frankInspiration

Psst: Want To Hear Something Important?

I’ve been working in the field of social change communications for a long time, and over the years I’ve seen various efforts to measure–even define–success. Then, on the final day of the frank2015 conference, I heard Frank Karel Fellow Yoo-Jin Kang say during her talk:

Success in public interest communications starts when people say ‘OMG this is important!’

It’s hard to argue that point because, without some recognition or acknowledgment that what people are hearing, seeing or being asked to respond to “is important,” there’s not much more to say after that. We need what we’re saying to be considered important if we’re going to make progress toward taming global warming, advancing the marriage equality cause, closing the gender gap, fighting obesity, and the myriad other battles waged daily to make the good greater for as many as possible.

So, how do you make people know what you say is important?

Perhaps, not surprisingly, there is no single answer. Just lots of pathways, guidance and suggestions– much based on practice and, in recent years, a growing amount of new knowledge coming from researchers who are studying how people receive information and process messages, what works, what doesn’t, as well as what merits more investigation.

frank’s purpose is to be a convener, connector and, yes, cheerleader for using communications to advance social good. Our annual conference, which is just one of the ways we perform our service to the field of public interest communications, brought together a rich mix of practicing communications professionals from nonprofits, foundations, think tanks and consulting firms, as well as journalists, artists and academics, among others.

Any effort on my part to tell you what was “important” about what people said or heard at frank, would barely do justice to the depth of insights and wisdom around which the conversations centered. Because of the strong desire to address how to use communications effectively to “make the good greater,” there was a conscious effort to explore the topic through a range of lenses: practitioner, academic and even observer.

The takeaways from frank were many, and much of it thought-provoking and both actionable and applicable.

But don’t just take my word for it. Instead, pull up a chair — and away from the latest season of “House of Cards” — and binge instead on our collection of memorable videos from #frank2015.

Posted on March 4, 2015

Bruce Trachtenberg
Bruce Trachtenberg is executive producer and editor for The Atlantic Philanthropies. He previously served as executive editor for frank and before that as executive director of the Communications Network.