Plum Communication Top Ten Community Engagement Tips for Libraries
Top Ten Community Engagement Tips Rachael Edginton Managing Director PLUM Communica<on
“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.” Confucius
1. Start early “Last minute engagement will end in tears and tantrums.” Engage and communicate at the start of your project – stakeholders will surprise you with their interest and knowledge Involve your communica<on team/department early Recent audit by PLUM with a government department found 90% of respondents believed they should engage their communica<ons team in their projects ‘as early as possible to have the most eﬀec>ve outcomes’.
2. Don’t rush into marriage Before you take the leap make sure the engagement was eﬀec>ve. “80% of your community engagement eﬀort is in the planning” Desley Renton, former IAP2 global president Decide Announce Defend Plan Listen Decide Consultation Negotiation & Partnerships
4. Show them that you’ve really listened “Asking people’s opinions is oIen the ﬁrst step in building a successful rela>onship with them.” Use your connec<on to engage stakeholders by asking genuine ques<ons and listening Ask them how they would like to be communicated with Keep them in the loop and always get back to them
5. Are you talking to the right people and do you have a fair sample of views?
6. Have strategies to keep to the topic Don’t waﬄe on Develop succinct and though]ul communica<on materials and speakers, that engage the audience An<cipate what your audience may WANT to discuss, and have strategies to ensure you keep to the task at hand
7. Always go over your lessons learnt Take <me to learn from every engagement Be open to learning and to being honest about what can be improved There is no such thing as failure, just feedback The more you enhance your process, the beber your outcomes
8. Reinvigorate “Stakeholder fa>gue syndrome – it’s an epidemic.” Stakeholder fa<gue can set in mid way through your project – it’s <me to invigorate! Use your storytelling skills – mix it up and be crea<ve with how you connect with your stakeholders Tailor your communica<ons to suit your stakeholder – if they have to wade through a lot of informa<on only to ﬁnd a small amount is relevant to them, they will get bored quickly!
9. Community engagement is good risk management Eﬀec<ve community engagement will help your organisa<on keep it’s ﬁnger on the community pulse, in readiness for emerging issues Your organisa<on can learn to mi<gate risks and be prepared to respond to most situa<ons Community engagement can an<cipate reputa<onal risk and minimise the nega<ve impacts it can have on your brand and bobom line.
10. There is great power in community sen<ment Communities are savvy and are getting better at utilising the power of their voices A passionate community can be your greatest ally Conduct your community engagement with clear principles and integrity to win the respect of your audience Engage genuinely and consistently, and involve them in the decision making process, and you may win their trust Win their trust, and win their loyalty The bank of goodwill will be full when you need it the most.
11. There is power in collabora<on Compile and learn: 3 interviews with members or visitors per week Email surveys to targeted audiences, sent at the same <me (ie: start with Council staﬀ) 1 under-‐u<lised group engagement per month (same group per library) Create awareness: Shared radio Community announcement Shared online viral campaign to inform of services