It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
Take our planet’s climate crisis. Terrifying.
(This from a banker, no less.)
On the bright side, the coming on of wind and solar energy, of smart grids and resilient planning, is exciting.
So how we talk about climate change, energy policy, and everything else in the sustainability conversation, really matters.
As a communications person, this is my job:
Help people understand. So they take action.
Surprisingly (or not, if you’ve been there), the first hurdle is getting everyone on the team working together. Muddled messaging wreaks major havoc.
A new article talks about this very issue.
Adam James at American Progress wrote a thoughtful piece about resolving differences of opinion and approach in the new energy community.
He breaks the problem and solution down into three steps:
1. Get clear about messaging
What can be done? First, separate the communications debate from the policy debate, and try to have a real conversation about the merits of each messaging approach given the outcomes we are trying to achieve.
2. Get clear about messages
Second, discuss the policy agenda outside the context of this conversation about messaging, to isolate the items where there is substantial agreement.
3. Rally around agreement
Third, galvanize around the agenda items where there is significant agreement, and push for those policies based on whatever strategy can be salvaged out of the communications discussion.
As an illustration of the above in action, I’d probably swap the first two points (#1). So the message drives messaging (#2). But that’s just a quibble (#3).
I firmly believe that when people know better, they do better. As a messenger, it’s my job to help that happen.