On my consultancy and training travels around the UK I get to learn so much from other people. Plus, there are comms lessons all around us if we look closely enough. And so, I thought I would begin sharing these lessons more regularly via the somewhat obvious blog post title of ’Things I learned this week’ 😊
I hope you enjoy volume 02
by Darren Caveney
1. Young people CAN unplug
Watching my 13-year old daughter stay offline for four (4) days in order to avoid Avengers Endgame spoilers was a sight to behold. Generation Z can unplug, of course they can. There just needs to be an incentive.
The film is great entertainment too if you haven’t seen it. It’s 3 hours long so go prepared, if you know what I mean.
It’s a useful reminder not to put young people into pigeon holes else we’ll never get close to understanding them a little better.
2. Twitter is still great
On Tuesday I got a retweet from one of my heroes, James O’Brien. Daft, I know, but it made my morning.
It’s the little things in life which still count.
3. Honestly – please for the love of, can we have some honesty, PLEASE?
You know that feeling when you’re the only comms person in the room and what is being discussed or put forward is wrong? And you have to decide whether to point out that it’s wrong? Yep, we’ve all been there. And it can be tricky. Very tricky.
So, can you imagine being on the comms team for the big two political parties right now? Talk about challenging.
As comms pros we generally stay politically silent, keeping our views to ourselves, especially for those in politically restricted posts. But man alive it’s becomes virtually impossible to remain silent these days.
Over the past three years we’ve have seen, with ever increasing regularity, politicians of most persuasions dodging question, after question, after question. But more than that, many have been ignoring evidence and fact too.
Listening to many prominent MPs has become a tortuous pastime due to their refusal to answer questions in an open an honest way but, instead, reel out stock phrases such as “I have been very clear about XYZ (insert topic)”. In actual fact many of them have become anything but clear.
The leading MPs rattle out their approved slogans and soundbites regardless of the facts and evidence laid out before them as they can’t deviate from what has been agreed. The tactic appears, to me at least, one of wearing down the interviewer and running down the clock in a battle of wills to see if the end of the interview can be reached without the question being answered at all. It’s hugely frustrating and damaging to our trust in politicians.
There are now days when I have to switch the news media off as I can’t bear to hear any more untruths, yarns being spun, or the blindingly obvious being unseen.
The local election results which came in last Friday brought with them the pinnacle of this delusion – yes, that’s a strong description but I honestly believe it’s true - where pro-leave parties chose to ignore the evidence and bleated on that:
“voters have just told us that they want us to get on with Brexit”
despite the crystal-clear fact that the pro-remain parties had their greatest days in the sun for a long, long time/ever…
Really? We’re being treated as mugs, And that’s never a good comms strategy.
Are the comms people involved leading on this messaging, or are they being ignored?
Who knows. I’m genuinely not close enough to know.
But I can you that looking from the outside in the comms/trust chain is utterly broken and credibility has all but disappeared in British politics right now.
Start telling the truth and acknowledging the evidence. Consistently. Try to answer questions honestly even when it’s difficult, and stop being robots. It’s not a good look. Then, in years to come, you may have built back a smidge of trust in politics.
The parties who have a clear, open, honest and transparent plan and approach at the next general election will do well, I’m convinced of it.
Sorry, rant over.
As you were.
Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd
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image via Ninian Reid