TRY 2013: Out from Behind the Firewall: Communicating IT Projects and Services

  • Lisa Grayhart, UofT

What do we mean by communications?

  • two way talking
  • not marketing

Why Communicate?

  • help people
  • spread the word
  • build connections

Communications Planning

  • Have a vision
  • Know your environment (and audience) – avoid tech jargon
  • Make the plan
  • Work the plan
  • Review – possibly most important
  • cycle


  • have goals that inform actions
  • what is the benefit? rationale

Know Your Audience

  • who is your user?
  • what do they need/expect/want?
  • tailor plan to demographic
  • user-driven service delivery
  • think about non-users: why not using?

Make a Plan

  • make a fully actionable plan
  • be at the table
  • know your audience
  • set your goal
  • build key messages – those are the messages you are saying every time you promote the tool/service, which builds ground support and brand ambassadors
  • select objective and tactics
  • set timelines
  • produce collateral
  • perform rollout
  • receive feedback – provide the opportunity to do that
  • perform assessment

The Conservation

  • what everything in communication is about
  • frequently what makes the change difficult
  • need to open that communication consistently
  • user first
  • tech translation, avoid jargon
  • focus on benefits
  • be open to feedback
  • keep a record
  • manage those expectations
  • don’t be afraid to fail


  • How did we do?
  • Did we achieve the desired results?
  • Can we do better?
  • should be constantly going on
  • want to assess the assessment as well

Build Capacity

  • training – how much do we need?
  • finding and cultivating communication leads – learning about what other areas of the campus are doing
  • promotion

What do you think?

  • ability to see what’s being worked on and their priorities
  • opportunity to research

Where do we go from here?

  • opportunities for the future e.g. hacker/makerspace, building a community around a server vs. just promoting it
  • accessibility training
  • integration

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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