Tuesday, August 05, 2008


ALA Presentation: PR Forum: Diversity @ Your Library: Broadening Your Audience and Engaging Communities
Speakers: Eric Friedenwald-Fishman and Maria Elena Campisteguy from the Metropolitan Group

This presentation addressed the 8 Principles of Multicultural Communication, which are:

1. Leave your assumptions at the door: They recommended that you get the facts about other cultures and recognize that you often think you know what you actually do not. You can get facts by scanning news media for articles about trends, challenges, and opportunities.

2. Understand the cultural context of your audience: You need to be aware of the norms, traditions, dialects, and other cultural nuances that are unique to the audience. Be as specific as possible when defining the desired audience. It is also important to understand historical experiences and attitudes that may impact communication with that audience. Then, identify and build on the cultural strengths and assets.

3. Invest before you request: Create community-centered partnerships: This was a good point - to treat community members as partners with whom you wish to engage, not as a tool for you to use. Get them involved early on. Don't try things out on them, ask them what they want instead. And then maintain that communication.

4. Build authentic relationships: Maintain a long-term perspective: Go to the community and work with trusted allies. Don't become a one-hit wonder - keep at it.

5. Build shared ownership: Engage people, don't just involve them! Make sure there are seats at the table for members of your audience to have input.

6. Walk your talk - Lead by example: Examine your organization and be honest in your examination. Do what you say you believe others should do and deliver on your promises.

7. Relate, don't translate: This one really stuck with me. You have to do more than just translate existing ads into another language. The values you may be drawing on may not be highly valued in the culture you are translating the ad for. Make sure the ad appeals to that culture.

8. Anticipate change: Be prepared to succeed: Recognize that your process and approach to the work may change. Continue to build infrastructure to support multi-cultural success.

In addition, for more PR information, check out the PR blog Visibility @ your Library or join the discussion list prtalk@ala.org.

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