pre conference workshops
We are offering Pre-Conference Workshops for anyone who is interested in getting an early start and taking advantage of all the excellent learning opportunities available at ComNet19.
Pre-Conference Workshops are a deep-dive into strategic communications topics to help you gain practical skills. They’ll be interactive and engaging with ample time to workshop ideas and for you to engage with each other.
Workshops will run at two times (The Early Workshops will run from 1:00pm - 3:00pm, and the Late Workshops will run from 3:30pm - 5:30pm), and will be concurrent to Field Trips.
See our opportunities below.
Before signing up, please note:
You must be registered for the conference before signing up to participate.
All Pre-Conference Workshops will be on Wednesday, October 2.
Participation is $150 for all registered conference attendees.
All workshops will be held in the host hotel (J.W. Marriott).
Field Trips and Pre-Conference Workshops run concurrently.
Once all sessions are filled, a follow-up email will be sent outlining any additional details.
NOTE: In order to complete your registration select a Pre-Conference Workshop, click “Add to Cart”, then click the little shopping cart in the top, right-hand corner of your screen, continue to “Checkout,” and complete your billing information.
*All Pre-Conference Workshops will be on Wednesday, October 2.*
EARLY WORKSHOPS (1:00pm - 3:00pm)
Presenter: Jason Tomassini, Atlantic 57
Description: Your organization has a story to tell. Your organization has storytellers. Yet, it can be challenging for your nonprofit to tell that story consistently and at scale. Audiences have more choices than ever before. Publishing content to all your digital channels can feel like an overwhelming chore. To succeed, nonprofits can learn from news organizations and focus on the stories that matter and that fit into their audiences’ lives.
Our workshop will unpack insights on how to create enduring value for audiences and build an effective storytelling operation. We will present strategies for identifying the unique value you can bring to audiences, how that shared vision informs your editorial strategy, and how you build effective communications teams. We will draw upon insights from The Atlantic’s newsroom and Atlantic 57’s work with leading nonprofits and foundations.
You Will Learn:
1. How to understand your audience’s needs and motivations.
2. How to make content decisions that are informed by your strategic goals.
3. How to hire the right people, build the right communications, and collaborate with your colleagues.
Presenter: Carolina Kroon, Carolina Kroon Photography
Description: In this workshop, we will explore existing visual narratives and stereotypes and explore ways to re-envision visual communication. If a picture is worth a thousand words than which words are they communicating to your distinct audiences? What is in our “mind’s eye” and what kinds of visual narratives are we supporting? Is your written communication in synch with your visual communication? How do your visuals support your overall mission, goals, and values?
Through analysis and group exercises we will look at visual styles, composition and content to identify trends and possible gaps in narratives and how those can be addressed.
We will also explore best practices for working with photographers and improving content production and language to match your visual communication goals.
You Will Learn:
1. How to better analyze the imagery being utilized. What is it saying and what it is not.
2. How to align visual communication with all communication efforts.
3. How to improve working with photographers and directing content to align with your visual goals.
Presenter: Tracey Madigan and Anne Dickerson, 15 Minutes Group
Description: Sitting back and waiting for the calls to come in after you’ve sent out a press release ain’t gonna cut it. If you want media exposure you need to know how to get journalists’ attention. Tracey Madigan has booked hundreds of guests for TV and radio. She will tell you how to pique a booker’s interest, how to get a reporter to call you back, and the magic number of bullet points when selling a story. There is an effective formula for writing that email – we share specifics on when to pitch, and how often to follow up.
What you will learn:
1. The realities of a reporter's day -- and how to pitch accordingly
2. How the element of time is easy to manipulate: yeah, you've got a great story, but if it's not breaking news, why should a reporter cover it NOW? There's a formula for that.
3. How to think like a reporter. What other elements will the reporter have to gather before being able to cover your story, and how you can help him/her out.
LATE WORKSHOPS (3:30pm - 5:30pm)
Presenter: Craig Dwyer, ForaChange
Description: The objective of this workshop is to educate and empower communications professionals and campaigners with the skills and knowledge to communicate with target audiences, cultivate relationships and convert observers to supporters. This will include how to:
• Embrace and adapt to the evolving digital landscape
• Build, organize and mobilize your support base
• Enable and encourage meaningful engagement
• Empower people to take action
You Will Learn:
1. Storytelling through digital platforms.
2. Tips and tools for creating digital content.
3. Measuring impact using data.
Presenter: Jessica Blank, Story for Social Good
Description: Neuroscience is finally confirming what artists have understood for centuries: that our brains respond reliably and powerfully to certain story structures, and that this response has the power to change our minds and motivate prosocial action.
For those of us working for social good, this understanding contains incredible potential. It means that using story to convey our message can enroll and inspire audiences in ways that no other form of communication can. It means that it’s possible to choose stories that impart our message emotionally—that give the audience the immediate emotional experience of our mission—without once having to explain it to them.
Story is a technology for triggering empathic identification, and when we understand the mechanics of this process, we can begin to work with story to inspire, activate and enroll audiences--including those who we might not ever expect to come on board. A facility with the craft of story is not the exclusive territory of filmmakers, playwrights and novelists. When we understand how story structure triggers empathy in the brain, we can use that process strategically: we can learn to tell stories that give the audience the immediate emotional experience of our mission—without once having to explain it to them.
You Will Learn:
1. An understanding of the deep structure that underlies all impactful story, from Hollywood blockbusters to world mythologies; Broadway theater to viral media; Emmy-winning TV to successful story-based campaigns.
2. Literacy in the neuroscience of story; how the structure of story triggers a response in our brains that is radically different from any other form of communication.
3. An introduction to my Strategic Story methodology: that shows you how to use understandings from neuroscience, entertainment and the arts to choose protagonists strategically and forge empathic connection, taking your audiences on a journey that transforms, activates and enrolls.
Presenter: Elena Harman, Vantage Evaluation
Description: As a communications pro you mobilize communications vehicles, like events and conferences, to achieve your nonprofit’s mission and promote your organization’s progress towards its mission. In doing so, you’ve likely employed a post-event survey to get feedback from attendees, and you may have gotten some lackluster responses that don’t inform your work. In this session, Elena and Morgan will show you why you should ditch the omnipresent post-event survey. Then they’ll share the practical tools you need to implement a fun, interactive approach to getting meaningful real-time feedback and learn from it to improve your own conference or event. In addition to providing insider tips for designing, executing, and engaging your organization in this alternative approach to getting feedback on events, you will work as a group through a real example using this approach. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have practiced using all you need to implement the approach at their next event.
You Will Learn:
1. How to get meaningful feedback and measure the success of your events.
2. Tools you need to implement a fun, interactive approach to getting feedback and learning from it for your own conference or event.
3. Tips for designing, executing, and engaging your organization in this alternative approach to getting feedback on events.