?
Strategic communications is the theory behind these questions. It looks at common ‘frames’ that the public hold – familiar stories about key issues and concepts that act as mental shortcuts and can form barriers to changing people’s minds – and how to work with and change these frames. It looks at how different values move us to see issues in a very different light. And it takes seriously the danger of fatalism – of the wrong messages causing us to bury our heads in the sand, and switch off from caring.
What do other people think?
‘As a result of today’s session and thinking about what the sector are doing in this area, I want to fundamentally change how we do our comms.’
‘Most useful (and thought-stretching!) training I’ve had all year’
‘It was a really informative day which was gold dust to a small charity like ours’
‘It was really fascinating to look at the detrimental effect ‘fact-checking’ has and to understand how values are used to benefit from this.’
‘We’d highly recommend this training for professionals and volunteers alike, everyone around the table from those hearing the terms for the first time to people who have been campaigning for years learnt something useful from the session.’
Where, when and how much?
Training takes place at the Age UK offices at 1-6 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9NA. Thanks to funding from Trust for London, this training is free of charge.
We are running level one sessions on four dates in 2020:
Later in the year we’ll be running our half-day Communications for Change 2 workshops , aimed at those who already have some knowledge of strategic communications – watch this space for more information, or subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to be able to sign up.