Get up in that crow’s nest and scan

If you’re giving communications advice that always keeps in mind your organization’s major goals, you’re doing well. And if you’re giving that advice against the context of what’s going on outside your office walls, you’re doing much, much better. Developing skills in public environment analysis, and building knowledge of your own organization’s issue environment, can enhance the strategic value you offer.

Public environment analysis means synthesizing the latest information on trends, public opinion and developments among stakeholders or counterparts. It means getting to know your audiences, competitors and stakeholders inside and out, and being able to connect the dots about what changes outside your corporation have to do with your organization’s communications challenges and goals. This body of knowledge will help build your ‘instinct’ for emerging issues, crises or opportunities—for anticipating how they’ll play out, and how best to navigate toward the results your organization is seeking.

It takes a serious time commitment to make yourself into that person up in the crow’s nest who sees what’s near and far off on the horizon. It calls for regular reading, networking and analysis—not a small task when your plate is already full. But there’s no substitute for the value it can add to your contributions as a strategic communicator. For more tips, check out the “Top 5 Suggestions to Kick-Start Your Communications Career“.