key messages

Master Class: Key Message Driven Content

The Power is in the Proof

Written by Glenna Cross, ABC, MC, Master Class expert – Have you ever heard a company use a key message like “our customers come first” or “we pride ourselves in our sustainability practices” and (using your inside voice of course) snorted “Sure. I bet. I’d like to see proof of that!” I know I sure have…and still do.

Key messages used like that – alone, unproven, almost as a slogan – are not particularly meaningful, and can be downright negative if they stimulate a snort in response.

The magic of key messages is not in the messages themselves, it is in the proof points that support the message. If you want me to believe one of these “motherhood” key messages, you’d better be able to prove them with facts, evidence or statistics. For example, if you tell me that your “customers come first” you could prove that with customer satisfaction statistics, policies about easy product returns or even a series of believable testimonials. Or better yet, all of the above.

Learn more about the power of the proof during the Atlantic Communications Master Class series in St. John’s, Fredericton and Halifax. We’ll take a deep dive into the value of developing comprehensive and provable key messages using a recent case study. We’ll discuss the value of having key message themes, but the need to articulate the ideas through proof points. A full key messages deck (including the juicy proof points) for this project will be provided as a takeaway.


EARLY BIRD PRICING ends February 21, 2020 – grab your spot today!


What have others said about Glenna’s workshops?

“Great! Glenna is skilled and perceptive.”

“Very informative and practical takeaways.”

“Glenna is a great speaker, knowledgeable and great with questions.”

“Loved this workshop! Exactly what I needed to progress in my position. Thank you!”


More About the Atlantic Communications Master Class series…

Three city tour of half and full day workshops designed so you can build your own perfect combination of professional development, specifically for communicators.

Learn from experts in communications from across Canada; together our workshop leaders have 100+ years of experience in communications. You’ll benefit from their years of experience and knowledge, all while networking and learning from your peers. These workshops are designed to maximize your time and learning outcomes. Half day, full day or multiple days – build your own series of Master Classes that’s right for you, your budget and your organization. We’re sure you’ll be impressed by the level of learning, takeaways, interaction and inspiration from these Master Classes.

Master Class: Stakeholder Engagement

Why do stakeholder engagement?

Written by Dr. Rebecca Sutherns, Master Class expert – We’re living in a time when people expect involvement and transparency in decision making, especially when the outcome affects them. Involving people in decision-making leads to wiser decisions that people will stand behind.Stakeholder Engagement

Engagement activities can range from informing local residents about an upcoming event, to hosting a public meeting to gain insight on what people want to see built in their neighbourhood, to establishing an online forum for ongoing conversation about a topic, to inviting participation in an advisory group with direct policy influence. Whether you engage stakeholders primarily because you have to or because you want to, their involvement and input can be invaluable to the decision-making process. It provides new perspectives and a deeper understanding of needs to help make informed decisions.

When it comes to decision-making, multiple perspectives are protective. We need other people’s views to provide information, understanding and insight to create ingenious solutions to problems that suit many different users and scenarios. Diverse opinions fill in blind spots more effectively than any individual could do alone.

Collaborative decision-making also leads to increased support. Joel Brockner, in his book The Process Matters, highlights the fact that people are much more likely to buy into a decision — even one that affects them negatively — if they are involved in making it. Go slowly at the beginning to go quickly at the end.

Yet stakeholder engagement can be time consuming and therefore costly, both for you and your stakeholders. It also has a reputational risk attached — both to doing it and not doing it. It’s important to keep your level of investment proportional to the stakes of your project. If your project is small and low risk, keep your engagement plans small and low risk.

And how do you know how to involve people, when and to what extent?

Stakeholder engagement requires a specialized skill set. Unfortunately, it is often assigned to already busy people (like Communications staff!) who aren’t necessarily trained in it or resourced appropriately to do it. Whether you are the sole communications practitioner expected to lead the engagement process, you hire a specialist to do the work, or you provide communication support to others’ engagements, you have an important opportunity to influence the quality of engagement that occurs —  including deciding not to do it – if you are equipped to do so.

