The single most important reason why we communicate is to share information. But the backbone of that is building trust.
For schools that is particularly important. We are the caretakers for the majority of a child’s waking hours, and that includes everything from meals to providing basic health needs to transportation and development physically, socially, emotionally and mentally. That is quite the task.
The difference is there are so many ways to share this information, and the best is to use the power of storytelling.
Let’s say we have an upcoming parent-teacher conference night, and someone in your office can probably create a handy-dandy little graphic to go with a reminder text to put in an email and maybe post on social media.
However, we invite you to go one step further, and as with most communications this takes some minor pre-planning: Conduct a survey after the next parent-teacher conference, then highlight the most positive comments in future communications. Also talk about how you’re going to use the feedback you got to make the next one even better.
When done right, this is not only communication, but engagement through a feedback loop. That’s exactly how we want to communicate.
Sure this won’t be the next Great American novel, but if you can provide real-life anecdotes from parents and for parents, you’ve captured some of the essence of what people want in a conference. And if you have done that, you have written them right into your story, and they’re more likely to stick around for the next chapter
Go one more step
Create a simple checklist to share with families that provide some basic and more complex questions to consider asking the child’s teacher. This way, I as a parent don’t have to feel just sitting there and not knowing what to ask. Plus, teachers can be prepared when I know the types of questions that might be coming their way.
And of course, conduct the survey after the next parent-teacher conference, and repeat by adding to your story of making parent-teacher conferences better for families.