When the chips are down, nothing helps turnaround negative news or social media chatter faster than some strong community champions. Turn your parents, alumni and other stakeholders into advocates and allies who will speak out and support you.

By communicating consistently with your audience through multiple channels (print, website, e-blasts, etc.) throughout the year, families, alumni, staff–and even your students–are more likely to come to your defense in times of need because they are well-informed and feel like they are a valued part of your school community.

Here are some things to note about clear and consistent communication:

  1. It creates a sense of belonging.
  2. An open flow of information and conversation builds trust.
  3. When people feel part of the process, it leads to a better end result.
  4. Knowledge is power and it leads to security and less fear of the unknown.

Here are some tips on how and what to communicate:

  1. When there is a hot topic in the press, address it while it is top of mind. As a recent example, school safety is part of a national dialogue. Reassure families by communicating about how you serve and protect students.
  2. Be transparent and speak truthfully. If you’re limited on what you can say in a particular situation, be honest about it.
  3. Invite the submission of new and creative content from school staff or students. Engaging others will provide new perspectives, increase buy-in, and build energy.
  4. Use pictures and video to tell stories. Images put a face on issues and communicate emotion in a way that words can’t. Images also help to transcend language barriers.
  5. Celebrate successes, big and small. People love good getting good news and it softens the blow of bad news–if it happens to occur. It also builds a sense of pride in a school or District they are invested in.

Take the time to consistently practice good communication and you are more likely see a positive impact when it matters most.