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Category: Strategic Communications Planning

Mind the gap: a primer on issue management

I’m often asked about specialized strategies for approaching crisis or risk communications, under the assumption that these are special dark arts for those with nerves of steel. But really they’re not—and the more that communicators understand their broad continuities with other spheres of communications, the more approachable they’ll seem. In fact, crisis and risk communications…

A Communications Project Lifecycle

Communications is often a very messy business – we tend to deal with lots of moving parts, multiple stakeholders (often with competing priorities) and very short deadlines. The nature of our work demands a strong approach to project management – the discipline of managing the variables of quality, time and budget.  It’s the escape hatch…

Keep calm and play to your strengths

When a challenging risk or crisis comes up, it’s a good thing to ‘keep calm and carry on’, as the well-known British saying prescribes. It’s even better, though, to keep calm and carry on by playing to your existing strengths, rather than floundering about in a panic for new avenues to try. As I mention…

Why Outsource?

In his excellent book, The Executive’s Guide to Consultants, David Fields emphasizes the importance of carefully defining the nature of a project requirement before hiring an external consultant. In my experience, this is a vital – but often undertreated step in defining a project and establishing a collaborative relationship with a consultant. Before hiring a consultant or launching…

Issue management: it’s about strategy, not reaction

Building strength in issue management is difficult. It’s part discipline, part knowledge and part instinct, and tends to be a skill learned through experience. There’s really no substitute for learning first-hand in the trenches to gain insight on what works, what doesn’t and why. There is, however, one overarching principle of greatest importance to the…

Measure What Matters

I firmly believe that evaluation has always been the Achilles’ Heel of the communications profession. That’s why I was delighted to have the opportunity to publish an article on practical techniques to measure what really matters in this month’s edition of Communications World, published by the International Association of Business Communicators. The cover feature article…

The Limits of Planning

It would be tough to find someone more enthusiastic about the value of planning than me… after all, I’ve devoted my career to exploring the art and science of planning in strategic communications. Mind you, my own experience also illustrates that sometimes, despite the best laid plans, things move in a direction that can be…

A Primer on Strategic Thinking

The word ‘strategic’ is used so often that we’ve lost track of what it means.  You might think it’s nothing but another bit of corporate-speak tossed around to make things sound fancier. In fact, something real and utterly important is at stake in this word. A strategic state of mind is one that directs a…

Research Your Way to Rocking Communications

Research is probably one of the most under-rated areas in which a strategic communicator can really shine. It may seem odd to consider the proposition that as a communicator, you should also be a researcher. Aren’t the researchers those folks in other parts of the building, or outside your organization altogether? Isn’t your job to…

A Conversation on Setting Communicators up for Success

At a recent IABC Ottawa professional development event, I got together with Kristine Simpson of Young PR Pros to discuss how communicators can set themselves up for success and use strategic questions as their secret weapon.  It was a great chat and I appreciated the opportunity to share my thoughts. You can see the interview here.