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“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing,” said Rollo May, an American existential psychologist with numerous influential publications.

Like any community, the coalition itself is also a community to run. No matter what coalitions you are in, both internal and external communications have to be well-maintained in order to make the coalition work. That is, the communication within a coalition and the outgoing awareness driven messages are equally important.

To start off, here are what we found in coalitions the 10 commonly found communication problems which can be avoided:


1. Disrespect Others and Their Voices

Some people use their “professional opinion” and talk down to other members. Make sure you explain why you do what you do when your expertise is called upon so they are of reason. The age of the person talking can be a reason people take their words lightly. Try to digest and assess objectively before brushing them off. That’s what will make the coalition’s work successful.

2. Argue Based on Self Opinion

Henry Ford once said, “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” People come in the coalition to offer something new and different. Speaking different languages will happen but an effective solution should come out of the dialogue instead of arguing based on one’s own perspectives. Listening to others is a must.

3. Lack Leadership

“In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better,” said Harry S. Truman. A coalition needs leadership because people need a voice to follow and because a successful team needs mediation, collaboration, organization, inspiration and vision.

4. Lack Brand Marketing/Advertising

Like any other non-profit organizations, your coalition needs to be known. Or else, well easy, no one will. Marketing and advertising helps your coalition build a voice and a brand recognition. It strengthens the recognition from within and build awareness for outsiders. Do it or fail miserably.

Further Reading: 4 Major Reasons Why Coalitions Need Marketing

5. Create Communication Strategy Without Evidence

Many coalitions are evidence-based, yet suggestions such as “I heard that works,” “Our neighboring county is doing that” or “I think it is the easiest way” are still possible reasoning that you can get from some members. Make sure to go back to what you have in evidence so that all your efforts are effective and well thought out.

6. Preach Only to the Choir

It’s essential to recruit people that already have great knowledge about the topic, but it’s also as, if not more, important to target those in the making. Like election campaigns mostly target not their partisans but the non-partisans and those swaying in between, your messaging also needs to go to those who don’t know much about the issue and those who are trying to learn more.

Based on what you are trying to achieve, target your audience wisely.

7. Think One Thing Can Solve Everything

Whether it be school education, local governmental agency collaboration, advertisements or social awareness building, if you stick to one and one only, then your efforts will have the minimum effect. Branch out to different solutions and platforms. You will find the variety forever be in your favor.

8. Misuse Digital Marketing

Utilize little to no digital marketing or depend on only digital marketing are neither the way to go. Whoever behind the digital marketing strategies needs to focus on the 6 Ws of the use of digital media: what to use, why use it, who to use it for, when to use it, where to use it for and how to use it.

9. Conduct Little to No Engagement Activity

If you are only doing print or digital marketing and not directly engaging with your audience or your members through events or in-person conversations, there is a chance that you are not making your messages stick. You are possibly losing what you once had – members.

Engage and empower your followers and members so they can go out and make some impact. Arrange activities and events so you can engage directly with your potentially interested population.

10. Draw Conclusion Too Soon Without Modification

Last but not least, this is what we found the most prevalent in coalition works. While a solution is still maturing in stage, the coalition announces the verdict and say something is not working. For example, using Facebook ads need constant fine-tuning but people jump to conclusion about it not working without doing more in-depth research to see how they can improve. This may happen due to the unfamiliarity with a subject, the misuse of a certain tactic or simply wrong timing and poor planning. You must evaluate, modify and think all possible solutions before you call it a day.


So there you go, the 10 common communication problems we found from our experiences and observations. Are there any other ones you noticed? Share your thoughts and leave us a comment below!

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