Friday, 1 February 2008
A week ago, I literally lost my voice. I'd been fighting a cold and my voice started to wither away to barely a whisper. As someone in the field of communications, my voice is a critical component to my job. Losing my voice was a major issue. The fact that I was going to be conducting workshops on the subject of communications over the coming weeks, just made it worse.
However, these workshops were about the importance of the proverbial voice, not the inner workings of the throat and voice box. They provided grassroots training on how to be a voice for the civil engineering profession through infrastructure advocacy. The goal was to get participants actively thinking about how to advocate on behalf of the civil engineering profession as it relates to infrastructure.
Much of the discussion focused on water infrastructure, as the workshops were developed as part of ASCE's support of the new documentary, Liquid Assets, being produced by Penn State Public Broadcasting. The documentary tells the story of our water and wastewater infrastructure. To coincide with the documentary's launch, we are encouraging civil engineers to become advocates in their local communities, spreading the infrastructure message and advocating for improvement. During these workshops, nearly 100 attendees were instructed on the various steps involved in conducting a successful public outreach campaign, including how to identify and address local priorities, work with policy leaders and engage community partners. Of course, to truly be successful you have to have a strong message-and strong voices to deliver that message.
Don't lose your voice when it comes to bringing important civil engineering issues to the forefront of people's minds. If you don't step up with the right message, someone else will step up with the wrong one. Are you ready to be a voice for your profession?