Three communicators offer “insights that may surprise you.”

On the lookout for quick tips that’ll extend your reach?

Suricate - Meercat PhotoI am.

Duly noted: School communications is hard work. It’s also a big part of what makes a school — and a school district — successful. Fortunately, the building blocks of good communications are pretty simple.

Getting them all stacked straight and in order is another thing.

I was reminded of this as I looked through our SCN archives at features I’ve written over the last two years.

I hope you enjoy this presentation of three outstanding communicators. Their firm grasp on the “fundamentals” of public relations might spark an idea that you can use to increase your organizational success.

school professionalsMARY BETH HARRIS – Principal of Blanche E. Fuqua Elementary School, Terre Haute, Indiana

Interesting feat – She built successful school partnerships and enhanced parental involvement in her community by creating one-day events like “Principal for a Day.”

Key Quote: “You build a stronger community when people have been inside your building and know you.”

Here is the link to my original story about Mary Beth.

Insight That Surprised Me: Don’t underestimate the power of a one-day event to yield real and lasting support.

What if you could… Forge supportive relationships in your community among a range of people, from top executives to fast-food restaurants? What would your first step be? A new event?

Proof she knows what she’s talking about: Harris was selected by the Indiana Association of School Principals as Elementary Principal of the Year in 2012. A native of Terre Haute, Harris has served as principal at Fuqua Elementary since 1997. She was a teacher in the building for nine years before that. She believes that she and her school  are tightly woven into the fabric of the community.

school professionals

with the Colts mascot

DIANNA BOYCE – She headed up the communications effort for Super Bowl host committee when the professional football spectacle was played in Indianapolis in 2012.

Interesting feat – To set the tone for Hoosier Hospitality from the get-go, Dianna coordinated the effort charted out by the Colts host committee to have eighth graders – students who would be seniors when the 2012 Super Bowl would take place – to hand deliver Indy’s bid to all 32 NFL team owners. She was the one who devised a fair and fun way to execute this logistical Matterhorn in just 12 days!

Key Quote: “Our goal was for the students to hand-deliver bids on the Friday they were due and have the most fun possible doing it.”

Learn more about the strategy in my original feature.

Insight That Surprised Me: The 8th grade student ambassadors weren’t “retired” after the bids were delivered. Dianna said they returned periodically over the next few years to participate in various Super Bowl 2012 community service and charity events related to education.

What if you could… Cast students in the starring role of your high-profile event? Children, after all, are the reason for our schools. Could they help us promote our schools in an innovative ways?  In what areas could you coach them?

Proof she knows what she’s talking about: Since getting rave reviews for promoting the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Boyce has moved on to serve as senior director of corporate communications for Finish Line, an athletic outfitter.

school professionalsBILL CAPODAGLI – Author (with wife Lynn Jackson) of the book “Innovate the Pixar Way – Business Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground.”

Interesting feat – He’s carefully dissected the various pieces involved in making movies by Pixar Animation Studios so memorable.

Key Quote: “Every business is show business. And it all begins with a story and beloved characters.”

My original story describes what Bill means by “show business.”

The Insight That Surprised Me: To foster creativity in its ranks, Pixar considers every employee, first and foremost, a storyteller. Everyone is encouraged to innovate!

What if you could… scout, encourage, and actually work to include the creative ideas from every employee, no matter where they serve in the organization? What if you and your co-workers felt totally free to let loose your childlike energy on occasion? What positive impacts could this have?

Proof he knows what he’s talking about: Bill Capodagli and his wife Lynn Jackson are the authors of four books about business. He is popular speaker about how to create an innovative workplace. He says it begins with establishing a culture where imagination is rewarded. It’s that simple. Imagination is what caused us to keep trying new things when we were young, and we shouldn’t diminish it as adults.

So, would these tips work for you?  You’re the school communicator who knows your district the best!

I invite your comments.

While you think it over, I’ll chase down some more “Insights That May Surprise You” to post here next week.


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