We all know that government budgets to go to conferences are practically non-existent nowadays. So communicators at all levels of government are working to find alternative ways of meeting with stakeholders, usually turning to online virtual solutions. But, as one communicator said in response to a survey earlier this year – “You can’t fax a handshake!”
There really is nothing like in-person, face-to-face interaction. And, let’s face it, we can’t reach every audience online. There still is a real need to get out there and meet people – especially in our local communities.
As government entities, we serve the people in our communities and are part of the neighborhood, so we should be good neighbors and get to know people and have them get to know us.
There are all sorts of opportunities to meet the folks we serve, such as getting a booth at local fairs or festivals, holding or participating in town hall meetings, and conducting open house events at our facility. These are great chances to explain complex programs, show off some of our agency’s accomplishments, or get people signed up for our services.
Many factors impact our success in these venues. We need to consider our targeted messaging strategy, our booth, who staffs it, and whatever we give away. There is also a subtle science behind how we position ourselves and our display elements.
On Wednesday, September 18, I’ll be leading a webinar about this topic and discuss some tips from real-world experience on how to make the most of our local community relations efforts. Details and registration information are on the National Association of Government Communicators website www.nagconline.org.