The 411

December 12-13, 2023
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


$750 (+hst)
Discounts available.



Josef Jurkovic

Josef Jurkovic

Josef Jurkovic is a CEC director and founding partner. He has over 35 years of public and private sector experience across diverse areas of internal and external communications, public consultations, branding and marketing.

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"Great progressive approach, exercises and case study."

"The course was well organized and the material provided was very useful."

"This course provided hands on approaches and processes that I can use in my position."

"The trainer was very knowledgable and well informed on the subject matter. Great course."

"Loved the informal small class. It made way for lots of personalized answers."


NOTE: The workshop content described below will be delivered through ZOOM ONLINE on two consecutive half-day sessions. Agendas and other relevant workshop documentation will be sent to you by the workshop instructor at least three days prior to the date of the first session.


In a complex communications environment with thousands of messages from diverse sources, government communicators face increased pressure to ensure their messages are received, understood and acted upon. Developing and delivering messages in support of an organization's mission, policies, programs and expected results has become one of the most important and challenging areas of strategic communications. The ability to develop a comprehensive message system that will successfully respond to both their organization's and their target audiences' needs amidst today's communications "clutter" is one of the essential elements in being an effective communicator.


The workshop will focus on:



8:45 - 9:00 Introductions and Workshop Overview
9:00 - 10:00 Strategic Communications Planning Context
Being strategic - thinking strategically; strategic communications. The planning process and technique; linkages between messaging and strategy. The importance of situational analysis. Understanding objectives and results. The importance of knowing audiences and targets. Different types of audience segmentation. Understanding the Strategic Communication Message Pyramid.
10:00 - 10:30 Case Study Exercise: Understanding our Audiences
Participants working in groups will develop the first elements of audience segmentation and a set of communications themes based upon a scenario distributed to them and will report back with their results. Instructor-led feedback and discussion.
10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 11:15 The Importance and Impact of Positioning and Messaging
Developing and applying the "message pyramid". Defining our positioning statement. Linkages to messaging. Relationship between messaging, positioning and branding.
11:15 - 11:45 Case Study Exercise: From Positioning to Themes and Core Messages
Participants working in groups will develop a set of core messages based on the previously developed communications themes and will report back with their results. Instructor-led discussion and feedback.
11:45 - 12:30 Message Engineering - The Right Basics
The traditional "R's" of message engineering - the "right" message, audience, vehicle, messenger and timing. The holistic "R's" - relevance, resonance and responsiveness. The practical "R's" - repeatibility, reviseability and reinforceability.
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 14:15 Messages and Mediated Communications
Understanding that messages are mediated. Speech; text; video and TV; Web. Impact of different types of messaging on diverse audiences. Which type of message to use when and with whom. Importance of visual messaging.
14:15 - 14:45 Case Study Exercise: Applying Visual Messaging
Participants working in groups will identify and correlate different types of visual messages with each of the previously prepared communications themes together with suggestions for visual message enhancements and will report back with their results. Instructor-led feedback and discussion.
14:45 - 15:00 Break
15:00 - 15:30 Tailoring Message for Diverse Audiences
Crafting specialized messages. What do we have to know. Learning from our research. Putting the "meat on the bones". Revisiting the key "R's" of message engineering.
15:30 - 16:00 Case Study Exercise: From Core to Specialized Messages
Participants in groups of two will develop a series of specialized messages for specific audiences based upon the previously prepared core messages and will report back with their results. Instructor-led feedback and discussion.
16:00 - 16:20 Getting it Right and Knowing it - Testing and Measuring Messages.
Pre-testing. What makes a message successful. Choosing the right tools and techniques to measure the success of our messages. When and what to measure. Linking measurement to the strategy's expected results.
16:20 - 16:30 Wrap-up and Evaluation
Participants will complete a short evaluation