Reaching hearts and minds in a post-truth world

Posted 4 May 2018

Media Trust has joined forces with the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) for Stronger Voices, a communications-training programme that aims to strengthen the voices of London’s equality organisations. EDF's Head of Digital and Strategic Communications, Tamsyn Hyatt, shares her thoughts on why this programme is needed now more than ever.

Brexit. Trump. Alternative facts. As campaigners and communicators, we have a lot to learn from the events of the last few years.

Our strategic communications work at EDF explores these lessons. How to reach hearts and minds in a post-truth world. How to tell stories that are heard by more than people who already agree with us. And how to communicate these stories in powerful and progressive ways.

Put differently: how to tell stories with stronger voices.

Communications for change

And we need these voices in London. Poverty and inequality are greater here than anywhere else in the country. Also here are the voices that shout loudest, in our politics and culture. Voices that not only demonise people who experience disadvantage, but often blame them for it.

Research shows that for many audiences, this approach will often backfire.

As a sector, we often respond to these narratives with outrage. With strident, statistical arguments. And with individual stories, disconnected from public experience and our wider, systemic context. Research shows that for many audiences, this approach will often backfire – reducing support for the actions needed to create change. And instead giving rise to hostility, fatalism and inaction.

We can do better.

With Media Trust

There’s a strong body of evidence on strategic communication that our sector has yet to fully embrace. This includes insights from anthropology and behavioural science, and from extensive attitudinal studies on social issues.

We’ve partnered with the Media Trust to bring this perspective to Stronger Voices – a two-year programme of support for London’s equality sector. This programme combines communications training and planning with insight and advice from the journalists making today’s headlines.

We’re proud to work alongside an organisation that shares our commitment to bringing people together from a range of issues and disciplines, sharing knowledge and expertise.

EDF’s Communications for Change workshop will open the Stronger Voices programme and explore:

  • Are we living in a post-truth world and what does this mean for our work as campaigners and communicators.
  • How can we convey important facts to a sceptical audience?
  • How can we understand public opinion, and why does this matter?
  • What’s framing theory, and how can we reframe?
  • What is a values-led approach to communications?

And provide evidence-based guidance on:

  • Effectively communicating human rights, inequality and poverty.
  • Language that resonates, and words that won’t.
  • How to avoid the paralysing effect of talking crisis.

And together, we’ll build stronger voices.

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