Communicating Strategically

PTA should employ multiple means to communicate with members and the community at large.

Create a strategic communications plan that would:

  1. Establish a clear objective for your communication.
  2. Use the right strategy and media.
  3. Prepare the right message for the right audience.
  4. Communicate your message at the right time.
  5. Follow up with frequent assessment of your communications.

Using a strategic PTA communications plan will more effectively serve and engage key audiences, as well as continue to build greater awareness of the importance and value of PTA.

Draft your PTA communications with these things in mind:

  • Key Audiences:
    • members and leaders
    • public (parents)
    • teachers/educators
    • media
    • opinion leaders and partners
    • non-English speakers
  • Messaging: Craft the message for the audience. The message to your members will be very different from your message to the local newspaper, for example.
  • Communications tools: Decide which tools will best deliver your message.
    • website
    • text message
    • email
    • social media
    • newsletter
    • e-publication
    • banner
    • flier
    • video
    • word of mouth
    • mail
    • phone
    • media

Communicating With Confidence – Public Speaking

As a PTA leader, you may be called upon to speak in public. Keep in mind the following tips for public speaking.

  • Plan remarks with an objective in mind.
  • Become knowledgeable about the topic.
  • Prepare talking points. Include appropriate personal stories in your presentation.
  • Plan a message that will resonate with your target audience.
  • Begin and end on time.

Communications Basics for PTA Leaders

Be comfortable with yourself. Success comes from projecting your own personality.

Don’t worry about “butterflies.” We all have them – in fact, we need them to keep us from becoming complacent.

Do your homework. Few people can “wing it.” The trick is to appear relaxed, and you can be if you are well prepared.

Be flexible. If necessary, adjust remarks to help meet the need at hand. Find out in advance who the audience will be, and why you were selected to speak.

Cultivate effective listening skills. If you are part of a program, listen to what other participants are saying. If the previous speaker “steals your thunder,” comment on sharing similar viewpoints and suggest, “Let’s talk about this from another angle.” Then continue with your own remarks.

Know when to stop. Respect your audience’s time.

Talking Points

When talking about PTA to new audiences, it helps to give a brief overview to show the scope and strength of PTA. The more these messages are said, the more likely it is the messages will be heard and repeated.

  • The mission of California State PTA is to positively impact the lives of children and families in California.
  • PTA is the largest volunteer association working on behalf of children and youth. In California alone, we have over 800,000 PTA members and have served them for over 118 years.
  • PTA speaks for every child with one voice.
  • PTA is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian and noncommercial organization that promotes the welfare of children and youth in home, school, community and place of worship.
  • PTA connects families and schools. We encourage communication and cooperation between parents, communities and schools to ensure that children and youth receive the best possible physical, mental, social and spiritual education.

Making PTA Talking Points Personal

These talking points are only intended as guidelines for speaking on behalf of PTA. Make them your own by considering:

  • How can I share my personal PTA experience?
  • Why am I so dedicated to the work of PTA?
  • How did I get involved?
  • What are the areas that need improvement at our school(s) or in our community?
  • Is my message concise and compelling?

Representing PTA

PTA officers represent their unit, council or district PTA. PTA is a diverse organization, and its leaders speak with one voice on behalf of all children:

  • Presidents are the official representatives of their PTAs and may appoint others to officially represent the organization, as needed.
  • Know and reflect the official PTA positions.
  • Do not commit the association to programs, projects or positions the association has not voted to authorize.
  • Build credibility as an individual so that your comments are of value to the audience.
  • Do not mix personal and PTA opinions while representing PTA.

Resources

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