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Top Ten Questions

In the dizzying world of the communications business, preparation is at least half the battle. And one of the secrets of effective preparation is to be armed with good questions – that’s because the cold hard truth is that when a tough problem comes up (and in this biz, it will), you may not have…

Making a Shift – From Activities to Results

One of the easiest ways you can immediately enhance your strategic value as a communicator is to make a shift in the way you think about your function. Communicators generally are in the business of producing “stuff” – their focus is on the very real day-to-day challenges of writing press releases, developing key messages or…

Outside-In Thinking

As a communicator, you are essentially the “glue” between your organization and the public you serve. Communicators have the unique, powerful ability to bring what I call “outside-in” thinking to their organizations – the intangible skill, experience and instinct to know how an issue will play among your key audiences. In this capacity, you can…

Making Measurement Work for You

Let’s face it – as a communicator you barely have the time, let alone the budget, to measure your communications activities. Yet your senior management team is constantly asking for data on return on investment and the evidence that communications has demonstrated a meaningful result. So what’s a communicator who’s committed to measurement and evaluation…

Three ways to know if your communications function is in trouble – and what to do about it

In my experience, communicators from various backgrounds and sectors share in an almost universal struggle to define the value they bring to organizations, and then communicate that value in a way that resonates with decision-making executives. This challenge comes up in three main forms: First, communications is often seen at best as overhead, and at worse,…

The Communicator and the Consultant

It’s become a truism that if a communicator wants to get a Board or a senior management committee to listen to a new idea or a proposed change, the path of least resistance is to hire a consultant with some street cred, and get them to say the same damn thing the internal communicator has…

Communicating nothing, says something…

What I learned from being in the eye of the storm of the biggest corporate downsizing in Canadian history is this: Not communicating is actually communicating something. It may be a message of denial, anxiety, fear, control, contempt or even apathy. But in a charged environment of uncertainty and emotion, saying nothing says something. That’s…

5 Steps to Enhancing Your Strategic Value

The question I receive most often from communicators is “How can I be more strategic?” Here are my top five suggestions on enhancing your strategic value in a communications function: Ask good questions. The quickest way to add strategic value is to ask insightful questions that help sharpen focus on desired outcomes and results. Asking questions…

Connecting the Dots

One of the most powerful ways in which you can contribute significant strategic value as a communicator is by making it a practice to connect the dots around you. Connecting the dots is about cultivating the habit of seeing the inter-connections between issues, information and trends which may otherwise seem unrelated on the surface. This…

Communications Leadership

In my work with thousands of communicators in a broad range of organizations and sectors, one theme remains a constant – Leadership has never been more relevant for the communications industry as it is now. It’s what internal clients are looking for, and it’s also the unique space communicators crave, in order to provide really…