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Training Makes Communications Less Puff, More Practical

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

Wayne Shields, president and CEO of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, emerged from a 2006 communications training with specific ideas for connecting with his organization’s most critical audiences: healthcare providers, scientists and educators.

“We’re much more focused on the receiver of the information and how they might perceive the world and their role in it and how communications impacts them—that’s new for us,” he said. “We’re also not making assumptions. We’re testing. In training, we learned how to get feedback on messages and how to be open to it.” He also learned something about pacing information. “We learned not to overwhelm people,” he said. “Don’t give everything at once—give people little tastes that are compelling.” These lessons have informed the creation of an active website, Facebook page and email announcements. “We always have an action tied to ARHP email and listserv announcements,” said Shields. “We learned that in training.”

Training, he said, “can help with other folks who don’t value communications and see it as fluffy. It helped me make communications more concrete and practical and valued than before I went to training.”

Today Shields works closely with his director of communications and other organizational leaders to generate an annual communications plan that identifies communications activities, related goals from the organization’s strategic plan, implementation responsibilities, and desired outcomes. “Communications is a central part of our overall strategy,” he said.

Wayne Shields attended the CLEAR Executive Training, which extended several days over the course of a year.

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