«Key Points This lesson presents strategies for ensuring that you communicate effectively with the whole community, including those with access and ...»
LESSON 2. COMMUNICATING WITH THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
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Lesson 2. Communicating With the Whole Community
LESSON OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVES
This lesson presents strategies for ensuring that you communicate effectively with the whole
community, including those with access and functional needs.
Effective Communication (IS-242.b)
February 2014 Student Manual Page 2.1 Lesson 2. Communicating With the Whole Community
LESSON OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVESVisual 2.2 Key Points
At the completion of this lesson, you should be able to:
• Analyze your community to identify groups requiring consideration when preparing and delivering communications.
• Identify factors that impact communication requirements.
• Identify strategies for communicating effectively with the whole community.
• Identify aspects of communicating with respect.
Effective Communication (IS-242.b) Page 2.2 Student Manual February 2014 Lesson 2. Communicating With the Whole Community
VIDEO: COMMUNICATING WITH THE WHOLE COMMUNITYVisual 2.3 Key Points
Communicating effectively with your community means communicating with the whole community. Communities are diverse. They include people of all ages and varied cultural backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, and people with other access and functional needs such as limited English proficiency or literacy limitations.
How can you successfully communicate with such a diverse audience? The first step is to know your audience, including any factors that may impact how you communicate with them. Once you understand your audience, you will be better able to communicate in a way that takes advantage of their communication strengths.
Be sure your messages are clear and understandable. This benefits your entire audience.
Next, tailor your message delivery to the needs of the community, especially those with sensory disabilities or language limitations. One way to tailor your message is to provide information in multiple formats so that accessing it does not depend on a single sense or ability of the user.
Another approach is to translate materials into multiple languages at appropriate reading levels.
It is important to be sensitive to cultural differences in the way we communicate, including nonverbal cues, and to communicate in a way that bridges those differences.
Next, consider ways to get your message out that will enhance the likelihood of its being received by specific populations. Teaming up with organizations in the community can help.
And finally, communicating with respect will improve your ability to reach the whole community, including those with disabilities and other access and functional needs.
THE WHOLE COMMUNITYVisual 2.4 Key Points In emergency management, communication responsibilities are typically quite varied. Your
responsibilities may include:
• Educating the community on emergency preparedness.
• Keeping people informed about emergency plans, issues, and events.
• Issuing alerts and warnings.
• Providing accurate information during incidents.
• Sharing information with response partners.
• Engaging the community in dialogues about disaster recovery.
Your target audience can be described generally as “everyone who can benefit from the information.” Although up to this point we have focused primarily on oral communication skills, you have a
wide variety of communication tools at your disposal, including, among others:
• Print-based materials.
• Web-based content.
• Broadcast media (television and radio).
• Telephone and face-to-face interaction with individuals.
• Large-group forums such as public meetings.
• Social media.
We’ll look more closely at the various communication media in the next lesson. For now, let’s consider ways to ensure that your message—regardless of the medium—is appropriate for the whole community.
COMMUNITY DIVERSITYVisual 2.5 Key Points Communities include people of all ages, diverse cultural groups, and individuals with access and functional needs. Access and functional needs are factors that impact an individual’s access to information and needed programs and services. These factors include, but are not
• Disabilities that impact hearing, vision, speech, cognitive processing, and mobility.
• Limited English proficiency.
• Literacy limitations.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over half the population has some type of access or functional need, and almost 20 percent have disabilities. Further, they project a rapid increase in diversity. Many factors are contributing to the increasing diversity of communities. Examples
of these factors include:
• The growing population of people with disabilities living in communities instead of institutional settings.
• The Baby Boom generation reaching their seniority, resulting in a growing senior population.
• Greater international migration contributing to more ethnic and linguistic diversity of the population.
It is important to know the composition of your community and to understand what that composition means for the way you communicate.
Understanding the community is not a one-time event or analysis. Because communities are constantly changing, the process must be an ongoing effort to stay in tune with the capabilities and needs of the population.
UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS OF YOUR COMMUNITYVisual 2.6 Key Points
To better understand the communication needs of your community, you should:
• Understand community complexity so you will know who your audience is. For example, learn about your community’s demographics, and educate your emergency management
staff. Potential sources of information include:
o Jurisdiction profiles compiled by emergency planning teams.
o Social service agencies and organizations.
o Faith-based organizations and houses of worship.
o Advocacy groups.
o Chamber of commerce and business leaders.
o English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) programs.
• Know the languages and communication methods/traditions in the community.
Consider not only what languages people speak and understand, but how they actually exchange new information and which information sources they trust. Be aware of myths and stereotypes.
