Fifteen months into the Democratic Republic of Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak, we are still asking people to overcome the fear of an indiscriminate disease and accept an intimidating medical process while communicating in a way that often creates confusion and frustration.
these four questions before crafting our internal communications strategy: What do we want to change? What do we want to be true that isn’t true right now? Whose behavior change is necessary to making that happen? Who has to do something (or stop doing something) they’re not doing now for us to achieve that goal? (This is about targeting a narrowly defined audience whose action or behavioral change is fundamental to your goal.) What would that individual or group believe if they took that action? In other words, what does that narrowly defined audience care about most, and how can we include that in our messages? How will we get that message in front of them? Where are their eyes?
field of behavioral linguistics
Through a series of workshops in 2017–18, we’ve been exploring a process for generating new kinds of metaphors, and then using those metaphors to inspire concepts for new kinds of interface design which could potentially help people understand things in different ways. The intention of the workshops is that the process might be something designers can use or adapt for idea generation, or to provoke new kinds of thinking about interface design. The extent to which the metaphors merely provide initial ‘seed’ inspiration, or actually form the basis of the resulting design, varies. Download the New Metaphors cards, v.0.3 (February 2018) — 129 MB PDF, 300 dpi Download a poster/leaflet from Interaction 18 including thumbnails of all the cards, and a shortened version of this article — 2 MB PDF Download templates / worksheets — 400 kB PDF
The Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) is a systematic method to evaluate and compare the understandability and actionability of patient education materials. It is designed as a guide to help determine whether patients will be able to understand and act on information. Separate tools are available for use with print and audiovisual materials.
Aspirational Communication, an approach that seeks to motivate and mobilize people to support a cause by connecting it to the audience’s aspirations for their own lives. I specifically suggest a six-step framework based on the approach that can help social movements to drive durable attitude change.
focus on single person
the report sits uncomfortably with evidence that information needs vary across contexts; a 2018 review of awareness raising interventions across different target populations found success varied markedly.  The same message that will draw attention from policy makers may not resonate with the public and care providers around the world.
We realized we were using insider language to describe innovation (as exemplified by internal blog post titles like “Using GIS Technology to Map Shelter Allocation in Azraq Refugee Camp”), rather than communicating what innovation looks like and the benefits it would bring to UNHCR staff (for example, “How UNHCR Used Creativity to Improve Journalistic Accuracy and Collaboration, One Step at a Time”). So, we hit the reset button and asked ourselves these four questions before crafting our internal communications strategy: What do we want to change? What do we want to be true that isn’t true right now? Whose behavior change is necessary to making that happen? Who has to do something (or stop doing something) they’re not doing now for us to achieve that goal? (This is about targeting a narrowly defined audience whose action or behavioral change is fundamental to your goal.) What would that individual or group believe if they took that action? In other words, what does that narrowly defined audience care about most, and how can we include that in our messages? How will we get that message in front of them? Where are their eyes?
Released in March as part of FrameWorks Institute’s 20th anniversary, the Explanation Declaration asks communicators to help people understand the “how” behind issues and see that how as a critical part of engaging and empowering people to take action.
the importance of clear instructions
News media often frame refugees as a burden or threat to a community, where humanitarian stories often frame refugees as helpless people in a far-off land in need of help. Both narratives — while sympathetic — consistently situate refugees as outsiders. Our job as communicators is to shift the narrative from “us” and “them” to “we.”
A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders explores the use of digital methods to study false viral news, political memes, trolling practices and their social life online. It responds to an increasing demand for understanding the interplay between digital platforms, misleading information, propaganda and viral content practices, and their influence on politics and public life in democratic societies.
done properly, facts provoke emotion better than emotion provokes emotion. Because facts are believable, whereas a display of emotion feels like manipulation. And the first emotion we want to provoke is believability.
Participants whose stated preference was to follow the doctor’s opinion had significantly lower rates of antibiotic requests when given “information first, then opinion” compared to “opinion first, then information.” Our evidence suggests that “information first, then opinion” is the most effective approach. We hypothesize that this is because it is seen by non-experts as more trustworthy and more respectful of their autonomy.
Well, if we want to sway other people to our “correct“ vision of things, we are most likely to do that by having a strong relationship with them. Ironically, it is through carefully and compassionately listening to others that we are more likely to sway their views.
Cause-and-effect statements may seem more true if the initial letters in the words are in alphabetical order because the human brain prefers patterns that follow familiar sequences.
Discarding classical solutions such as information campaigns, it offers a much simpler alternative: make the healthy options more tempting. How? By changing their names. Several research teams in the US have tried this strategy in various school canteens and they found that making the names “seductive”, catchy or funny can induce children to eat healthier.
There is more than one reason this is happening. But, one reason I think the alternative facts industry has been so effective has to do with a concept social scientists call the “backfire effect.” As a rule, misinformed people do not change their minds once they have been presented with facts that challenge their beliefs. But, beyond simply not changing their minds when they should, research shows that they are likely to become more attached to their mistaken beliefs. The factual information “backfires.” When people don’t agree with you, research suggests that bringing in facts to support your case might actually make them believe you less. In other words, fighting the ill-informed with facts is like fighting a grease fire with water. It seems like it should work, but it’s actually going to make things worse.
In the middle of a winter’s night in 2017, Frank Luntz’s cellphone alerted him to a nearby wildfire. The longtime analyst of public opinion opened his bedroom curtains and saw, less than a mile away, flames chewing the dark sky over Los Angeles. Luntz — who specializes in how the public reacts to words — saw scary evidence of a threat that he once tried to neutralize with language. In 2001, he’d written a memo of environmental talking points for Republican politicians and instructed them to scrub their vocabulary of “global warming,” because it had “catastrophic connotations,” and rely on another term: “climate change,” which suggested “a more controllable and less emotional challenge.” Last month, with a revised script, Luntz appeared before the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. “I’m here before you to say that I was wrong in 2001,” Luntz said. Nearby was a colorful chart of vocabulary, developed since his polling in 2009 showed bipartisan support for climate legislation. He went on: “I’ve changed. And I will help you with messaging, if you wish to have it.”
The Data Playbook Beta is a recipe book or exercise book with examples, best practices, how to's, session plans, training materials, matrices, scenarios, and resources. The data playbook will provide resources for National Societies to develop their literacy around data, including responsible data use and data protection. The content aims to be visual, remixable, collaborative, useful, and informative. There are nine modules, 65 pieces of content, and a methodology for sharing curriculum across all the sectors and networks. Material has been compiled, piloted, and tested in collaboration with many contributors from across IFRC and National Societies. Each module has a recipe that puts our raw materials in suggested steps to reach a learning objective. To help support you in creating your own recipe, we also include a listing of 'ingredients' for a topic, organised by type:
Messages focused on the economic costs or negative impacts to individuals were more effective than motivational messaging in gaining support from the public and reducing the psychological distance of an environmental issue.
research on health comm messaging effects
the continued influence effect, which is the observation that the first pieces of information people hear continue to affect what people believe, even when they later find out that information is false.