Bad start to the weekend

Icon for Post #901

Listened to Radio National Breakfast last Saturday? And why not? Oh really. Shame on you. Anyhoo you missed one of the more disappointing NFP media performances we’ve heard in a while.

Have a listen and you’ll hear an inexact, jargon-rich, unenlightening interview to an audience that would be largely left none the wiser about a critical social issue – disability employment. This; despite 14 minutes of national airtime and a supportive interviewer.

Lesson #1
Explain yourself constantly by defining terms, giving examples, breaking things down. This interview left listeners asking:

What is the National Employment Services Association? What is it? How big? What do they do? For who? How can listeners judge what you are saying if they don’t know what you do?

What is the “employment services market”? What’s that? Is it like a farmers’ market? What does it do? For who? Is it free? Can I use it?

What’s Ostara? What does it actually do for clients? Where is it?

What sort of mental illnesses are we talking about? How many people does this equate to? Help listeners get a scale of the problem.

“Employment is possible” – what sort of work? Yes we know anything from garbo to Prime Minister but in reality what are likely, possible positions that we can work on.

Why are we suddenly talking about $40,000 and the value of giving? I thought this was about getting disabled people jobs?

Are we doing well in Australia on this issue or not?

Lesson #2 Dejargon.

The 14m interview included: “context, funder, cohort, participate in the workforce, framework, address, initiatives, model, partnership, integrated approach at a local level, stakeholders, drive, engagement, marginalised, community connection, integrated assistance, centres of excellence” and more.

What is meant by these terms?


Lesson #3 Examples please!

We heard few examples of what it’s like to have a mental illness and try to find work.

No examples of workplaces that have modified to enable people with a mental illness get and keep a job.

“18 months into these initiatives” Tell us about one.

Lesson #4

Take water into the studio.

Opportunity lost! Lose less opportunities here.

3 Responses to Bad start to the weekend

  1. Thanks for highlighting this Brett – I agree that the message was confused and convoluted – in fact I am not sure what the message was! Great that you highlight NFPs must be even sharper, more succinct and focussed as we dont always have the budgets or the opportuntiies to convey our message. Kepp up the analysis – and we’ll keep sharpening our act!

  2. Catherine says:

    It’s such a shame when NFPs can’t articulate or even think to clearly communicate all the good work they do. Many are very inwards-looking and breed staff who speak to external stakeholders using acronyms and terms only used internally. It’s so frustrating.

  3. Chris says:

    The NFP I was employed at for many years didn’t communicate well at all. So much time and effort and messages were lost through the use of acronyms, jargon and ‘in- words’ – which kept on changing as did the department titles and groupings that most of the staff were confused with what to call the departments they worked in – let alone inform the thousands of volunteers working for the organisation.
    There was a department for producing information into accessible formats for individuals with difficulties reading words and information like diagrams eg English as a second language, vision impairment, dyslexia for example. Two of the formats included “plain English” or “Easy English”. Many government and non- government organisations use this now to communicate more efficiently and acurately with a majority of people, to not use jargon etc. Many in Management and Marketing were incredibly behind the times and would not listen to their lesser ranking colleages or the feedback collected in regards to communications.The result ultimately is missinformation, lack of trust, lack of empathy, alienating the public and loss of donors.
    Why do so called “media trained” people not know how to communicate with ‘real’ people? Many are so far removed from the real business of the organisation that the information can almost be pointless. Why do people equate this type of ‘communication’ with being clever, ahead of others??
    You might gather I find this incredibly frustrating, but my view and many others didn’t matter.