Climate communication: know thy audience, know thyself

Our friends over at EcoAmerica have published an insightful overview, “Communicating on Climate: 13 Steps and Guiding Principles,” that pairs nicely with the recent research by the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network (CliZEN), as well as the ongoing research we’ve been doing here at The Ocean Project.

“Communicating on Climate” offers a set of quick tips for audience engagement, offering a good review and food for thought for those of us who’ve been working on this issue for a while, or a good starting point for colleagues who may be not have been as focused on these concerns but are now getting involved.

To what is covered in this report, we’d add that not only to do we need to know our audiences, but we need to know ourselves.  In other words, we need to ask not only, “Where are our audiences on this issue?” but, “Where do our institutions have credibility?” and, “What works best in the context of a zoo or aquarium visit?”  So as to be sure we are playing to our strengths and avoiding our weaknesses.

On this last note, our research here at The Ocean Project suggests that aquariums and zoos, for example, are likely to do best when the discussing the problem in relation to its impact on the animals, and offering solutions that are centered in the sort of personal action steps that help people feel good about themselves, and their visit.  For more on that, see our general advice on what the research says about “shaping a good ask” for visitors.

Hoping this helps, and, as always, we welcome your feedback!

Posted in Blog Posts, Strategic communication and tagged , , , , , .

Douglas Meyer

Douglas has helped a wide range of national and international nonprofit organizations develop, evaluate, and improve their outreach efforts. As a consultant teamed up with firm of Bernuth & Williamson, he has worked with The Ocean Project for nearly a decade, as well as other leading environmental organizations such as Resources for the Future, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), as well as the Environment Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

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