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1 Mobility Colloquium a monthly presentation sponsored by Welcome to the

2 Communicating the Value of Your Research: How to convince your mom that you contribute to society Preliminary Conclusions from NCHRP Communicating the Value of Research Sponsored by TRB and AASHTO Johanna Zmud, NuStats Tim Lomax, TTI

3 Value of Research Generates new knowledge Leads to new products and process Improves well-being of citizens Still, transportation research programs and projects can be tough sell... Even to your mother

4 Communication Matters Communication -- basis for decisions about research Investment Adoption Implementation Non or poor communication of “value” -- major obstacle in securing research funding SAFETEA-LU case

5 Research in SAFETEA-LU Funding for research programs 1% of total funding Factors that made a difference in funding/not funding programs Messengers Coalitions Reciprocity Timing Issue Positioning The “Why”

6 More about the “Why” Value of transportation research measured in “good” that it does Audience -- decision-makers, elected & appointed officials, media, and regular people Anticipate, interpret, focus – key points Connect research investments to benefits that matter -- social & technical “goods” “Earmarking” is a reflection of lawmaker perception

7 How-To Communicate NOT

8 Taking Communication Seriously Taking communication seriously means Part of research process Bringing decision makers and other stakeholders into research process Building relationships that last beyond single project Drawing on support of communication specialists Building communication skills of researchers Providing resources to support and enhance communication capacity of research team

9 7 Signs of Good Practice  Audience identified & understood  Research outcome linked to tangible benefit  Two-way relationship with audience  Timing relevant – opportunistic & early  Broad coalitions built  Communication professionals involved  Packaging fits purpose and audience

10 Major Conclusion: Establishing and Communicating Value is a Process

11 Context – Situation Analysis Recognize that context matters. Define relevant issue or need. Communication is response to situation. Connect interests of audience with the research. Its about the receiver and what they do. Case study examples: Seismic Bridge Retrofit Mileage-based Fee Program

12 Strategy – How and What for Whom Define the “strategic space”. Coalesce strategy around a goal or vision. Provides structure for a common ground. Understand value profile. Who are audience(s)? How do they determine or express value? What are the value elements of the research? Build long-standing two-way relationships. Case study examples: ACS Lite Fiber Reinforced Polymer Bridge Deck

13 Content – What to Include Develop accurate & appropriate messages. Depends on both the context and strategy. Use multiple messaging tactics. Use logic, emotion, or credibility to get the message across. Identify “sticky” messages. Tailor to current concerns of audience. Case study example: New Bridge Steel

14 Channels – Means of Communication Consider audience. Tailor message and style to channel. Print, In-Person, Broadcast, Internet or computer-based. Case study examples: Komen Mileage-based Fee Program Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

15 Style – Look and Feel Packaging matters. Design, Layout, Color Consider non-graphic attributes. Timeliness, scope, insight; professionalism, pride, confidence. Build brand value. Symbolic embodiment; create associations and expectations Case study examples: Median Cable Barriers Komen St. Jude

16 Putting It All Together: NCFRP Example Context Globalization, Congestion, Safety Strategy Build a coalition of freight interests (Freight Stakeholders Coalition) Work with champion -- AASHTO Content Focused on issues of broad, current national interest Channels In-Person (key stakeholder support) Print (engaging summaries) Style Straightforward presentation of information (key points; benefits; attractive one-pagers)

17 How to Convince your Mom, Research Director or Legislative Staffer Know the context and problems Develop communication strategy, emphasizing relationships Prepare messages salient to their values Match channels and styles to interests, needs and abilities Communicate and reassess continuously


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