Making communication effective
Communicating is hard… watching young children interact reminds us how communication has to be learnt, that we have to constantly alter our approach depending on whom we are talking to, and that despite years of practice we are not always successful!
Communication is one of Beta’s roles in our current EU projects (LongITools and Bump2Baby and Me), making sure the project activities and results are understood by all, and supporting our researchers to do this. Successful communication is all about people talking to people; the more we connect and develop relationships with one another the more effectively we can communicate.
We have a number of different stakeholders who have an interest in our projects, policymakers being a key group. They are an important audience for maximising the impact of the research. Of course, it is always important to understand that the needs of each of our stakeholder groups will be different, but the principle of good communication remains, whichever audience you are talking to. Policymakers are people too and people engage best with people who are personable, people they like and can relate to.
With this in mind, here are some thoughts on ways we can make our written and verbal communications understandable and effective:
- Sharing something personal can help break down barriers, it does not have to be too personal, maybe just something about your journey to work, your weekend activities, a local custom, or the weather (the latter is a UK pastime!);
- Be concise and resist using lots of text and acronyms/technical words;
- Use an analogy to explain, or give an example;
- Simple diagrams are a great way of explaining something much more succinctly;