Activity: Convince Different Audiences

Most organizations have a good sense of the change they want to see in the world.  However, they don’t have a clear sense of what argument to make at each stakeholder in the system that they are trying to change.  This activity helps increase understanding of the interests of those stakeholders.  It emphasizes that you need to target information differently for different audiences.  Participants get to practice crafting a compelling message for various audiences, and gain experience presenting data-driven arguments in a variety of forms.

What you need:

  • an example visualization or dataset

How you do it:

Introduce your example dataset or visualization.  Talk through the data it shows, the audience it targets, and it’s goals.  Lead a short conversation to identify who the stakeholders in the needed change are.  For example, when we use a visualization showing the enormous water use in beef production (from GOOD Magazine), some stakeholders in the system we want to change are:

  • meat eaters
  • governmental agricultural regulators
  • farmers
  • water conservation NGOs

Now for each stakeholder, invite a volunteer to pretend to be that person.  Have them stand in the center of the room.

The game is to use the data to try and convince these various stakeholders to make some change that helps accomplish the goal.  Start off by giving an example argument yourself, to one of the stakeholders.  If they find it convincing, they take a step forward.  If not, they stay where they are.  Invite the other participants to try and make arguments using the data to convince the various stakeholders to make changes.

Summarize by asking people what they found challenging about making the arguments.  Were there any similarities in the types of arguments that were made for the various stakeholders?  Was there specific data used a lot?  Was there data not used?

Inspirations:

This builds on an activity created with Stephanie Hankey from the Tactical Technology Collective.

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