Do you sell fish to a cow?

Partnerships in healthcare.

That’s what Mario’s research is about.

He’s interested in success factors for collaboration between, for instance, district nurses, general practitioners and hospital staff.

But Mario has a problem.

Hardly any of these professionals fill out his questionnaire.

What to do?

Sometimes someone like Mario reaches out to us for advice, with high expectations of communication. For example: ‘If I communicate well, they will fill out my questionnaire at last.’

That’s not always true.

Compare it to selling fish to a cow. No matter how convincingly you communicate, the cow probably won’t buy fish from you. You will have to offer it something different (grass, for example) or choose a different target group (think of a seal).

Something similar might be happening in Mario’s case.

For example, does it take half an hour to complete his questionnaire? And does he offer a 5 euro gift card in return?

Then it will be difficult to persuade busy GPs, transfer nurses or directors.

No matter how clear the questions are and how strong the cover letter is.

So don’t think of communication as a wonder drug, as something separate from the content.

And first check whether that content – your proposal, product or questionnaire – sufficiently matches the wishes of your audience.