Garnering Engagement: Two-Way Communication
Messaging is often seen as just that—messages you send out to keep stakeholders informed. While it’s important to keep stakeholders in the loop, messaging often turns into one-way communication, leaving school leaders in the dark about how people are responding to their messages.
Get into the habit of viewing each message as an opportunity to converse with stakeholders.
A conversation goes both ways
Most of the time, school leaders communicate when they have something to say. Whether it’s a new team member, upcoming event or big milestone, there are lots of exciting things happening at your school—and you want to share them! Unfortunately, these messages are often sent into the ether with no easy way for stakeholders to respond.
School leaders should get into the habit of viewing messages as two-way conversations. When you send out a message, stakeholders should have an avenue through which they can voice their thoughts, questions and concerns. Only then does it become a conversation!
People need to feel heard
It’s important that stakeholders get the opportunity to speak up. After all, they have just as much to say as the people on your team. Giving stakeholders a platform on which to speak helps them feel heard and valued. You’re letting them know their voices matter, and they have the power to influence important school decisions.
Do more than open avenues—draw attention to them! Encourage stakeholders to submit their questions and feedback by guiding them towards those open avenues. Show that stakeholders are not only allowed to speak up, but you also want them to speak up.
Speaking up beyond social media
When school leaders think of two-way communication, social media platforms often come to mind, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. However, social media is far from the only way to achieve two-way communication. In fact, there are several more constructive, organized ways to gather stakeholder feedback.
In addition to leveraging social media, school leaders can use avenues like surveys, public forums, focus groups or something as simple as an email address. Surveys are a quick and easy option for stakeholders because they can go online to fill them out at their convenience. Forums and focus groups have the benefit of meeting face-to-face with stakeholders, leading to more personal and authentic interactions.
Remember, engagement goes far beyond getting stakeholders to view your message. Meaningful engagement occurs when stakeholders view your message, then use the available platforms to say something in response. With every message you send, stakeholders should get a chance to speak up.