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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Communications Under Extreme Circumstances

Polar communicator Dave Walsh
Excel crashing?  Printer not working?  Internet down?  These are a few of the frustrating problems faced by your average communications professional working against deadlines.  At yesterday’s inspirational Sustainability Communications Lunch, we learned that isolation and a lack of resources might actually boost your creativity and help you focus, according to guest speaker Dave Walsh.

As a NGO communicator, Dave has faced some extraordinary challenges in his career.  With Greenpeace, he travelled by boat on polar expeditions, facing cramped conditions and limited and expensive internet access.  Being away from ‘consensus reality’ means you have to try hard not to become detached from the media’s expectations.

Approaches to extreme communications are not necessarily so different to not-so-extreme working environments.  Our guest speaker spoke of the importance of having a good team coordinator to provide external guidance and guarantee a successful expedition.  Like on land, Dave explained how important it is to always put yourself in the mindset of a journalist and to position your story in a way that is interesting and accessible.

Videos and photos can certainly help to frame your story.  An accomplished photographer, Dave also shared a selection of breathtaking photos from his Cold Edge series.  Choosing a good image to illustrate your story can be difficult, especially when the topic may not be as inspiring, but it is still crucial.

The next Sustainability Consult Lunch is scheduled for Monday 24 June and we’ll be sending more information over closer to the date.  Thanks to everyone who attended and to Dave for taking the time out to share his work and interesting experiences. The event photos are on the Sustainability Consult Facebook Page.

Blog by Bárbara Mendes-Jorge and Ana I. Catarino

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