Public safety labor leaders from across the country left Las Vegas on Friday ready to take back the narrative surrounding their organizations as they completed the last day of the inaugural NEP Services training conference, Adapt or Die: Controlling the Narrative to Win the Hearts and Minds of Those We Serve. The exhaustive training allows leaders to take charge of their media, build an audience of supporters, and control the narrative on issues affecting public safety in their community.
Attendees jumped into day two of the advanced communications conference at The Mirage Hotel with a full-scale overview from industry leaders on how the media works and how labor leaders can make the media work for them. Communications experts reminded the law enforcement officers and fire fighters in attendance that they hold considerable sway in their communities.
“You all still have strong support from the public, contrary to what the headlines suggest and contrary to how it sometimes feels,” said Erin Powers, a communications professional and principal of Houston-based Powers Media Works LLC. “Those are things that if we’re formulating our messaging for the media or for community interaction that we want to be mindful of. You’ve still got a really strong base of support.”
Later in the day, NEP Services Vice President Mark Treglio showed emergency responders how their word selection could be the difference between projecting strength and garnering an audience of support or conveying weakness and ceding control of the narrative.
“The words that you choose – they matter,” Treglio said. “If you position your message properly, not only is your message effective, but you can position your message to take away your enemy’s response.”
Emergency responders came to the conference hoping to hone their communication skills and bring those newly acquired traits back to their organizations. Angel Mota, the communications director of Roseville, CA Fire Fighters IAFF Local 1592, attended the conference and said he’s excited to pass on the tools he learned at the conference to his members.
“There’s some stuff I didn’t really know about, some different social media tools like Facebook Business, so it’s good to have the experts who are obviously super, super good at what they do pass that on to me,” Mota said. “I do look forward to next year’s conference.”
On Thursday, industry leaders discussed topics including organizational branding, writing to increase power, and building an audience through digital targeting, among other subjects. The conference’s first day also featured a keynote address from Codey Gandy, a former United States Marine now serving as a leadership instructor, strategic advisor, and 1st Responder Training Lead for Echelon Front – a leadership consortium founded by former Navy Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.