• Chris Palmedo1

    Brands: What’s Yours?

    Guest Post: Chris Palmedo

    As my organization begins to ask how it can achieve the most positive impact on the health of its region, I found the Communications Network workshop, Brand Strategy: Moment of Truth to be timely and helpful.

    A few takeaways from the session, before I get to the title of this post:

    1. According to facilitators Sally Bock and Ann Bradford, “branding is not a communications process, it’s a strategic process with communications outcomes.”

    2. Some people, especially in the nonprofit and foundation world, wince at the term “branding.” For these folks, “identity” can be a useful alternative.

    Read More

  • 075 Photo G IMG 8313 1

    Data Viz, Data Whiz: Storytelling with Data

    Guest Post: Liz Banse

    There was nary a seat available in the packed room at the Thursday afternoon breakout session on Seeing is Believing: Data Visualization for Philanthropy. The first data visualization exercise was performed by the Hyatt hotel staff who eyeballed all the people standing or sitting on the floor and made a guesstimate at how many additional chairs were needed and would fit in the room.

    Lisa Philp, William Hanson, Christine Haran and Diane DiGiacomo shared their own experiences with taking their data and making it visual…and much easier to consume. As Diane said, “We get more reaction from people like the mayor of Denver from our (data) maps than anything else. They see it and say, ‘Wow, I get it.’”

    Read More

  • Nora Casual

    Sherman Alexie Sets the Tone

    Guest Post: Nora Ferrell

    The Communications Network 2012 conference kicked off this morning with speaker Sherman Alexie, an author named one of the 21st century’s 20 top writers by The New Yorker, and what a way to start the day. Amongst hilarious personal anecdotes, biting political observations and insightful social commentary, Alexie told us (and showed us) some important tips for being good communicators in our day-to-day lives and work.

    • Know your audience. On knowing the Communications Network audience, Alexie shared, “I’m used to making rich people cry but not talking to the people who want me to make rich people cry.”

      Read More

  • Scott Miller Photo 3

    Ordering Your Emotions

    Guest Post: Scott Miller

    Hearing a master storyteller talk about how to tell a story is inspiring and intimidating. It is a bit like watching Julia Child whip up a TV meal. It is tempting to mutter, “Easy for you to say,” which is masking a sinking, “I am not worthy” feeling.

    In his opening remarks here at the annual Communications Network Conference, Sherman Alexie was clearly a master at work. He exemplified the adage from writing 101…”show, don’t tell.”  And then he told us what he was doing, while he was doing it. He talked about using your emotions to tell a story…all of them. “Narrow the gap between your public and private lives,” he advised us. And then he reminded us of the range of his own emotions in his speech. He was funny. He was vulnerable. And, by the end, he was pissed. All good. All powerful. All human.

    Read More

  • Chris Palmedo

    Thoughts on Transparency

     Guest Post: Chris Palmedo

    In anticipation of our gathering at the Gates Foundation, I can’t help but ponder the notion of transparency. It seems to be a clear theme of the building’s architecture, with windows inviting a view from the street into the hallways, offices, and conference rooms of what is, technically, “the largest ‘transparent’ foundation in the world.”

    As we begin to file into the Gates Foundation, I wonder what we would look like to someone standing outside the building. What kind of people do we look like – both as individuals and as an assembly? Do we look like an interesting bunch? Do we look compassionate? Engaged? Do we take our work seriously? Are we having fun?

    Read More