Terrific take-aways from three communicators – insights that may surprise you

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

Suricate - Meercat PhotoI am.

Since 2012 I’ve had the privilege of interviewing talented and committed communicators from inside and outside of education for SCN. Selecting from our archives, I’ve zeroed in on three communicators who offered golden-nugget insights that still hit the mark today.

Here are condensed versions of three stories I wrote months ago. Their take-aways will help you hone your personal school communication skills. That’s the plan, anyway, and I hope you’ll enjoy my weekly “Insights That May Surprise You” interviews.

Eric Sheninger loves Twitter.

Eric Sheninger loves Twitter

ERIC SHENINGER – Principal of New Milford High School in New Jersey, National Association of Secondary School Principals Association Digital Principal of the Year Award Winner (2012), author and popular speaker.”

Interesting feat: Sheninger’s feelings about Twitter ping-ponged from “the dumbest waste of time out there” to the world’s greatest tool for professional development” almost as soon as he began using it!

Key Quote: “Twitter is like a search engine customized to my interests and needs.”

This is the link to the original story.

The insight that surprised me: It never occurred to me that you could build a personal learning network via Twitter.

What if you… Used Twitter for more than proclaiming a “snow day” in the early morning hours? What if you used it to relay real-time cancellation information to your tribe – and you all spread the word. Sheninger shares more strategies for effective tweeting, too. Proof he knows what he’s talking about: Since Sheninger and I talked months ago, he’s multiplied his Twitter followers (and personal influence) from 20,000 to 63,700! And he’s published a new book in 2014: “Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times.” 

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 4.49.35 PMSUSAN WEINSCHENK – Behaviorial psychologist and writer known as “The Brain Lady.” Her specialty is designing communications according to how people really think.

Interesting feat: She can explain what works behind the podium with neuroscience.

Key Quote: “People are more than rational; there’s the emotional and feeling part. To communicate effectively, a presenter has to be talking to the whole person.”

Here’s the link to the original story.

The insight that surprised me: No matter how experienced a public speaker you are, you can’t “wing it” if you want to make an impact that achieves a measurable objective. You have to research the audience in advance as thoroughly as you can if you hope to say something meaningful to them. Preparation is especially important if you’re writing a presentation that will be given by your boss!

What if you… Designed presentations according to how people in the audience are wired to receive the information?

Proof she knows what she’s talking about: Weinschenk has come out with a new book titled “How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the Art and Science of Persuasion and Motivation.” 

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 4.44.38 PMRON COLANGELO– Vice President of Communications for the Detroit Tigers

Interesting feat: He believes in meeting in person with a member of every department before each home stand to lay out a communications “game plan.”

Key Quote: “Strong internal communications are the backbone of good public relations.”

The insight that surprised me: As someone who earned a master’s degree taking graduate classes online, I was amazed to hear Colangelo sing the praises of face-to-face meetings with representatives of all departments. I like the idea, though. Sending an email or a text, or even picking up the telephone, may not be enough to keep everybody on the same page. You can’t beat real dialogue. Plus, Colangelo’s meetings illustrate that communications and marketing are part of everyone’s job in an organization.

Here’s the link to the original story.  

What if you… Committed to relying on electronic communications only when you can’t deliver important information face to face? Would that improve communications within your school district? Do you think it would improve the communications with the public?

Proof he knows what he’s talking about: The Detroit Tigers are a textbook example of how to seek coverage for select events and create coverage that is tied to the news of the day off the field, says Joe Favorito, a communications and sports strategist who writes for the “Sports Marketing and PR Round-Up.”

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 go after some more “Insights That May Surprise You” to publish here next week.

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