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An art or a science? Mastering Effective Project Communication in 5 Strategic Steps

An art or a science? Mastering Effective Project Communication in 5 Strategic Steps

By Radhika Poojara, Communications Specialist, ECHAlliance

Projects

Reflecting on my professional journey in communications, and having joined the ECHAlliance as Comms Specialist working on four EU funded projects, I can’t help but reminisce on the success of comms as an art and a science. With the explosive growth of platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram, the truth has become clear: effective communication within European Union (EU) funded projects is both an art and a science. In the context of EU projects, where there’s a defined expiry date, success hinges on fulfilling Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) while serving the intended use of the audience and considering the needs of future stakeholders. Let’s delve into unraveling the complexities of impactful digital communication within the realm of EU projects using five strategic steps.

1) Leveraging Employee Engagement: Uniting Internal and External Communication!

It’s worthwhile to enhance collaboration with your coordination teams by initiating internal weekly communication meetings or utilizing resources such as internal newsletters. Continue bridging the gap between internal and external communication, encouraging staff members from your consortium to share their personal narratives, whether they be professional achievements or personal experiences, to add an authentic touch to your project.

Recently, I conducted an engaging session in Spain for an EU project, guiding over 80 participants in improving their advocacy and storytelling skills through active social media engagement. The session encouraged attendees to interact with the project’s latest social media post, resulting in impressive metrics: 2,019 impressions, a 29.27% engagement rate, and 448 clicks with a 2.19% click-through rate, highlighting the impactful involvement of the team with the social post.

2) Going Beyond Proposals: Crafting a Communication Plan that Grows with Your Project

Within the realm of EU projects, communication strategies tend to be sporadically implemented, typically arising as a project deliverable or a designated key performance indicator (KPI). However, it is crucial to proactively integrate a communication strategy that remains not just a project requirement, but a dynamic and integral part of the work you do. The key lies in the strategic alignment of communication efforts with project objectives, ensuring ongoing relevance.  In year 3, you won’t be asking, “What can we communicate?” as much as “How can we communicate the future of what we’ve done?”

3) Communication Strategy: Adding a Touch of Humor

In navigating the realm of EU projects, where routine updates may fall short of capturing our audience’s attention, I propose a departure from traditional communication methods. While policy briefs are indispensable, infusing a lighthearted and humorous touch into yur digital interactions can inject vibrancy into your project’s identity.  In the realm of an EU project centered on health data sharing, a humorous communication strategy could be employed to emphasize the importance of transparent and responsible data sharing practices. Instead of delivering a straightforward update on data-sharing protocols, the project might create a playful social media post or a short video featuring fictional characters navigating the intricacies of sharing health data responsibly. The content could humorously highlight the dos and don’ts of data sharing, portraying scenarios akin to everyday life situations. 

4) Videos or infographics? 

Digital communication experts frequently champion the idea that ‘infographics perform better’ (myself included). But as I reflect on a new digital age, I’m starting to question some of these alleged ‘marketing secrets’ as one size fits all. In the dynamic landscape of EU-funded projects, the strategy of use  infographics and videos to enhance communication is often endorsed by proposals. As attention spans dwindle in the digital age, a balance between visually appealing designs and engaging content becomes crucial. While mastering the creation of stunning visuals is valuable, it’s equally important to prioritize impactful content and clear titles that effectively convey the intended message. Even without elaborate graphics, a well-crafted and compelling message supported by a concise title can profoundly engage the audience. Therefore, in EU-funded projects, the key lies in finding the right mix of visually appealing elements and impactful content to maximize communication effectiveness.

5) Language. Language. Language.

A valuable communication strategy tip for an EU-funded health project is to prioritse transparency and consistency over the language used! Ensure that project updates, findings, and developments are communicated in a clear and accessible manner, avoiding unnecessary jargon. Engage with diverse stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the general public, to create a comprehensive dialogue. Use various communication channels such as newsletters, webinars, and social media platforms to disseminate information widely. Foster a sense of community by actively seeking input and feedback. And remember, the project was created by humans FOR humans! 

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