The Value of Messaging in Educational Change

In his book Digital Leadership, Eric Sheninger talks about the importance of communicating the good news about your school or district to key stakeholders. He emphasizes the need for leaders in an organization to be great storytellers who can share a positive message about the school through social media and presentations. Sharing the school’s brand with a “sticky message” will make you stand out above the crowd and provide everyone with a clear understanding of what you value.

As I’ve worked with administrators on digital leadership strategies this year, I’ve enjoyed watching them embrace social media tools like Twitter and blogging to share the good news.  George Couros reminded our team last summer that you need to get positive information out in as many ways as possible. If negative comments arise on a Twitter feed, they’ll be quickly forgotten as more good news is shared. 

The success of 1:1 and BYOD computing initiatives depends on the ability of leaders to gain stakeholder buy-in through messaging. Above all else, the leaders in an organization must be able to deliver an elevator speech that communicates a clear and consistent message. In addition to the elevator speech, a digital leader should be able to deliver presentations that will engage the community, school board, and other stakeholders.

Here are a few questions to think about as you prepare for new initiatives:

  • Do you have your elevator speech ready when someone on the school board asks you to describe the benefits of your program and why it should be funded?
  • How will you share the message about your new initiatives with parents and community members?
  • Do you have evidence of successes to share through social media and other presentations?

As you begin the hard work of preparing how to market your message to stakeholders, there are a variety of resources to help. Take advantage of the following resources to help you to develop more effective presentations and lay the groundwork for successful initiatives.

Weekend Language: Presenting with More Stories and Less PowerPoint by Andy Craig and Dave Yewman

The authors remind us that we’re a better version of ourselves when we’re telling a story instead of reading slides. You can bring your weekend language into work day presentations with five easy tips.

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds

Presentation Zen focuses on simplifying presentations so that they have more impact on your audience. If you use slide decks to present, this book will help you to improve the look and feel of your presentation with design techniques. 

Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

The Heath brothers give many great examples of companies that have used effective messaging to make their brand stick with consumers.

TED Talks
TED Talks are a great way to see how others are communicating their message. Pick out a few talks on a topic of interest and take notes about the presenter’s presentation style.

Donna Teuber is the team leader for technology integration in South Carolina’s Richland School District Two, a Project RED Signature District with 1:1 computing in grades 3-12 impacting 21,000 students. Technology leadership has been key to the success of the Richland Two initiative, and Donna has created a Technology Leadership program to provide school administrators with the tools to lead the initiative at their schools, as well as leading the R2 Innovates! innovation incubator which provides teams of teachers with the training and resources that they need to implement innovative practices. 

Related toolkits

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