Donovan Group Insights

Get Your Community in the Habit of Listening

When you speak, you want the whole community to hear you. But sometimes, it can feel like you’re shouting into a void. To get your message across, stakeholders have to be engaged and ready to listen. You can help build a good habit of listening by communicating with stakeholders on a regular basis.

Consistency is the key to good habits

It takes time to build a good habit. And for district leaders, that time should be spent communicating on a regular basis. Consistent communication will get stakeholders into the habit of listening when you speak. You’ll have a much easier time capturing the community’s attention when they’re already anticipating a message from you!

Consistency comes in many forms. For example, your district might send a monthly school newsletter to parents and families. Maybe your superintendent likes to create weekly video updates for social media. No matter the content, keep it consistent. That way, stakeholders will expect—maybe even look forward to—your message.

Much like any other habit, good listening won’t develop overnight. It’s something you gradually build up to, and the longer you practice consistency, the stronger that habit becomes. When you have a community of good listeners, you won’t have to work so hard to grab their attention. Community members will listen because they care about what you have to say.

Guide stakeholders to the appropriate channels

A good habit of listening will allow you to engage more stakeholders through your district’s communication efforts. In addition to being good listeners, people also have to know where and how you’re going to communicate with them. That starts with understanding the channels at your disposal and how they can best serve you.

Here’s how to leverage various communication channels:

  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great for updating stakeholders about extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities and community-wide events.
  • Email: Send an email when you want stakeholders to take action, whether it’s to register, sign up, donate or simply email you back.
  • Web pages: Stakeholders visit your district’s website when they need more information. Putting your message on the appropriate web page will make it easier to find.

Plenty of stakeholders are willing to hear what you have to say. It’s up to you to establish that consistent line of communication. When you check in with stakeholders regularly, they’ll learn to anticipate your messages, which turns them into good listeners. Remember, habits are all about consistency!

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