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Powerful Statistics + Emotional Stories: My One Thing

Reporting live from HC Link’s biannual conference Linking for Healthy Communities!

This morning’s keynote speaker was David Courtemanche from Leading Minds Inc. David is the perfect person to talk to us about policy change as he not only has a background in community work and the not-for-profit word, he is also a former politician. In that way he bridges both worlds, or in his words, he knows the dark side.

David encouraged us to try to come away from his presentation with ONE Thing that we can take back to our organizations. I think our Twitter hashtag from the conference #Link4HC captures the many points that David touched on, so I’m going to blog about my ONE Thing and that is this:

DavidCourt1

Powerful Statistics + Emotional Stories

As Dave Meslin talked about in his keynote presentation yesterday, we often are reliant on our charts and reports and graphs to make our arguments for us. David Courtemanche often finds that health advocates feel that just brigning forward information will lead to change. He told us the story of a group of local Sudbury activists who were working to make public spaces in Sudbury smoke free, including the local hockey arena. The group had research, studies, made deputations and presentations. What turned the argument into a successful council decision however was a 10 year old boy who spoke after all of the deputees had finished their presentations. He told the council that he loved hockey and that he really wanted to see the Sudbury Wolves play at the local arena, but as an asthma sufferer, he couldn’t enter the arena as the second hand smoke made him sick.

The next day, it was the story of the 10 year old with asthma that made the local papers. Not the stacks of reports and the pie charts.

The following week council passed a smoke-free bylaw, making public spaces in Sudbury- restaurants, buildings, and yes the arena- smoke free.

Yesterday Dave Meslin gave us several examples of campaigns that turned numbers into stories that captured the attention of the media.

This is the ONE Thing that I’ll be taking forward with me as I return to my desk on Monday: how can I pair my stats and numbers with stories to bring emotion, attention and change?

DavidCourt2

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