• Find out where the real conversations happen and decisions are made. Decisions are not always made at the council level, but often at venues such as the community center, neighborhood block parties, social clubs, or places of worship. Tap into these opportunities to listen and learn more about the community. Develop strategies to reach community members and engage them in issues that are important to them.
• Implement outreach interventions, such as establishing relationships with multi-lingual volunteers to help interact with the various groups, and forming alliances with disability advocacy groups.
UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS OF YOUR COMMUNITYVisual 2.6 (Continued) Formal and informal community leaders such as community organizers, local council members and other government leaders, nonprofit or business leaders, volunteer or faith leaders, and long-term residents have valuable knowledge and can provide a comprehensive understanding of the communities in which they live.
ACTIVITY: THE WHOLE COMMUNITYVisual 2.7 Key Points Purpose: The purpose of this activity is to review the importance of the whole community.
Time: 5 minutes
Instructions: Entire group:
• Your instructor will read each statement in the Student Manual and ask if it is true or false.
• Be prepared to explain your answers.
• In emergency management communication, the target audience is those people who form the majority in the community.
• Access and functional needs are factors that impact an individual’s access to information and needed programs and services.
• Understanding the community can be accomplished through a one-time analysis of the jurisdiction’s demographics.
COMMUNICATING WITH THE WHOLE COMMUNITYVisual 2.8 Key Points
There are four key actions that will help you communicate effectively with the whole community:
• Action #1: Ensure message content is clear and understandable.
• Action #2: Tailor message delivery to specific needs.
• Action #3: Identify alternate avenues for communication.
• Action #4: Communicate with respect.
We will look at each action in more detail.
ACTION #1: ENSURE MESSAGE CONTENT IS CLEAR AND UNDERSTANDABLEVisual 2.9 Key Points As a baseline, all communications should be clear, user-friendly, and age appropriate.
• Be clear. Using plain language benefits most people. Avoid jargon and acronyms, passive voice, and complex structures.
• When presenting information orally, apply the basic communication skills related to listening, nonverbal cues, voice, and engaging the audience.
• Identify your audience, and make sure your presentation is age and education appropriate.
Materials and presentations for children will not be the same as those for adults.
• Make sure the format is user-friendly, with an easy-to-follow format. Using symbols and graphics can add clarity and eliminate extra verbiage.
ACTION #2: TAILOR MESSAGE DELIVERY TO SPECIFIC NEEDSVisual 2.10 Key Points Segments of the population often have specific needs that, when met, enable them to participate fully in the exchange of information.
Look, for example, at communicating with people who have:
• Sensory disabilities.
• Language or literacy requirements.
• Cultural factors that affect communication.
ACTION #2: TAILOR MESSAGE DELIVERY TO SPECIFIC NEEDSVisual 2.11 Key Points Sensory disabilities include hearing, vision, speech, and cognitive disabilities, each of which can impact the process of communication.
Every individual is different. For example, a person with a vision disability may be blind or have low vision; the vision loss may have been present at birth, progressive, or caused by trauma, or might be happening gradually with aging.
Individuals with sensory disabilities may not be able to communicate their needs or ask for information, hear verbal announcements or alerts, see directional signs, communicate their circumstances to emergency responders, or understand how to get assistance due to their disability.
They may require auxiliary aids and services or language access services (such as interpreters and adapted materials) to participate effectively in communication.
ACTION #2: TAILOR MESSAGE DELIVERY TO SPECIFIC NEEDSVisual 2.12 Key Points A guiding principle for serving individuals with disabilities is access to effective communication.
• People with disabilities must be given the same information provided to the general population.
• Communication with people with disabilities must be as effective as communication with others.
The job aid on the next page provides information about laws protecting the communication rights of individuals with disabilities.
A number of laws have been enacted to protect the rights of people with access and functional needs. Below are examples of laws that specifically address accessible communication.
ACTION #2: TAILOR MESSAGE DELIVERY TO SPECIFIC NEEDSVisual 2.13 Key Points Whether information is print-based, Web-based, or presented orally, appropriate media should
be used to ensure information is communicated in alternate formats. Examples include:
• Sign language interpretation of spoken presentations.
• Video captioning.
• Downloadable large-print versions of materials.
• Braille versions of materials.
• Web content with screen reader capability.
• Recorded narrations describing visual materials.
ACTIVITY: DO’S AND DON’TS Visual 2.14 Key Points Purpose: The purpose of this activity is to identify communication practices you should use (and those you should avoid using) when communicating with the whole community.
Time: 5 minutes
Instructions: Entire group:
• Your instructor will read each statement in the Student Manual and ask if it is something you should do or should avoid doing.
• Be prepared to follow up the answers with a group discussion.
• Use abbreviations and acronyms as much as possible to eliminate extra verbiage.