This thought-provoking, dynamic session taught attendees to effectively navigate modern communication channels and steer clear of perilous pitfalls.
The right communication strategies can build a bridge between government officials and the public they serve. The wrong strategies can find you treading in dangerous waters. Officials must find the right methods for engaging with constituents to foster trust, support, and understanding. In this digital age, social media is just one increasingly powerful tool that – when done correctly – can be a fast and effective way to deliver messages and learn about your community’s needs.
The session was ripe with key takeaways from subject matter experts which included Damian O’Doherty of Center Maryland, Nicole Weissman of the National Association of Counties (NACo), and Melanie Miller, of Miller Partnership Consultants LLC. Each speaker and the session’s moderator, Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass, elaborated on their favorite social media platform and why. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook were all mentioned as important tools for reaching different sets of audiences with their own unique purposes for encouraging engagement. Audience members were given ample time to pose questions to the speakers/moderator which added bonus perspective and content to the session.
Each speaker had a note for audience members to continue to think about post conference. Melanie Miller stressed that “if you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” Her message to attendees was to join the social media conversation because if you did not, how could you be a part of the messaging. Why would you want other people to tell your story without being involved?
Nicole Weissman gave the audience a social media roadmap which she uses as Communications Director at NACo which began with asking yourself the question: Who am I trying to reach and why? She also stressed that the amount of time you spend creating content for your social media platforms is the same amount of time you should devote to engaging with other people’s posts. This is an important part of what social media is. It was created to spark engagement and conversation.
Lastly, Damian O’Doherty provided a resource he uses in his own work – a narrative pyramid (see image in tweet below). The pyramid begins with a focused narrative. The next level involves three specific issues, and the bottom level consists of message drivers. Damian emphasized that the pyramid can be used for anyone – a county or a company – and gives your message not only organization but also poignance and clarity.
Session Title: Amplifying Your Message – Effective Constituent Communications
- Nicole Weissman, National Association of Counties
- Damian O’Doherty, Center Maryland
- Melanie Miller, Miller Partnership Consultants LLC.
Moderator: The Honorable Evan Glass, Council President, Montgomery County
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