Mini EDGE tool: Communication
Do you communicate consistent messages about engagement, and do so in an open, reciprocal way?
Why does communication matter?
“We’ve learnt a huge amount from our partnership with the BBC…..[who have] helped us see how important it is to listen to and to research your potential audiences and to tune your communication to their needs – not vice versa! That’s really helped us with internal and external communications, and has also directly influenced our engagement activities.”
Bruce Etherington, Director, Beacon for Wales
A key element in building a strong sense of institutional purpose is to ensure that public engagement features prominently and consistently in internal and external communications. It is important to communicate widely to encourage staff and students; share effective practice; and to celebrate success.
We propose tackling the following three areas:
Internal communications promote and celebrate public engagement
Featuring public engagement regularly in internal communications sends a very strong message to staff and students about its importance. It also contributes to rewarding and recognising those involved.
Research is undertaken into public perceptions and needs
Understanding your different audiences and stakeholders means that your communications and your engagement activities can be much better targeted and ‘tuned’ to meet their interests, expectations and needs.
Universities are increasingly using research to help inform their engagement and communication activities and are also investing in getting to know their stakeholders to ensure that what they do is informed by those they seek to engage.
Marketing and communications reflect commitment to engagement
It is important that your commitment to public engagement is also communicated externally, through your website, marketing materials and press activity. How easily can external organisations and publics find content and opportunities relevant to them on your website? How easily can they navigate your infrastructure?