Public Affairs Strategy Workshop - Developing a strategy for your organisation

5 September 2019
  • Communication skills
  • Influencing skills
  • Personal development
  • Stakeholder engagement

Trainer: Carys Davis

For public affairs professionals, responding to ongoing events often takes up almost or all of your time. It can be extremely difficult to find the time to plan your organisation or campaign's future work. During the Public Affairs Strategy Workshop, participants will learn the building blocks of a public affairs strategy and have the chance to develop their own.

Learning objectives:

  1. Have a comprehensive introduction to public affairs strategy and the elements that comprise a successful strategy
  2. Learn about and develop your own objectives, audience identification, arguments, key messages, activity and monitoring/evaluation
  3. Finish the day with a strong start to a public affairs strategy for your organisation or campaign, which can be further developed in your own time.
  4. Ideal for those who have attended 'Introduction to Public Affairs' or who have junior-level public affairs experience.
  5. Participants should bring a laptop (or at least a smartphone) to be able to conduct research on the day.

09:30 Welcome and Introductions

09:45 What is Public Affairs Strategy?

Participants will look at what we mean by Public Affairs strategy. Do you need one? (yes!)

10:00 Before we begin

A successful public affairs strategy reflects a strong understanding of the organisation and/or campaigns strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. After looking at some examples, participants will take part in an exercise to analyse theirs.

10:30 Defining your objectives

Knowing what you want to achieve before planning to influence is paramount. After looking at some examples of weak and strong objectives, participants will take part in an exercise to define the objectives for their organisation/campaign.

11:00 Identifying your audiences

A good public affairs strategy includes targeted engagement and avoids scatter gunning. Participants will spend time considering new stakeholders they could reach out to, and building their understanding of their existing stakeholders.

11:30 Refreshment Break

11:45 Building an influential argument

Arguments must be carefully considered and well evidenced in order to resonate with the selected audience. Participants will build their arguments and consider the types of information they will need to support it.

12:15 Honing your key messages

Decision makers are busy people, and subject to information overload. Participants will join a discussion to practice honing key messages and then apply these principles to their work so far.  

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Building stakeholder support

Working in coalition with varied voices can give your organisation/campaign the edge it needs to succeed. Participants will be encouraged to think widely about potential stakeholders who can lend support, and to anticipate what some of the disadvantages of working with others might be.

14:30 Tools, tactics and channels

There are a variety of tools, tactics and channels available to public affairs professionals looking to influence. Participants will consider which will be the most effective in order to meet their specific objectives. Beyond public affairs, is there activity from other disciplines – for example, PR – which would supplement the public affairs work?

15:00 Get past the gatekeepers

Participants will hear from a leading public affairs practitioner about a specific public affairs campaign(s) – including their planning processes and outcomes achieved. What worked and what didn't work?

Learning outcome: to understand the how the building blocks of public affairs strategy work in practice, and how public affairs professionals choose certain elements of public affairs work to meet specific objectives when planning to influence.

16:00 Refreshment Break

16:00 Strategy development workshop

Participants will bring together the 'building blocks' they've developed during the day's exercises into a Public Affairs Strategy.  This is also an excellent opportunity to troubleshoot with both the trainer and with other participants.

17:00 Close