by Naomi Devine, Senior Designer + Digital Engagement Specialist
As summer is upon us, many of us are looking for ways to beat the heat and enjoy some time outdoors. One of the best ways to ensure successful public engagement during the summer months is to plan ahead. You will want to consider what activities or events will be most popular with your target audience and make sure you have the resources in place to accommodate them.
It’s also important to be aware of any potential risks associated with summer activities and take steps to mitigate them. Here are some summer dos and don’ts for public engagement:
- Plan your engagements carefully. Consider the demographics of your audience and what type of activity will be most appropriate for them.
- Take advantage of the relaxed atmosphere that summertime brings. Many people are more likely to be out and about, enjoying the sunshine. This is a great opportunity to engage with them in person, whether you’re tabling at a community event or conducting intercept surveys in a park.
- Plan ahead for increased demand by considering what activities or events will be most popular with your target audience.
- Plan for asynchronous (not in-person or live events) engagement and take advantage of technology to reach people where they are. If you can’t engage with some people in person, consider using social media or other online tools, like Miro whiteboards or Google Jamboards, to connect with them.
- Make sure you have the resources in place to accommodate your target audience.
- Get creative with your event themes and activities. Summer is a great time to try something new and really engage your audience.
- Be aware of any potential risks associated with summer activities and take steps to mitigate them.
- Plan to be as self-contained as possible in terms of supplies. Line-ups are everywhere and sometimes the items you need are in short supply the day of your event. Make sure you have your “engagement go-bag” ready with tape, markers, scissors, zap straps, first aid kit, name tags, etc.
- Overlook the importance of public engagement during the summer months.
- Forget that people are busy during the summer. Many are on vacation or have kids out of school. Keep this in mind when timing your engagement activities. You may want to consider conducting outreach earlier in the summer, before people’s schedules fill up or keep your in-person engagement to 2 minutes or less.
- Forget to take advantage of the opportunities that summer provides for reaching new audiences.
- Forget about sunscreen! With all the outdoor events, it’s important to remember to protect yourself from the sun. Hydrate, take breaks and consider a staffing schedule that manages peoples’ energy over the period of time from set-up to tear down.