illustration of a target with "create action" at bullseye

Fundamental objectives are hard — but important to identify

illustration of a target with "create action" at bullseye

What is your real target for your communication effort?  Identify your fundamental communication objectives.

I consulted recently with a couple of very knowledgeable and accomplished scientists about a conference at which they hoped to reach a key audience. They had a wealth of information and details they hoped to communicate with other decision-making professionals — literally reams of rigorous information and science-based recommendations.

One of the first questions I asked was "what do you hope to achieve and, specifically, what do you want people to do as a result of attending your meeting?"

The answer - "our goal is to deliver a substantive presentation."

While substantive presentations may be the means to reach a goal, I would contend that interesting, entertaining, engaging and even substantially strong scientific presentations are NEVER a fundamental goal.

Communication delivery (presentations, brochures, news releases, websites) are not goals/objectives in themselves. We need to define first a fundamental communication goal/objective — what you want your audience to know, feel and/or do. It sounds easy, right? Not always.

Often, as natural resource scientists and administrators with a wealth of technical and policy knowledge in mind, identifying fundamental communication objectives can be more daunting than monitoring breeding habits of a rare, elusive, canopy-dwelling, nocturnal species.

If communication is valuable for you to spend your time (and agency dollars) on, it is important to identify the fundamental communications objectives. Out of a well-honed fundamental objective can emerge the best communication approach — and eventually, perhaps, a substantive presentation.

November 1, 2017


Jon is a digital strategist with 30 years of natural resource public affairs, information, and education experience. He launched his career with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources where he directed public relations and education programs. Recognizing the importance of the Internet as a…