Thinkers, Linkers, Learners and Leaders...
Want to try a new approach to changemaking that transforms hearts, minds and actions?
Words for Change supports people and organisations working for positive change.
Our unique approach to changemaking emerges from a fusion of research and practice across linguistics, marketing, neurobiology and systems ecology.
Curious? Of course you are - you’re a Changemaker.
You’re a Changemaker - a person who cares, working with others to make things better.
You’re driven by hope and possibility, compassion and connection, fairness and justice, creativity and innovation.
But, sometimes you get stuck, despondent and cynical.
Bogged down in complexity and struggling to find the words to connect with your audiences amongst all the noise and distraction out there.
Words for Change
will work with you to create, renew or supercharge your purpose and possibility in changemaking.
Our evidence-based approach provides changemakers with a powerful toolkit for change; a behind-the-scenes understanding of how words evoke frames, encode values and shape reasoning, that once learnt, will change the way you approach the change you seek to make.
It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a changemaker seeking new ideas and insights, ready to build skills and be empowered by a deeper understanding of how words can drive the positive change you seek to make, then it might just be for you.
Words for Change works with people making positive change across nature conservation, climate change, natural resource management, community leadership and advocacy, mental health and community resilience, disaster recovery, education, community philanthropy, disadvantage and social justice, transformation of public infrastructure, liveability and more.
How we work
We work with you to build your skills and capacity across three main areas:
Strategy, Training and Content.
Let's work together on an Adaptive Change Strategy unique to your issue and audience
Training Changemakers is at the core of our practice. Flexible formats and content to suit your needs.
Together, we'll work through a process to clarify the change you seek to make and how we can use language and framing strategies to get there.
We'll go deep, drawing on applied research from the cognitive and behavioural sciences to build understanding and empathy for your audience and their worldviews to underpin our strategy for marketing and messaging.
"Thank you again for your time and expertise, it was incredibly valuable to our process in developing messages that will resonate in the right way with both our stakeholders and community."
Words for Change offers flexible training and workshop programs
tailored to meet the needs of your group or organisation.
Online or in-person one-hour, half-day, full-day and two-day formats are offered.
How words encode values that shape motivation
Empowering frames for change
Messaging framing and reframing
Neuropsychology of hope and fear-based messaging
How conceptual metaphors and semiotics shape perception and reasoning
Social change processes and how ideas spread
How to plan and structure your values-led message
Top tips and techniques for impactful messages.
“This was so interesting. I absolutely loved every minute of the whole day. It was really engaging and relevant.”
"Thanks so much for your fabulous and thought provoking training session on Tuesday. I’ve had lots of very positive feedback from our teams and it was great to see how engaged everyone was throughout the day.
I really appreciated your thoughtful, calm and accessible style and found the approach so compelling with the evidence behind it."
“This was so relevant to our unique Landcare situation, it's rare to get presenters that can tailor their training to us so well. Trudi's depth of knowledge and presentation style was very inspiring and empowering, looking forward to implementing this in our communications!”
Words for Change provides narrative and persuasive writing services across multiple formats and media.
We specialise in synthesising complex topics into easily understood explanations and key messages.
We also offer a comprehensive range of editing services including academic, educational and general copyediting.
Here's an example:
I distilled the essence of Melbourne Water's commitment to Enhancing Liveability from over 30 background documents into this succinct brochure.
"Thank you very much to Trudi at Words for Change, I could not deliver this without her help and guidance! She has also gone above and beyond her duties to write the integral contexts for the report, the next steps and foreword, to strike the right tone and message with our selected audience.
"We have really valued the suggestions and copyedits you have made - it’s really injected that fresh set of very experienced eyes to continue to lift this doc to a place we want it to be."
“Brilliant - short sharp and succinct - thanks”
"I’ve had a read and I’m really excited. Thanks for a fantastic product. I’m really impressed! And those case studies. Love the tone and feel!"
Love the changes – what a gem!"
Who we work with
Now in its 17th year, Words for Change (formerly NRM Communication), has been delighted and inspired to work with Changemakers across government agencies and authorities, community groups, research institutions, universities, publishers, community foundations and change advocacy groups:
What people say
We value feedback and advice shared by the changemakers we work with. Our aim is to keep improving our practice so we can better support yours.
We're particularly interested in our impact -- as a result of our support, how do changemakers feel? What do they know? And, critically, what will they do?
How changemakers feel
"I felt inspired and empowered. Tools are in my hands."
"I feel like I struggle articulating my message at times and the framework and examples have given me clarity and guidance."
"It's great to feel good about the work we do."
"I like that through this method, I feel like authenticity will increase. Death to spin!!"
"It has given me the tools and motivation to keep going."
"It made me feel like I was experiencing deep learning that will have lasting impact on how I approach my advocacy messaging."
What changemakers know
“That getting the messaging right can have a significant impact on the success of a project or outcome.”
“That we need to highlight the values we want to steer people in the right direction”
“How the words you use bring out different emotions and feelings. The discussion of using words to draw a picture and being more descriptive in explanations has really made me look at what I am writing more closely.”
"Why negation fails."
"I very much like that positive messages are
the most successful.”
"This is a tangible action. This is changing my thinking on communicating with impact."
What changemakers will do
"Be more strategic in my messaging"
“I will be more conscious of cognitive bias and focusing on what the message is for – not what it is against”
"Explore my own use of language and work towards creating compassionate communications"
“Feel, Know, Do – love this and intend to apply to all comms”
"Put my learnings into action in my personal and professional life"
“I got SO much from this training, I have been applying the concepts to my comms already.”
Hi, I’m Trudi Ryan. Welcome to Words for Change.
Like you, I care deeply about our communities, ecosystems and landscapes. Over my 30-year career spanning research, education and communication, I’ve become focused on the challenge of changing hearts, minds and actions on our most pressing social and environmental issues.
This has led me to look at the science and practice of psychology, sociology, ecology, neurobiology, cognition, linguistics, marketing and advocacy to better understand how people reason about information, and in particular, why some change initiatives work while others fall flat, or worse, are counterproductive.
I have brought together learnings from these diverse fields into a novel process for creating change based on the words we use - Words for Change.
I’d like to share these learnings with you and I hope you’ll find them helpful and practical as you plan and create your positive change.
Trudi Ryan, brief CV
Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Environmental Management), Deakin University.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ecology), Deakin University.
Master of Applied Linguistics, University of New England (In progress)
Graduate Diploma (Marketing Communication), University of Canberra.
Graduate Certificate (Neurobiology of Human Behaviour), University of New England.
Post-doctoral Research Fellow. CSIRO Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research
National R&D Communication Officer. Land & Water Australia
Lecturer and Tutor in Environmental Science. Deakin University; Holmsglen TAFE, GOTAFE.
Victorian government agencies: various roles in environmental research, education, interpretation and communication.