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Hard and fast? Or slow and steady?

Building meaningful relationships and communicating a story steadily over time won the day over ‘hard and fast’ communications approaches at IABC Victoria’s inaugural debate – Communications: It’s Hard and Fast, not Slow and Steady.

Six of Melbourne’s experts in communications and stakeholder engagement fought it out in two teams during an intense and amusing debate, with the Negative team convincing a big crowd of IABC members and guests there’s great value in engaging with stakeholders in a slow and steady way to change attitudes and behaviours.

The winning team of Sophie Buchanan, Dr Jenny Gray and Dr Marianne Sison presented a united front, emphasising while we may live in an environment of rapid change, communicators must not lose sight of the opportunity to take time to understand and engage more deeply with stakeholders to build mutually beneficial relationships.

The case for ‘slow and steady’ communications

  • Collaboration and building relationships in cross-cultural contexts takes time
  • All-encompassing stories built and communicated over time are effective – and we remember stories better than facts
  • Careful and compassionate communication can create movements that make a difference at an individual or societal level.

Rebecca Wilson, James Howe and Jacob Schnackenberg for the Affirmative team made the case that digital disruption requires communicators to step up and reinvent the way we communicate in a fast-paced world – or get left behind.

The case for ‘hard and fast’ communications

  • Your customers, employees and other stakeholders are already embracing new digital channels. It’s where and how they want to engage with you.
  • We learn best by ‘doing’. Get stuck in and make decisions quickly in real time
  • Millennials favour consuming mainstream media in a hard and fast way and they will steer communication channels in this direction as they take on increasingly influential roles in future.
From left: Dr Marianne D. Sison, Dr Jenny Gray and Sophie Buchanan win the case for the Negative team at IABC Victoria’s inaugural debate.

A sincere thanks to all the debaters, who challenged us to think about whether we’re embracing the right mix of ‘slow and steady’ vs ‘hard and fast’ communication approaches in our work.


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