Anastasiya Nurzhynska: “Communicating with everyone, you reach no one.”

Be brief, provide useful information, and reflect trends. Anastasiya Nurzhynska, a communication specialist of the European Union-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme, talks about effective communication.


What is the key to effective communication?

The most important rule is to avoid communicating with everyone at the same time. You need to know your target audience, what you want to tell them and how. By communicating with everyone you communicate with no one. It is important for your information to “reach” your audience.

Communication is often seen as a unilateral transmission of information. But has the information reached the audience? Has it brought about a change in behaviour or opinion?

Make sure that the audience understands the information you are trying to present and avoid using jargon. Hand your report or informational material over to a journalist for revision/editing.

Make your messages useful or emotionally attractive. Be concise. You need to consider the choice between reading your booklet in the evening and flipping through a fashion magazine, watching TV or scrolling through the Facebook feed.

As far as printed or promotional materials are concerned, select those that people would want to take home—appealing layout and useful information—such as “5 Facts About Something” or “Let’s Learn English Together”, that would at the same time contain messages about your organisation offering, for example, opportunities for international exchange.

What are the modern and the most effective communication tools?

In reality, the pace at which technologies will evolve is very difficult to anticipate. Just over the course of my career, we have transitioned from traditional media and the aspiration to be featured in newspapers to social media accounts replacing mailing of press releases and enabling the owners to reach a much broader audience in comparison to print and broadcast media.

But the very essence of communication has not changed – we still communicate. Never forget that. The tools may change but not what attracts people. People are driven by survival, family, and income.

When it comes to trends, it is expected that virtual reality technologies will continue to develop in the coming years. Even Facebook has a stake in that. The specialists overseas are already trying to estimate the percentage of content consumed via virtual reality applications.

The current trend in Ukraine is to speak in personal stories. Today, we less and less talk on behalf of brands as all they are unable to love, rejoice or reply to us using social networking sites. Instead, we follow brand ambassadors, opinion leaders, and our friends.

The rate of content consumption is changing too. People’s attention diminishes by the year due to increasing volumes of information. Of course, some media outlets can still afford to engage in long-form journalism, but they occupy a very narrow niche, especially with allowance for the fact that “long reads” require brief promotional texts to accompany them. We now live in an era of short stories.

In the Western world, the media are looking for ways to revive fact-based journalism. There was a time once when opinion journalism prevailed. People are beginning to lose trust in the media because of various incidents. To restore it, the media are looking for ways to come back to facts. The organisations that promote themselves need to take that into account too. Instead of using adjectives when talking about themselves, they should use fact-based expressions: “We are one of three…” or “We would like to talk to you about five key components...”

By interacting with your audience, everything becomes interactive. Even TV channels try to incorporate various elements into their programs enabling the viewers to express their opinions instantaneously. The viewers can provide comments or ask questions online, and the hosts can immediately read them out live on the air.

How can cultural projects communicate more effectively?

On the one hand, it is a bit easier for cultural organisations as they use multimedia elements or creative components. The only issue is the lack of resources, both human and financial. If a small team works on a project trying at the same time to attract partners and create a cultural product itself and its promotional materials, there will always be a shortage of time and resources.

Cultural and creative organisations are involved in interesting things, but they are not always able to properly articulate the social value of their products and thus reach large audiences.

Many media outlets have removed cultural sections from their published materials or transformed them into event posters. When managers of cultural projects want to tell about events, organise something or raise awareness, they find themselves unable to include their proposals in the agenda for publishing purposes.

It is important to reflect current trends: talk about cultural and creative industries as part of the economy or other aspects that concern the society in general. It is also important to conduct research and advance arguments: how much revenue these industries generate for the state, and the ways they affect the growth of tourism and relieve social tensions.

It may also be useful to attempt to understand the process of communication better. After all, we all essentially participate in communication when we use social media. Why not do it more effectively? For example, we offer online courses on communication, advocacy, and marketing for managers of cultural projects on our website in all languages of the region. Other resources can also be in our database.

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