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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

How to Move the Needle in Collaborative Task Forces


Whether you’re a CEO, public relations professional, truck driver or preschool student, you are always communicating. Intentionally or not. Verbally or nonverbally. You have the skill the moment you enter the world.

Dr. Carrisa Hoelscher, director of graduate communication studies at Missouri State University, sets her target on competent communication to help others improve their skill.

She often examines tensions in collaborative communication, like in committees within the nonprofit or governmental sector.

"When you have these social issues, they're always political in nature," Hoelscher said. "If law enforcement agencies are sitting on a committee and education agencies are sitting on a committee, they don't necessarily want to address social problems in the same way. You've got to figure out a way to make changes that everybody agrees with, that are actually logistically feasible."

Hoelscher points out that if these small victories can’t be won, these task forces may dissolve.

"You see collaborations like this dissipate all the time, oftentimes, because of lack of time and resources. At other times, they're dissipating because you can't get to that agreement, which is frustrating from a social change perspective," she said. "One way to address that issue is to start couching your changes in, what we call in our field, strategic ambiguity."

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