Communication, Engagement, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Nadiya Hussain


Communication can be tricky. But sometimes, it is just because we don’t learn.

For example, we all have relatives that we love, respect and value; but we just don’t feel heard. We give them advice but they don’t seem to listen; we try to help out but always feel on a different wavelength.

So finally we might try something different. We talk to them about something we know they love but isn’t necessarily our thing, and suddenly we are getting through.  We choose subjects, or people, that interest them, and the communication improves. They benefit and, of course, so do we.

Albert Einstein is credited for saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different result.” And this is true of communications. Communicating in exactly the same way time and time again just doesn’t work. We need be more creative.

Advertisers understand this. That is why the good ones don’t just rattle through a technical spec or a list of what they have done to create the latest product. Instead they make us laugh, or find a way to explain their product or service in way that taps into our needs, not just explains theirs.

And the ultimate for an advertiser is getting someone we trust and value to help convey their message. So we rarely see politicians or estate agents selling a product, but Jessica Ennis-Hill or Nadiya Hussain, role models and respected figures.

And communications within our own lives is no different. Most of us would much prefer to talk and listen to our neighbours and friends than read a formal letter from the council or the government. It is not that we think the council are lying to us, just that Fred or Judy across the road have never let us down before, so why should they now?

At YourMK we are determined to do all we can to listen to residents, tenants and businesses on the seven regeneration states.  We know that simply communicating the same way local government has done in the past will not work. We need to understand how people want to be talked to and listened to, and use different ways to ensure we genuinely engage.

So rather than just rely on leaflets, newspapers, posters and the like, we have set up a community communicator programme. 

This is a group of people – about 81 at the moment – who are interested in what YourMK is doing and want to help out by being a conduit for communications in their local community. These people tell us what they are hearing about YourMK and regeneration from their friends, neighbours and customers, and in turn we make sure they know what is going on so they can tell others who might be interested.

So our communicators trust us to act on what they tell us, and we value and trust them by giving them all the information we can before we tell anyone else. And as a result our communications are constantly tweaked to meet the needs of the people who live in the areas we’re communicating about.

If you’d like to know more, or would consider becoming one of our community communicators yourself, let us know.  Call us on 01908 991563.