In cleaning out my office this weekend, I found a sticky note that I jotted from over ten years ago. It was some tidbit of knowledge from a conversation that I must have had at the time with Steve Avakian.
Yes, the Great Steve Avakian. That’s what those of us at Allerton Hill call him. And for good reason. He’s the founder of our firm. No one is wiser, kinder or a better strategist for public schools than Steve.
I remember the conversation well. That’s because when I worked with Steve, I made it my mission to soak up every word and lesson he provided. He’s that good.
At the time, Steve condensed all that public schools need to do to communicate effectively into an acronym: NIMO. NIMO is timeless and suits every situation. It is what we consistently preach to our clients whether they are communicating about a tax issue, a crisis issue and everything in between.
Here’s the power of NIMO:
- Need: Have you established the need behind the initiative upon which you are communicating? Do your homework and show your public that you have been thoughtful about what your schools are facing and about the solutions. Speak to the need that you are facing.
- Integrity: Actively figure out the facts behind the issue at hand and stick with them. If your facts are shaky or you have someone fronting the message who does not have credibility, then it hurts your issue. You want to build and foster good will and relationships.
- Messaging: Top to bottom within your organization make sure that everyone understands and can speak to what you are facing.
- Organization: Great communication is up to everyone in the organization, not just the superintendent. You need structure and entire communication structures that allow you to communicate rapidly and effectively.
Use NIMO each time and you will stay on track.