Stephanie Yuan

This year, I set out to train for my first triathlon. Unfortunately, with the onset of COVID-19, my plans are temporarily on pause until it becomes safe to race.

At first, returning back to “normal” seemed to be within arm’s reach – a month of lockdown slowly crept into three, and pool closures meant my triathlon training temporarily turned into duathlon training. Eventually, the circumstances cancelled the race for good, and without a goal race, I needed to adapt and adjust my training to fit the conditions of the pandemic.

Laying the groundwork today will help me jump back into training for my next race, just like a proactive communications strategy helps achieve business and communications objectives. At Reservoir, we are constantly working to help clients advance in their communications and public affairs “triathlon” – brand, advocacy and reputation – strategically positioning them for success and building tools that will help them weather unexpected challenges.

Here are just a few other ways training for a triathlon reminds me of communications:

Agility and Adaptability

In triathlons, brick workouts combine two of the three sports in one workout. The most common brick workout is a bike ride followed by a run. Since the motions and the mechanics for cycling and running are distinct, brick workouts train the body to quickly transition from one sport to another. This agility is mirrored by the Reservoir team. With our strong foundation and deep expertise in health policy, we can quickly adapt and evolve our messaging and engagement strategy in real-time to respond to the circumstances.

Quality Over Quantity

Too much training can easily lead to injuries – ones that may involve a long road to recovery. That’s why it’s important to strategically align your training with goals, just like aligning activities to objectives. Prioritizing the most effective approach and complementary tactics can help ensure preparation for the challenges ahead.

Buddy System

In the pre-pandemic era, training with a buddy or in a group setting was often seen as more effective than going solo. Part of a good communications or public affairs strategy involves “buddies,” or engagement with aligned stakeholders. This engagement helps clients better understand the policy landscape, connect with individuals and organizations on shared causes and advocate for broader change with a unified voice.

With the end of the pandemic a dot on the horizon, the next in-person race is long off. Just like how my groundwork today will fuel my triathlon race when that time comes, our depth of knowledge and proactive communications strategies will continue to help shape the policy conversations of the future and ensure our clients are well positioned to tackle the most pressing challenges ahead.