Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Looking for a few good speakers

by John Verrico, NAGC Director of Professional Development
NAGC recently put out a Call for Speakers for the 2013 Communications School. Even at this early stage of planning, the School program is shaping up to be amazing. The theme for the 2013 School is “Government Communicators: Engaging Citizens in Democracy” and promises to touch on some of the most significant issues we face.
As government communicators, we are focused on helping our agencies reach our widely varied publics. We all know that geographic dispersion, cultural differences, socio-economic disparities, language barriers, and accessibility issues make it more challenging to reach some segments of the public than others. We also know that people only tend to pay attention to sources of information that they trust. In most cases, government agencies are not necessarily considered a trusted source, adding to the many communication barriers we face.
This will be a major focus of the 2013 Communications School – reaching these varied segments of our publics. And not only reaching them, but truly engaging them to interact with us.

The program planning committee – a wonderful volunteer group of our peers from among the NAGC membership across the country – has envisioned that the School’s program be divided into three primary tracks: Outreach, Engagement and Professional Development.
·         Among other topics, the Outreach track would feature sessions on reaching underserved audiences, understanding generational and cultural differences, and making government information accessible.

·         In the Engagement track, we’re working to coordinate sessions on leveraging community resources, enabling grass roots communications, dealing with environmental justice issues, and interacting with our publics online.

·         The Professional Development track will focus on things like advancing your government career, surviving the approval chain, explaining negative press to your boss, leading change, and a variety of specific skills-focused sessions.
Since these topics are not unique to government communicators here in the United States, we’re reaching out to our international partners to share what they are doing. We hope to have some participants from the newly formed South Eastern European Government Communicators forum who are working to establish open and transparent government in that region. We’re also looking at a session proposal from our neighbors in Canada about a successful video campaign.

So, do you know any good speakers to join this program? Have you encountered any experts in outreach or engagement that you’d recommend? Do you have a success story, best practice or a nightmare of a case study that you’d like to share?

Visit the NAGC Website to download a Speaker Application. Pass around the Call for Speakers to coworkers and professional affiliates.  

We hope to see you at the 2013 NAGC Communications School at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, Arlington, VA, April 16-19, 2013.

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