From the TUC

Communications & Organising

19 Jan 2012, By Guest


I’ve been wanting to blog about the role that communications play in campaigns and organising for quite a while now so it was with great interest I read Mehdi Hasan’s article for the New Statesman where he explores the role of framing in politics.

By and large, the most difficult thing in the campaigns I have been involved in, is communicating what the campaign is trying to achieve to a wider audience.  Often I hear complaints that the media is against us and no one want to listen.  I can’t give you a silver bullet but I can point to some ways in which you might be more successful in communicating.

Firstly, you need to know what exactly you want to achieve.  The more specific you are, the easier it is to explain to someone else.

Second, be in control of the message and of the frame.  By and large, human beings will gravitate to messages and ideas that fit in their understanding of the world and how it makes them feel.  Define a message based on what you think will resonate on that emotional level.  Don’t define your message based on what your opposing group have said, it’ll only reinforce their view.

Lastly, use techniques like Anger Hope Action in all aspects of communications, not just in face to face conversations.

If you’re interested more in how you can communicate effectively during a campaign you can come on our Communications and Campaigns course or read these thought provoking books:


2 Responses to Communications & Organising

  1. Vin
    Jan 19th 2012, 3:21 pm

    I agree with the comments you make Becky – and for anyone not convinced by the idea and importnace of ‘framing’ you need only look at the contradictions thrown up this week by Labour’s latest position(s) on public spending cuts. the Communications and Campaigns course certainly gave me the opportunity to for once not think about ‘what’ i was saying to members, but ‘why’ I was saying it, and letting that shape ‘how’ it was said. How many of us have complained that the membership were not interested in our latest newsletter/blog/email/carrier pigeon/whatever as though it were their fault? I know I have!
    Knowing how our commication strategy contributes to our overall goals is essential if we are to achieve our ends – without this thinking we are likely to be no more effective than if we were to simply leave messages in bottles, hoping that they bob across the wide ocean to the appropriate recipient! It’s a shame some of those with the best platform to put our arguments seem to falling prey to just such ebbs and flows!

  2. Jim Jepps
    Jan 19th 2012, 6:21 pm

    “Often I hear complaints that the media is against us and no one want to listen.”

    Totally. I’ve heard this far too often and, although there is a kernel of truth, it’s actually pretty easy to get your stuff into local media and not that much harder for national media *as long as* you actually have some news for them.

    What we don’t do is tell people about what we’re doing enough – both through the press and using social media.

    However, a word of caution on “framing”.

    I completely agree with what you’ve said here *but* some people really get obsessed by framing – or messaging as it used to be called – and it starts to lead what we’re doing.

    I’d say the focus needs to be on what we want to achieve, how we think we can achieve it and *then* how are we going to communicate it.