On a flight to Launceston on a lovely Sunday (on my way to a conference for work – it’s a hard life – and I’m casually reading Smith Journal.
In it, there’s an article by Malcolm Gladwell called “10 things I believe”. Turns out one of the things he believes is the power of the few. He notes that in the case of epidemics, it is the few who start the infestation and goes on to liken that to how ideas spread.
And that’s very true of communications, is it not? Do we not search for our local champions, to help us spread our news, our message, our new research, our programs, our ideas?
The key is to know who those local champions are and then to get them on board. It’s not something you can mess up because you are looking for the most connected, most respected and therefore most likely to be listened to. You get that wrong and the message they send about you, your idea, your project will be quite different from the one you want to be sent. Your job will be harder, your amazing project (we’re in comms, they’re all amazing projects) might languish for lack of buy-in.
So how do you work out who your champions need to be? Well, in our case at QMDC, we have a strong presence in some of our regional centres and these are bolstered by our work with Landcare and other community groups. These grassroots organisations are vital to what we do – they are the boots on the ground, the connections to the locals. At the same time, they are more than just a conduit from us to local champions and the broader community. They are a conduit to us. How often do we forget the two-way nature of any relationship?
(Side note: how great is it to be able to find inspiration everywhere.)
Smith Journal, author Malcolm Gladwell, “10 things I believe”, p24-26, edition 10, Autumn 2014, frankie press