Effective communication with a variety of stakeholders is essential for any successful coral reef management strategy. When outreach and communication are not incorporated into reef management strategies, key resource users may not know why certain management actions are taken or why regulations are changed. This can lead to misinformation, anger, or dissent, and can ultimately result in harmful effects to reefs. It is important to communicate with stakeholders, partners and colleagues throughout the development and implementation of any project or strategy. The investment put into communication planning at the start of a project will lead to better results.

Strategic communication is a valuable tool to help achieve the following goals:

  • Increasing political and community support
  • Raising awareness of issues and solutions
  • Informing others about what your project is and does
  • Gathering stakeholder perspectives and additional information that can strengthen or improve a project or management plan
  • Encouraging people to participate in certain activities
  • Persuading or convincing people to believe or accept new ideas or solutions
  • Changing human behavior

See the sections below for talking points to help communicate effectively about resilience; for guidance on developing a simple communication strategy; information on how and when to use social marketing; and guidance on how to facilitate meetings effectively.

It is important to determine the main issues that need to be communicated and address them one at a time. Too many messages at one time can undermine the process and confuse an audience. Photo © S. Wear/TNC

For the purposes of communication, there is no such thing as the general public

Last updated August 30, 2016

Talking Points

It is critically important to share with stakeholders the rapidly developing scientific research which demonstrates the resilience and adaptation potential of coral reefs to changing conditions. Learn more.

Developing a Communication Strategy

A communication strategy is an important tool when a project team identifies a lack of knowledge, lack of awareness, or unfavorable attitudes that are affecting conservation goals. Learn more.

Social Marketing

The social marketing approach identifies the barriers that inhibit individuals from engaging in an activity, as well as what motivates them to act. Learn more.


Knowing how to effectively facilitate a meeting is a highly valuable skill. Learn more.

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