How To Communicate An Idea

Many times, the greatest communications challenges can come when you are trying to position a complex idea as a solution for the future. That’s harder to understand than a simple call to action, like purchasing a product. “Buying into” a lofty concept takes time, effort, persistence and, often, a campaign reaching multiple audiences over varying platforms.

Here’s a terrific example, though, of how one individual is getting attention for his “big idea.” Former Michigan Superintendent of Schools Tom Watkins has decades of knowledge about China and is passionate for the idea that improved relations with China is key to a successful future of the U.S., in general, and for Michigan, in particular.

Tom has done countless interviews in traditional media on the subject in recent years. He frequently takes the time to write “op-ed” pieces and after they run in print and online, he sends them directly to members of his target audience. He was involved in a television documentary special about opportunities in China with CBS’ station in Detroit (which you can watch here).

Tom took advantage of an opportunity to write a comprehensive blog piece on a targeted Web site – Dome Magazine’s – which is geared to policy makers in Michigan. Read it here. For the past several weeks, a steady stream of comments has been posted, with some of the state’s most influential elected officials – his most important audience – weighing in. Tom used the platform to gain attention and lay out his case completely. It’s an impressive use of the online medium.

As Tom says, “it should be our collective goal to assure that China’s rise does not come at our demise.” He’s getting that message out to his audience of decision-makers and can be an example of how to communicate an idea.