An event Apart: Content/Communication

In her Content/Communication presentation at An Event Apart in Chicago 2013, Kristina Halvorson shared her insights about how curiosity, empathy, and shared ambition will help us all build a better web. Here’s my notes from her talk: Content/Communication.

Kristina Halverson in action

  • Core strategy: Content components- substance, structure & people components- workflow, governance
  • Most content problems are not tied to deliverables like content audits. They come from people, groups, territorial issues, and more.
  • A framework for collaboration can provide a way for us to think and talk about how and why we work together.
  • Principles- internally motivates us to do things that seem good and right.
  • Rules – externally compels you to do things someone else has deemed good and right
  • Design principles (Jeremy Keith)
  • Five things: objectives, strategy, principles, roles, and perceptions.
  • An objective is a concrete goal. For the individual, it is defined by personal or shared gain. In business, it is defined by customer success (external) or cost savings (internal).
  • Objectives connect our work to a bottom line. They help us understand how the work we are doing aligns with the bigger picture.
  • Business objectives come form the top and half the time we have no idea what those are or what they have to do with us. Activity does not equal productivity.
  • Ask the ever important question: why are we doing this? In what context is this project being completed. How do my activities contribute to specific objectives?
  • Strategy gives you a way to reach your objectives. Make your strategy focused and simple.
  • Principles help bring teams together and form a culture.
  • The site is driven by a set of principles that are organized around people’s actual needs. Principles keep us accountable to our values
  • Collaboration helps you prepare for what’s happening next.
  • We can’t get married to a single process. Different approaches work or fail because of people.
  • Add principles. What do you value
  • Facebook: Move fast and break things
  • Do not make your process your god
  • Artifacts are tools, not outcomes
  • Good process helps us move together
  • Different methods work or fail because of people, not because they are universally good or bad
  • The RACI model can help you determine how people’s roles align in a big organization. R: who is responsible for completing tasks, A: who is accountable for work’s success, C: who can be consulted before work must be signed off, on, I: who must be kept informed along the way
  • Roles give us a place
  • We all need to be better listeners. You can only communicate with someone on their own terms. They can’t hear you if you don’t speak their language.
  • In content strategy, our master skills must include translating and negotiating, so we can facilitate communication between disparate disciplines and help them to communicate. 
  • Content strategy skills must include translating and negotiating, so we can facilitate communication between disparate disciplines and help them to communicate.
  • Content strategy needs to be a translator because everyone touches the content.
  • Getting to a shared language means learning how to explain yourself so other people can understand you. Ask for clarity if you need it.
  • If people can’t hear you, it is on you to tell a better story.
  • Perceptions give way to perspective
  • We are perpetually catching up!
  • This fear of falling behind, of not getting it- things are evolving so quickly
  • How can you be more awesome together!

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