Each Wednesday at 10am EST, we host a Weekly Communication Support Check-In to share best practices and discuss with each other how we are communicating differently (or the same) during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some notes from this week’s meet-up that may help you navigate what’s most important to communicate now.


Keep on Keepin’ On

This may seem like an inappropriate thing to celebrate anything. With daunting and uncertain circumstances dominating the news and our own feelings, we may all be thinking it’s more important to highlight what’s not happening than what is. I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of information about how we humans are wired for certainty. We get extremely uncomfortable when we don’t know what’s going to happen. The truth is, we never can really know what’s going to happen. We’ve been making structures and stories all along – to make sense of what’s around us and help propel us to action.

Purpose-driven people have always been working under these conditions. Idealists, artists, and problem-solvers springboard from a place of not knowing into vision, imagination and acknowledgement that each moment is important and often worth celebrating. We can carry this sensibility into our creative communications to bolster our audiences and remind ourselves about what and why we are doing anything at all.

We’ve talked about the reality of open vs. closed in this COVID-19 crisis. You are either open or you are closed. There really is no in between. This week, we took that one step farther to think about how people react during crisis in general and what it can tell us about how to move forward.

3 Ways to Go:

In the face of crisis, there are typically 3 responses:

  1. Hide Until “It’s Over.”  Right now, we have no idea when or if this will be “over” and even when/if it is, there is no indication that anything will return to “the way it was before.”

  2. Just Stop. That’s it. Just stop doing anything. Pretty self-explanatory.

  3. Keeping Going & Innovate. As a twist to the Winston Churchill quote “When you are going through Hell, keep going.” I like to think of the ways we can actually learn from whatever we are going through. Thinking of this moment in time only as Hell is really like #1. The people who will probably have the best experiences during this time and create meaningful change are those who are not only willing to endure, but can see opportunities (and maybe even beauty) in the ruins. 

Connecting Celebration to Purpose

Celebrating in your communications doesn’t mean that you have to sugar coat what’s going on or deny it. It’s quite the opposite. By acknowledging the context and then connecting your perspectives to your Purpose, Vision & Mission, you are rising to a leadership view of the work that you steward. You are showing a desire and intention to move forward and that takes guts. 

We are being forced to think differently about everyday life, but that shouldn’t get in the way of our ability to see the world through our purpose-driven lenses. “Pivot” has become the word of the year (maybe the decade and maybe the century…). But that doesn’t include our values, our joys and what we find important and meaningful. The exciting work of change-makers communicators now is to find ways to elevate the stories that show hope, perseverance and action. 

Below are examples of celebrations that we shared and discussed on the call today. I hope you are moved by these meaningful statements of hope and as Leni Uddyback-Fortson said: proof that we are all capable of “. . . imagining ourselves into the future.”

Sipp Culture celebrated the progress in their agricultural production efforts on Instagram! It reached me in Philadelphia and touched my heart in ways that were surprising. Hear Chivona talk about this in the video transcript below.

Peters Valley School of Craft launched a video that has been almost a year in the making that coincides with their 50th Anniversary this year. In the video transcript of our meeting, hear Executive Director Kristin Muller describe the importance of this video in the context of the difficult decision they had to make to cancel workshops in 2020.

Movement Alliance Project is the new name that these champions of justice took on after 15 years of making impact as the Media Mobilizing Project. See how they celebrated this change that was already in the works since 2019 – even during this daunting and uncertain time.

The photo we chose for this week’s theme combines a nostalgia for an event from 2008 with the evergreen emotions that are depicted here. Nyo leads the group in a Lindy-Hop lesson during Posters for the People‘s community launch. Being reminded of happier times is both a celebration and a commitment to hope.


TAKEAWAYS:

Highlight what you are already working on. You don’t have to create new content to celebrate something that was already in the works before COVID-19.

Celebrating something we are doing can remind us of the progress we are making.

These times aren’t really more uncertain than any others. It’s just how we make sense of what we are going through. Celebrations are cultural ways that we can mark time, remind ourselves of our priorities and give attention to the people behind the scenes.


RESOURCES WE REVIEWED:

Join the Weekly Communication Support Zoom on Weds @10am EST


BONUS CELEBRATION:

Sometimes celebrating is also about being willing to be vulnerable regardless of the “standards.” Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to really show our true colors and give whatever we have through creative communication. I encourage everyone to celebrate something that taps into their authentic voice – whether it’s from an organization or as individuals (or both!). We may never have a time like this to celebrate so genuinely again. 

In that spirit, I’m celebrating and sharing music that my husband Phil and I make as The FlipCharts. I hope you enjoy!


CHAT TRANSCRIPT

10:09:07 From Shannon ~ StoryMuse ~ s/her/s : Hey, Ennis. Having a bad internet day. Trying to get in on my phone as well to supplement. (Whenever you’ve got time)
10:10:45 From Shannon ~ StoryMuse ~ s/her/s : Thank you!
10:31:09 From Andrea Satter : So glad you’re showing the video! It’s wonderful!!!
10:36:42 From Leni/NoteWorthy by Leni : That was amazing!!!
10:39:01 From Meghan Van Dyk : I watched this video once last night and three times this morning because it brought me so much joy.
10:48:45 From Meghan Van Dyk : i love seeing tv news adapting — that’s so right
10:50:22 From Meghan Van Dyk : That’s so intimate and awesome
10:53:47 From Meghan Van Dyk : Start a conversation. This is a great time to just set up a time to “just” talk with people.
10:54:28 From Leni/NoteWorthy by Leni : news.crunchbase.com/news/meet-hopin-the-platform-for-virtual-conferences/ 
10:56:27 From Meghan Van Dyk : Interested to know more about the story stimulus package!
10:59:45 From Meghan Van Dyk : Shannon, can you help connect youth organizations you work with about this opportunity? https://civic-spring.org/
11:01:39 From Shannon Turner : will do. can we email afterwards? 
11:01:53 From Social Impact Studios : Sure thing!
11:02:17 From Meghan Van Dyk : yes. I’ll email you
11:03:04 From Meredith Burns : Thank you so much everyone!

And just in case you forgot…

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