This helps me illustrate one of my most important points. There is always a communicator who has things they want to say, only some of which are of interest to their potential audience. Further, the communicator is competing for the time and attention of people in the audience who are interested in many other things and may or may not be highly motivated to listen at the moment.Is this situation hopeless? No there are lots of things you can do. But I think the place to start is by having a firm and realistic grasp of the communicator’s dilemma.
In planning to communicate your data and analyses there are key questionsa communicator should alwaysask… What I hope to do in the next little while is talk about these questions in a way that will help you communicate more effectively
So starting with Objectives, The real point, perhaps the only point of communicating data is so that someone will use it. They might store it for future use, use it now or, if they do it often enough, form a habit of seeking and using information.
Start explanation with Demand Wanting to know something leads to actions designed to get the information neededData is processed, turned into information and made available – we do a lot of thisPlease note that availability does not equal use. Just because the information is there doesn’t mean that anyone is using it to improve decision-making. Use requires it’s own set of supportive effortsNote that use leads to improved health outcomesAlso note that increased or decreased use leads to increased or decreased demand – this is how the culture of data use, good or bad, is createdCreating a positive culture of data use is a process. In the process it’s preferable to plan communication strategy based on demand and prior to data collection
I think in a workshop like this, we often think of policy makers as a singular target audience. In truth, there are many target audiences or stakeholders for our information products and they exist in an ecology of knowledge and function. We shouldn’t be surprised that that they have different communication needs. And knowing the needs of each target audience is a key factor in effective communication.
There are a number of important audiences in our work. Audiencestypically of interest to producers of health-related information include:Policy makers have the opportunity to support the implementation of existing policies that save lives. They may also invest in and be accountable for results.Managers have the ability to improve the healthcare environment by ensuring that facilities are well equipped and adequately staffed, and that high impact interventions are implemented in a coordinated and integrated way. Having good provincial and district data for management is an important priorityProviders can respond by reflecting on the quality of care they currently provide, ensuring competency in key life-saving skills and actively improving care for mothers, babies and children.Healthcare educators are tasked with ensuring that clinical personnel are qualified to provide high quality services and develop the necessary communication skills. Families should know their rights and demand quality care, protect themselves and their children from various health threats, support community health initiatives, and know how to seek care at the right time and the right place.
Of course there is a place for detail and some audiences may want more detail than others. But an effective communicator always knows the main messages they are trying to communicate and uses these main messages to organize their communications Attributes of effective messages.Keep it short and simple KISS
Various audience use scientific information at different points in the policy and implementation cycleFor example, some audiences, like academics and intervention designers, might tend to be higher overall users during the formulation and conceptualization phase of the cycle whereas other audiences, perhaps like finance and administration, may tend to maximize their use of scientific information during the implementation and evaluation phases. Civil society groups might be more likely to use data- related information for advocacy purposes .People are selective about when they are more and less receptive to different messages they are exposed to. Effective communication can be enhanced by planning to communicate around related events:Health sector planning processHealth reform, e.g., introduction of social insurance"Special" day, women, HIV, malariaHealth event in prominent persons (birth, death, etc.)
Some TypesFace to FacePrintPerformanceAVBroadcastElectronicDegrees of inter-activityVarious media are better and worse for specific types of communicationFor example, a broadcast medium like radio may be very good at reaching a lot of people with a message. Face to face communication may be very good at communicating non-verbal information important for establishing trust.Technologies like the internet and cell phones are rapidly changing the way the world gets it’s information and represent a huge paradigm shift that blurs the boundaries between media. This makes the communications environment more complex, however, they also present expanded opportunities for communicating about health.
The web is bursting its virtual seams with 'social media'. To take UNAIDS as an example, they have gone social with the creation of accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare. Through these platforms, it is now easier than ever to engage with UNAIDS to help shape the future of the AIDS response.Using these new social media, individuals and organizations with interests in health can connect to exchange ideas and resources, start discussion forums, and post reports, news and job opportunities.
Matching audiences, messages and channels can help improve the effectiveness of communication efforts. The publication Making Research Finding Actionable, provides suggestions for this kind of matching. It is available on your flash drives as a key document for this session and can be found at this URL.
