Sightline’s messaging memos—Flashcards—cover all kinds of sustainability topics and best practices in strategic communication, from storytelling techniques to smarter ways to frame government and taxes. We draw on all kinds of research and experts. But this year, our audiences of professional communicators, electeds, and advocates have told us—with their clicks—that their favorite Flashcards in 2014 were about climate, climate, and climate. Here are the top five from the past year, all of them tips for better, smarter, more powerful messaging about global warming and a transition to clean energy:

Top Flashcards of 2014

1. Climate Change in Plain Language. A guide for talking about people and pollution (not polar bears).

2. Breaking the Climate Fear Taboo. Why our own feelings matter for our messaging.

3. Climate Disruption With a Chance of Snow. Talking about global warming when it’s cold out.

4. The Art of Talking Climate Science. How climate experts should explain things.

5. A User’s Guide to Climate Messaging. Thirteen guiding principles from ecoAmerica.

Climate-focused runners-up that made it into the top 10 this year were: Talking Climate Change like McCarthy (that is, Gina McCarthy of the Environmental Protection Agency), and, of particular interest these days for folks in the Northwest, Cap and Trade in Three Pictures (featuring my very own doodles!).

Also in the top 10, a few guides to better messaging in general, including an oldie but goodie on crafting sticky stories and, my personal pick for perhaps the most important and durable Flashcard of all time: Your True Colors: Don’t be afraid to let them show (on saying what you believe, expressing your core values in order to fire up your base of supporters, and bringing along anybody sitting on the fence, and a little nod to Cindi Lauper, of course).

Thank you for a great year. Please let us know your favorites, what messaging topics you’d like more of, and what you’d like to see us to dig into in 2015. And if you’re not already on our list, sign up (here) for Flashcards delivered to your inbox about once a month.

Happy messaging and happy New Year!


P.S.The most popular Flashcard from 2013 featured the gorgeous climate change science haiku and watercolor illustrations by scientist Greg Johnson. We recently partnered with some friends to re-publish this amazing work of art (and skillful messaging) in Spanish. Share widely, por favor!

December 31, 2014