Communicating complexity

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Successful communications are all about making the message as simple as possible – but this can be difficult when the subjects we're talking about are inherently complicated. Academic institutions, tech companies, health organisations, charities and many others have complex ideas, processes and systems at the heart of what they do. This course is for anybody who needs to distill information down into key messages for important stakeholders, funders and investors, decision makers and members of the public. You’ll learn proven techniques for grabbing attention and changing minds through presentations and public speaking, infographics and data visualisations, and written reports and online posts. We’ll work with you before the course to ensure that we understand your organisation and what you’re hoping to achieve.

Sample agenda

9.45am-4.15pm, for up to 20 attendees

Session 1: Understanding your audience

  • Matching your objectives to your audience's motivations.

  • Identifying the right tone and language.

  • Understanding how, where and when your audience wants to be spoken to.

Session 2: Refining your objectives

  • Breaking down strategic aims into tactical steps

  • Metrics and milestones: defining and measuring progress and success.

  • Rapidly building a brief for your communications.

Session 3: Telling the story

  • Using metaphors, visuals, comparisons to frame your narrative.

  • From slide decks to online campaigns - choosing the right formats for delivering your message.

  • Selecting communications channels to maximise reach and impact.

Session 4: Keeping it going

  • Processes and systems for launching and maintaining communications campaigns.

  • Building social proof – curating and curating content.

  • Troubleshooting and preparing for common challenges.

All of our courses are interactive – every session includes a mix of formal tuition and hands-on exercises.

Tutor

Alan Rutter is the founder of Fire Plus Algebra. He is a specialist in communicating complex subjects through data visualisation, writing and design. He teaches for General Assembly and runs in-house training for public sector clients including the Home Office, the Department of Transport, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Health Foundation, and numerous local government and emergency services teams. He previously worked with Guardian Masterclasses on curating and delivering new course strands, including developing and teaching their B2B data visualisation courses. He oversaw the iPad edition launches of Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue in the UK, and has worked with Condé Nast International as product owner on a bespoke digital asset management system for their 11 global markets.

Notes

  • Costs include preparation of materials, discussion of the learning objectives, and customisation of the examples and materials.

  • All sessions are a mix of formal presentation, group discussion, and practical exercises.

  • All slides and lists of resources can be provided for the attendees after the session.

Technical requirements

  • Flipchart and/or whiteboard with pens.

  • Appropriate large screen for number of attendees, with VGA or HDMI

  • cable (tutor will be using a Mac laptop, and can supply adaptors).

  • Pens and A4 plain paper for attendees.

  • Fast/private wifi access.

Testimonial

“We’ve now worked with Alan for almost 3 years, and during that time he has continued to deliver the highest quality training for our clients and delegates. Alan’s passionate delivery style has continued to deliver innovative training solutions to over 1500 delegates across the public, private and voluntary sector. Each of our courses with him has always delivered exceptional feedback and satisfaction levels.”
Joe Barlow | Head of Programme, Understanding ModernGov