Join Rebecca at the Atlantic Communications Master Class Series for Hearing From Who Cares: Stakeholder Engagement & the Communicator’s Role, Master Class ‘D’ to gain a deeper understanding of why, how and when to engage stakeholders.



What have past participants said about this workshop?

“I enjoyed the course and highly recommend it to anyone who has been facilitating for a while and wants to raise their skills to the next level. I learned a lot of practical tools, and got a different perspective on things I thought I already knew, but didn’t.”

“Extremely well executed and engaging.”

“I found the course very professional, the content high-quality, Rebecca’s leadership very effective, and the overall result to be a great addition to my professional toolkit.”

“This course introduced me to an enriching and inspiring world that I never even really knew existed. With a tremendous diversity of material and concepts, this course has improved my confidence to facilitate meetings far beyond what I could have accomplished on my own.”

“Engaging, informative and very practical. I would highly recommend it.”


EARLY BIRD  PRICING ENDS FEBRUARY 21secure your seat today

Master Class Leaders

Meet the Master Class leaders, or experts, as we like to call them!

Credentials aside, who are your master class leaders? Why are they suited to guide you on this learning pathway? Read on to find out…

Anne Marie Downey

Anne Marie parlayed an extremely successful corporate career into working with organizations to sort complex issues and tackle communications challenges. She does this by harnessing her 30 years of experience in leading, facilitating, counseling, coaching and educating communicators and organization leaders in a wide range of sectors. Anne Marie has taught at the post secondary level and also designed and facilitated hundreds of workshops.

Colleen Foster, ABC

Colleen’s passion for change management and change leadership, and 20 years of experience in communications position her well to be a Master Class leader. Through her corporate career and now her consulting work, she has developed and delivered successful change management strategies for several major transformation initiatives that included significant organization and business change.

Glenna Cross, ABC, MC

Glenna leverages practical experience gained in nearly 20 years of agency, public sector and private sector leadership, and now 20 years as a consultant to build content for her sessions. And, she brings a basket of examples, stories and lessons learned (not all the easy way!) to every speaking opportunity. Glenna has been a frequent speaker at IABC events and conferences and the Municipal Communicators Conference. She revels in the spirit of sharing best practices and collective learning in these environments.

Dr. Rebecca Sutherns

Rebecca is an insightful and high energy collaborative strategist and world class Certified Professional Facilitator with 20+ years of experience supporting community leaders to make wiser decisions faster. She specializes in facilitating collaborative planning with community leaders and Rebecca recently published her first book, “Nimble: Off Script but Still On Track – a coaching guide for responsive facilitation.”

Let these experts impress you even more in person, consider signing up for one (or all) of the Master Class series!

Master Class – an Elevated Learning Environment

So just what is a Master Class?

Simply put a master class it is a class given by an expert on high level content to highly talented students, or in your case, experienced communicators!

Now, don’t be scared off by this definition. What our master classes set out to offer you is a high-quality learning environment with content provided by seasoned communications professionals who have tried and tested not only the delivery of this content but the actual content you’ll be learning from.

We’ve all been to the workshop or presentation that fell short of our expectations, was disengaging or was so high level that there was no way to relate the content to your situation. You won’t experience that at our master classes.

Dissection of a Master Class

Our master classes are designed to be engaging, detailed, hands on, collaborative and personal. We’re not going to pack the room with 50 other people and throw a manual at you and call it a day. Your master class experience will be a guided journey through relatable content, storytelling, peer discussion and hands on application. Each class will have about 30 people in total – just like a traditional classroom, only a little less unruly and no need to ask to go to the washroom.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, master class content is delivered in perfectly sized nuggets. Not so large you can’t relate, not so small that it feels ‘dumbed down’. We want you to finish your class with a sense of accomplishment, knowing you’ve got new knowledge, fresh ideas, invigorated enthusiasm and well, down right feeling good about how you spent your time.

That’s our last point, our master classes are intense half day sessions so you can get in, get the knowledge and get out. We know you are busy, we know you can’t be away from the office for days at a time but you need high level professional development; we know our master classes can fit that need.

See the 2020 Atlantic Communications Master Class Series.