ILRIComms / Training

Grabbing public attention for your work – an ILRI Komms Klinic on public awareness

We all work with information and knowledge and we communicate continuously. We generate lots of knowledge and valuable ideas; we meet partners and colleagues in events; and most of the time we need to organize, find and track our and others’ knowledge and information. Communicating and sharing information and knowledge have been a great challenge in most research institutions.

To aid this, the ILRI Communication group (Knowledge Management and Information Services [KMIS] and Public Awareness [PA] teams) organize Komms Klinics sessions. The sessions either focus on training around specific communication tools or give an overview of important communication issues, including engaging audiences, meetings and events, public awareness, finding and managing information, multi-media, publishing and design.

On 10 July, we hosted a Komms Klinic session at the ILRI Nairobi campus, linked virtually (via WebEx) to the Addis campus. The session gave an overview and tips on Public Awareness and specifically on ‘how to grab public attention to your work’. The session aimed to:

  1. Demonstrate how PA can make a change in the way we work,
  2. Show the danger of poor public awareness for ILRI and
  3. Explain some of the ways PA is changing and impacting our work in novel ways.

The session attracted over 50 participants across the two campuses, including research technicians, consultants in various projects, administrative staff, students, communication personnel from ILRI and hosted institutions, and a number of scientists.

The session seemed to generate a large appetite for tailor-made communication Komms Klinics sessions in their departments and more public sessions within the two campuses. One participant suggested the need for a KK session on how to translate research findings, meetings, and workshop outputs into interesting and powerful blog stories, tweets or yammer posts. Another one asked us to help scientists kill the culture of information and knowledge hoarding, emphasizing that sharing raised their research output profiles. Other participants proposed that we send regular communication tips to ILRI staff.

Participants expressed a mutual feeling that for their work to grab public attention, they needed to work as a team and engage the communications team from the inception of their projects.

Overall, the session was a good opportunity for KK facilitators and participants to discuss, share and reflect on the significance of public awareness in raising personal, team and institutional profiles.  Plans are underway to have more sessions on specific communication tools used at ILRI, to complement such ‘awareness-raising’ sessions as this one.

The next KK awareness-raising session will focus on ‘Finding and managing information‘ and is scheduled for Friday 24 August 2012.

Find more resources about the Komms Klinics Session on the ILRI training wiki.

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