Eric May – Media Consultant




Before communicating your idea, think strategically


That means making some broad decisions in advance about who you are communicating to, what you hope to achieve, and most importantly, how you think your idea will be heard and acted upon.

1. What do you want?

Effective communication demands a result or a change. Things should improve if you are communicating your message clearly and effectively. 

Before actually formulating your message about inspiring entreprenuership, eliminating poverty, reinforcing human rights or building the capacity for change, establish some goals. Consider:

• What do I want to achieve?

• What do I want to change?

• How will I know I have been successful?

2. Who are you speaking to?

To communicate key messages effectively, recognize that that you have several different “audiences”, each with very different interests and expectations about the issue.

“Target audiences” for can include:

• The news media: reporters and editors

• The mass audience

• Specialists, experts or policymakers who might be interested in, and support your initiative or program

• Donors and stakeholders


• Constituencies


• Internal audiences (inside your organization)

If your message is to change behaviour and raise awareness, each of these audiences requires a message tailored to their specific wants and needs. 

3. What is their perception of you?

Effective messages are expressed in terms the audience can understand. 

To do that, try to think about how each target audience not only sees the issue, but how they see you. 

Be critical; and look at yourself and your own history through their eyes. 

• What are the perceptions this audience has of me?

• What are their concerns and fears? 

• Where are the common interests?

• What is most important to this particular audience?