Validates having conducted the researchCollecting information to document the results of dissemination allows us to see whether the communication objectives were achieved and how the findings were used.Positive experiences with using data helps to grow the demand for quality informationHelps identify best practices in research communication and utilization. Assessment plans should lay out clearly what actions should be taken by various stakeholders, thereby identifying some ways in which uptake of the information can ultimately be assessed.Sometimes it can be very difficult to isolate the exact impact of a particular communication, especially when there are many determinants, actions and stakeholders involved
Assessment QuestionsAssessment MethodsInformation use logs – e.g., number of citations, downloads, news stories reported, feedback contactsFormal survey of sample of stakeholdersKey informant interviews
Health Information and Publications Network (HIPNET) is a USAID-funded mission-driven partnership that addresses a need for access to technical health information and innovative information technologies around the world. HIPNET has developed a set of 29 indicators that help to assess four different but related aspects of effective communication. The HIPNET Indicator Guide can be found at this URL
So a best practice for preparing a presentation is to tell people what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, them tell them what you’ve told them. It using repetition and consistency to reinforce the main messages. The whole point of effectively communicating data is to have someone use the informationCommunication is a complex process of interactions between audiences, messages and communication channels.The media environment is rapidly evolving which does make things more complicated, but which also offers new opportunities for effective communication.Assessment of our efforts to communicate is critical. It’s the only way we are going to know if we’re reaching people and our primary way of getting better at what we do.
Before I conclude I want to say a word about your handout. For people who are interested, there is really a whole second presentation on effective communication shown in the handout. For people who are interested, the slides for this presentation, including explanatory text in the notes pages, will be made available to participants of this workshop. This presentation is more of a practical presentation designed for the people who actually produce information products. The presentation will point you to some very good guides to preparing effective data presentations, and provides a selected set of suggestions for general content display, formats for summarizing data for policy makers, improving graphs, and making better use of maps. We aren’t going to go over this material now. We don’t have enough time and strategically it isn’t the right time to present this level of detailed information to this group. But once you get home and you have some time, you might want to take a look at this presentation and see if it might contain some practical and useful information that you can use to improve your presentation of data.
I am obligated to mention that USAID provided support for creating and delivering this presentation. However, that said, ideas expressed in this presentation are only the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US government or of USAID.
Transcript of "Communicating Effectively"
Communicating Effectively<br />Health Progress and Performance Reviews Workshop<br />Bangkok, July 2011<br />Jason B. Smith, MEASURE Evaluation<br />Candy Day, Health Systems Trust<br />
Objectives: Why Communicate Data?<br />So Someone Will Use It!<br />Inform, educate, advocate<br />Improve health policy<br />Improve service delivery<br />Create a culture of data use<br />Achieve better health outcomes for beneficiaries<br />
Target Audience(s) or Information Users<br />Policy Makers<br />Health Managers<br />Health Care Providers<br />Training Institutions and Trainers<br />Families and Communities<br />
Main Messages<br />Simple<br />Short<br />Clear<br />Visual<br />Practical<br />Actionable<br />
Strategic Timing<br />Just in time delivery<br />Formulation<br />Conceptualization<br />Implementation<br />Evaluation<br />Advocacy<br />Legitimization<br />Plan to communicate around related events<br />
Communication Channels<br /> A channelis a medium through which a message is transmitted to its intended audience<br />
Why Assess Effect?<br />Validate the original research<br />Demonstrate the value of data-based decision-making<br />Increase Demand for Data<br />Identify Best Practices<br />
Assessment Questions<br />Did all identified and important stakeholders see and understand the research results?<br />Were research results taken into consideration in decision-making?<br />Were the recommendations acted on?<br />Has the impacts of action been evaluated? <br />
Summary<br />Objective =Data Use<br />Communication is a complex process <br />The media environment is rapidly evolving<br />Assessment has value<br />
Addendum: The Handout<br />Tips and Tricks for Data Display<br />Guides to Effective Data Presentations<br />General Content Guidance<br />Selected Formats for Summarizing Data for Policy Makers <br />Improving Graphs<br />Using Maps<br />
Disclaimer <br />This presentation was compiled by MEASURE Evaluation with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Views expressed in this presentation do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government or of USAID.<br />