3 mistakes I have made in EU project communications!

by Manuela de los Rios

Well inspired, on my way back from the NWE Interreg IVB Comms Seminar. We realised during this meeting how important it is to share our lessons at the project level, I’m really keen to hear your moans and groans and most importantly, how you overcame! Here are my three mistakes (I have plenty more of course!):

1st MISTAKE - No human faces presenting/commenting the projects on our websites EU PROJECTS FROM MARS? Well, after masses of information and people-less landscapes…our website users must wonder if there are any real people behind these projects. Human faces, voices, bio’s - are only found in newsletters in some cases but very rarely on websites. Our partners are normally more than happy to share a little of their professional background, expectations and ideas so why don’t we make our projects feel real? A little late, but in IMCORE, for the final learning portal for coastal and climate change professionals, we’ll be including under 1 minute videos of partners presenting themselves and sharing “info nuggets” - intangible knowledge based on their experiences with website users.

2nd MISTAKE: Focusing on amorphous masses of beneficiaries or VIPs - The SIPs REVOLUTION!!! (Small Important People) One of the advantages of projects with so many partners (yes, their had to be a good side to it) is that we have access to a broad network of people through these partners. Just think, 12 partners, normally 2 people involved. Each with 3 close colleagues and lets say 5 close professional contacts from other organisations who could have an interest in the project. Multiply 24x8= 192 project ambassadors! Imagine! BUT, project partners need to be excited about the project to make this effort, to “see” how their work for the project will make a REAL difference, improve people’s lives and places and we need to work on that before anything else. We are trying this through LinkedIN as we thought of it well into the project (Coastal Adaptation group)

3rd MISTAKE - Not thinking of stakeholders needs WHO KNOWS WHO? and WIN-WIN approaches I really believe it is essential to carry out a thorough STAKEHOLDER mapping and ANALYSIS exercise at the level of each partner’s area BEFORE writing up a communications strategy/action plan. Who are they? What to they need/expect? Interests (could they lose/win because of this project?) Who do they listen to? Any pro/anti feelings towards the project or partners? Once we have all this, we can plan our approach and how we’d like them to become involved ensuring that they will get something out of it that they value (pride, influence, direct benefit, learning, etc) as well as supporting our process. Looking forward to hearing your ideas! Originally posted on the LinkedIn European Project Communications Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=1984695&type=member&item=57186811&trk=groups_search_item_list-0-b-ttl&goback=.gna_1984695

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