By creating a Confers activity you are setting up a time-limited online engagement activity (e.g. an online forum, consultation, tour or design review) which takes place over a defined time period.
With each activity you are undertaking a process to gather feedback using Confers's tools and capabilities. This process is explained in the diagram below and shows there are four steps:
- Step 1: Prepare.
- Step 2: Engage.
- Step 3: Review.
- Step 4: Report.
In the Report stage, Confers makes it easy to send an outcome message to your subscribers. This concludes the activity.
The process can then repeated with further activities and it's possible to invite your subscriber audience from one activity to the next to sustain your engagement.
Here are some pointers to help you in Step 1, preparing for an optimal and quick set up of activities.
This further article takes you through how to use the tools and features for setting up your activity.
Choose your audience
Who do you want to engage, and is it in public or private?
Focus on a specific audience and their needs just as you would if you were meeting them face to face. Their time and involvement in your project is precious. You might need to address them using a specific language and tone to encourage participation and feedback.
If you want to engage different groups of stakeholders who have very different requirements, set up different activities. It's very quick to copy and then edit an activity.
For public activities you don't need any audience data in advance of set up.
For private activities prepare a list of the contact names and email addresses of everyone you want to send invitations.
Have a clear objective
As with all communications activity be clear on your objectives and desired outcomes from the outset. Clarity will help you:
- Explain to team members what you are doing and why.
- Choose the right activity type (e.g. forum, consultation).
- Write compelling engagement headlines and invitation copy so people understand why it's important they contribute. This may increase the uptake of your invitations.
Think about the specific information and feedback you need about your project. Knowing this will help you:
- Decide on the right content as the context for your engagement.
- Prepare the questions you want to ask participants and which you will add to your slides.
- Choose the right engagement method, e.g. you can set up your slides for a general discussion, or, if you want participants to provide feedback about a specific location on a slide or map, set up using a different format - locate information.
Define your engagement strategy
Understanding your audience and objectives influences the setup configuration.
Do you want to engage with your audience in a transparent way where participants can see and reply to other participant’s responses? Or do you want to have conversations in private? The Confers platform supports both approaches, explained here.
If you want to set up for a public conversation but the subject matter is potentially controversial you can also assign participants random pseudonyms.
Find and prepare the right content to explain your project
The content you add to your activity provides the context for your engagement, explains your project (the 'why', 'what' and 'what's next?') and encourages people to get involved.
This is a quick read on how to write engaging headlines.
You need to source the right slide content which will tell the project's story and help you gather feedback.
Get your content ready as you prepare to set up. This will save you time.
- Is it visually engaging?
- Is it sufficiently simple that participants will understand the project quickly? Remove any unnecessary logos.
Confers supports lots of different types of content and in one activity you can use a mixture. There are some guidelines on file size and dimensions for organisers.
If you think new content would be helpful, Confers professional services can supply 360 panoramic photography, video and other media.
Have a realistic timeframe
Think about the timeframe for your engagement activity. How long do you want it to last for? Will you achieve your objectives within this timeframe and be able to review and analyse the stakeholder feedback to meet your project deadlines?
You'll then be able to set the correct open and close date during setup.
Prepare your promotion strategy
Do you know enough about your audience including what will influence them to get involved, where they read about new ideas and what social channels they use?
Think through how to raise awareness of the engagement opportunity, whether this is using other public activities or via private channels.
If you work in a large organisation, engage your expert in-house or agency communications teams to help you get the news out.
If you have any questions want to discuss an aspect of your activity setup contact firstname.lastname@example.org