Leadership – Communicating Your Message

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!” – Anonymous

Leaders have a responsibility to communicate effectively. You cannot create positive change if you do not speak convincingly about what you believe is possible. 


As leaders in the childcare field, there are many reasons to speak out – to share, inspire, educate, persuade and motivate. 

Here are some examples of each:

  • To share your vision for the quality of childcare provided in your centre or home
  • To inspire your staff and parent community to educate community leaders about the importance of quality care
  • To educate community leaders about the critical need for childcare professionals in a high-quality childcare system
  • To persuade a local service club to provide funding for new playground equipment for your centre
  • To motivate your colleagues to join a childcare association

Plan your message.

There are three questions to consider as you plan your message

  1. What is your purpose? Are you trying to persuade? To inspire? To educate?
  2. Who is your audience?
  3. What is the key topic of your message?

For example, you are going to talk to your parent community (audience) about issues in the continuing crisis in childcare (topic) because you want them to be more informed (purpose).

Develop your presentation

  • List possible points using the categories below
  • Select four or five points that you want to be sure to address when you speak. Decide the sequence and then begin to plan what you will say
Categories  Example 
What might your audience see as positive and negative aspects of this topic? (+) quality childcare is important for their child’s development

(-) availability and affordability of childcare

What possible assumptions or misconceptions might the audience have? All child childcare providers have formal post-secondary training before they are hired 
Identify some points your audience might not know Research shows that childcare practitioners are the single most important factor in the giving quality of care

Tips to make your message stand out

Research shows that you hear up to 1,800 messages a day. Consider the following tips to get your point across in a way your audience will remember.

People remember things in threes

Organize your presentation in threes:

  • Describe what has happened in the past, what’s happening today, what could happen tomorrow
  • Communicate what’s happening at a provincial/territorial level, what’s happening at a regional or municipal level, and what’s happening in your centre
  • Present three advantages, three benefits and three actions to take

People remember things they see

  • Use illustrations, graphs photographs, and charts to illustrate your message

People remember what they feel

  • Engage your audience emotionally
  • Tell a personal story that is related to your topic
  • Use your audience’s experiences as examples
  • Use humour

Pay attention to the opening and closing

  • Develop a strong beginning that grabs attention
  • Link your ending to your beginning
  • Near the beginning, tell your audience what you’re going to say
  • When you close, recap what you told them
  • Use a powerful quote

Canadian Child Care Federation Logo

CCCF is a bilingual, non-profit, member-based organization established in 1987 with provincial and territorial affiliates and individual members from across Canada. We are the “big tent” in the early learning and childcare sector in Canada. Practitioners from coast to coast to coast belong in our tent. We give voice to the deep passion, experience and practice of early learning and childcare in Canada. We give space to excellent research in policy and practice to better inform service development and delivery. We provide leadership on issues that impact on our sector because we know we are making a difference in the lives of young children—our true purpose, why we exist— to make a difference in these lives. What gets talked about, explored, shared in our big tent is always a life changer. We are a committed, passionate force for positive change where it matters most—with children. Grounded in experience, national reach and scope, practical knowledge and professional identity.

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