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The Communicator as Knitter

As people whose business it is to communicate with impact and flair, we all have our favorite metaphors that we draw on repeatedly. Knitting, I must say, has never been one of mine. That said, I’ve found myself thinking that it’s the best way of describing one of the most important leadership functions that we…

Clarity of Objectives: A Cautionary Tale

As you might have already gathered, I spend a lot of time delivering upbeat exhortations to clients about the importance of well-defined objectives in communications planning. While that’s indispensable, sometimes there’s no teacher like experience. And so I offer here a real-world example—from my own loss column, so it doesn’t have to turn up in…

Beware the “Communications Police”

No one likes a spoilsport—and we as communicators don’t want to be one. But we do run the risk of sometimes grating on the nerves of internal clients within our organizations by coming across as the “Communications Police”. This unfortunate phenomenon is one in which internal clients perceive that their communications officer is primarily in…

It’s About Progress, not Perfection

It’s all too easy, when we’re thinking about how to be better strategic communicators, to shrink in dismay at the distance between where we and our organizations are now, on one hand, and where we should be, on the other. Throwing up our hands and adopting a “can’t get there from here” attitude of resignation…

An Ode to Data

Some words are hard to love, and I have to concede that “data” is one of them. It doesn’t have any magic that makes the heart of a strategic communicator beat faster. But really, it’s so important that we should all learn to love it a little. Why? Because it’s indispensable to evaluating communications success—and…

Don’t Just Evaluate—Communicate!

Paradoxically, we communicators tend to communicate badly when it comes to evaluating and reporting on our efforts. Rarely do we take the time to assess results and share best practices as well as lessons learned. This generally inadequate performance in the area of evaluation has undermined our reputation and credibility—particularly in this era of heightened…

Taking Credit Where Credit is Due

Do you feel that it’s difficult to explain—and take credit for—the contribution that your communications efforts make to the overall success of your organization? Sometimes it’s hard for communicators to take credit for big picture outcomes such as the number of new members recruited, rate of client satisfaction, revenue, or influence leading to a regulatory…

Be an Action Hero

So you’ve laid out a brilliant communications strategy, with clear goals, indices of success and messages—congratulations! Next, it’s time to move from the lofty levels of strategy down to the thickets of tactics. A tactical action plan is where the strategy all comes together, since it lays out the implementation schedule that will make your…

Evaluating Outcomes – Focus on the What, not the How

In this blog I usually try not to get overly technical and scare people—but sometimes we all have to brace ourselves and embrace the technical. So here goes! Imagine that you’re off to see your GP for an annual physical. Think about how she might assess your overall health. Obviously, many indicators would be relevant—your…

Asking Questions That Count

Yesterday, I had the opportunity of participating in the Government of Canada’s Communicators’ Learning Summit in Ottawa, with sessions broadcast to regional communicators across Canada. My session was on the Top 10 Strategic Questions that I think every communicator should have in their back pocket. The gist of it was this: no one likes to look uninformed…