Five Crucial Questions to Frame Advocacy Communications

Who had people spontaneously cheering from their seats during his key note address at The Communications Network’s ComNet conference and on their feet afterwards? Grant Oliphant, from The Heinz Endowments.

His powerful culminating keynote charged all of us ‘communicators for good’ with one mission: “Speak, as your purpose, position, and privilege demand”. He made it clear that he did not mean ‘speak as your position allows’, but rather that the word demand was intentional. We each have a charge to live up to the roles we have been privileged to accept as communicators for good.

He outlined five critical questions for each of us as mission-driven communicators to consider in our advocacy-based communications, that provide a guide as we live up to that charge.

  1. Is it true?  Speak the truth and call out lies. He made the point that staying silent allows lies to gather power, and we must move beyond silence and speak truths, not shying away from calling things what they are.
  2. Is it kind? Focus on your purpose and defend your values; remembering that moral authority unused when it is needed most, has no value or merit.
  3. Is it beneficial? Share your vision for the future, thinking of those who look to you for guidance; be a source of hope and strength.
  4. Can it be heard? Begin by listening, getting proximal with your audiences, connecting with them to understand how they will able to best hear and receive your message; end in story.
  5. Is now the time? Communicate when it counts, not when it’s convenient. It will never be convenient. It’s not too soon – use tragedy to motivate people to compassion.

These five questions offer a new ‘filter’ or perspective through which we can approach our communications challenges and opportunities. I’m looking forward to putting them to work, as I take on my charge in communicating for good. Join me?

Trish Taylor, PhD
Executive Vice President

Image source: The Communications Network