June Professional Devlopment Meeting – Considering the Disability Community in Communications Planning

Are you forgetting someone?
Considering the disability community in communications planning
by Russell Shaffer

We’ve had the importance of audience analysis drilled into us since we were fledgling communicators. And with good reason. Chances are if you misjudge your audience, your message is going to miss the mark.

So we pour over demographics, psychographics and scores of other data to make certain we truly understand our audiences. But are we missing something? What if the most important variable for reaching a particular segment of your audience has nothing to do with how they think and behave or what role they have in the organization and everything to do with how they access the message. Further complicating matters, what if you have no idea these access issues exist in your audience?

Once we feel we have a good handle on our audience, we spend hours strategizing on how to best package our message to create the most meaning. But what if the packaging prevents some audience members from ever getting at the meaning inside?

During the June IABC Tulsa meeting, we will explore the answers to these questions and more as we discuss simple yet meaningful methods for ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to your message. We will examine everything from videos to websites to meetings and find the answers to access for people with disabilities are easier and more straightforward than you might think. In fact, simply stopping to think is often the crux of the solution.

Register today!

All about Russell
Russell Shaffer is currently Manager of Global Associate Communications for Walmart and is the program manager for the company’s My Sustainability Plan (MSP) employee engagement program. His career as a professional communicator spans more than a decade and includes roles in advertising, corporate communications, print journalism and public relations. In addition to his current role at Walmart, Russell has held positions at May Department Stores, The Timken Company and The Ohio Optometric Association.

He serves as Vice Chair of Engagement for Walmart’s Advocates for Disability Awareness and Education (ADAE) resource group and is a member of the National Federation of the Blind. Russell is a member of the Tulsa chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and has won multiple IABC Bronze Quill awards. He has spoken at several events and conferences on the subject of employee engagement, including the 2011 IABC Southern Region Conference.
Russell is a graduate of Malone College (now Malone University) in Canton, Ohio, and holds a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and communication arts. He resides in Bentonville, Ark., with his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Sophia. In his spare time, he enjoys following his beloved Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians, playing fantasy baseball and working on his landscaping.

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