Communicating With Your Members: A Few Tips From Social Sciences

September 8, 2014Comments Off on Communicating With Your Members: A Few Tips From Social Sciences

Community professionals can learn a lot from political science, mass communication, and propaganda theory. 

Among them is how to communicate bad news. We know not to send the lamb into the slaughterhouse. But how do you communicate any news? How do you change opinions of a group? How do you interact with a well-informed member and gain the required changes?

There are a few rules here. These depends upon three things:

1) The recipient's level of knowledge about the topic.

2) The recipient's existing relationship with the messenger.

3) The recipient's existing position (and it's divergence from the message).

If the recipient's level of knowledge about the topic is high, present both sides of the argument. Begin with their side of the argument. Specifically state their opinion. Highlight the facts that should alter their position. Don't ignore their side of the argument. 

If you have a good relationship with the recipient. You can be more personable, more informal, hit emotional notes, and include humour. If you don't, don't. 

If the recipient's existing position is far from the messenger's position, moderate your position. Aim for small, incremental, changes in opinion. Don't target big changes. This takes more time. 

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