Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What experts don't know about their communicators

You've got them in your organization, I'll bet: The scientist, policy expert or subject-matter specialist who has no idea that you're available to work with them, or that you need to know about their latest insights so you can raise more funding, arrange interviews with reporters or brief legislators.

We'll be exploring that knowledge gap between the expert and the communicator in my upcoming workshop, Be an Expert on Working with Experts. Here are some more things experts don't always understand or know about their communicators:
  • That you have a methodology--and what it is: Media interviews, donor presentations and briefings at the capital may be old hat to you, but to your experts, your planning and methods, the rules of your road, aren't always apparent. Are you making sure that they understand why you need them to communicate in a certain way?
  • That you are available to help them: Too often, communicators are seen as screeners, hand-holders or barriers to communicating. Less often does the expert understand that you can coach them,  help them plan what they're going to say, or share details and background that will help them get comfortable.
  • That they can learn some of your skills: Communicating with non-specialist audiences doesn't come naturally to most subject specialists, yet they can learn those skills. Are you making them feel that it's possible and giving them the help to do that?
  • That you can help them reach their goals: Whether it's more funding for their research, improved laws or a wider audience of appreciative fans, scientists and experts have wish lists. Do they know you can help them get closer to those goals?
Be an Expert on Working with Experts is the workshop I wish I'd had many times over the course of my career working with scientists, policy experts and other subject-specialists--and I'm sharing my insights, tips and tactics that you can use again and again to help them communicate more effectively with public audiences. It's a one-day session, set for February 1, and is centrally located and close to public transportation in Washington, DC. You'll get continental breakfast, lunch and lots of learning about experts' default communications styles and why those are pretty much the opposite of what you need them to do--and how to bridge that gap.

Registration is $350, but if you register by January 11, it's just $300 per person. Sign up here, and consider bringing a team member or your whole team--it's a great way to reinforce your long after the workshop is over.  I hope you'll share this opportunity with your colleagues!

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