Written by Steve Crescenzo
Communicators, pencils ready! You have three minutes to complete the following multiple-choice question. Good luck!
Why do most corporate communicators fail to reach the status of Strategic Counselor in their organizations, and instead fall into the “Communication Order Taker” role:
a. Never-ending deadlines that suck your time away and leave you no time to be either strategic, or creative, with your communications.
b. The “box checker” mentality, where you’re more concerned with getting stuff out and checking a box, than you are with worrying about your effectiveness.
c. Soul-crushing approval processes that force you to write more for the approvers than the end user.
d. The inability to “no” to anyone, ever . . .which turns you into everybody’s Private Publisher.
e. Not having enough control over your own communication channels (why the HELL does IT have anything to do with content on the intranet?).
f. No respect or trust or support from leadership.
g. Too much time reacting to stuff and putting out fires, and not enough time doing proactive, strategic communication campaigns.
h. Busy churning out too much corporate crap that should have gone away a LONG time ago . . . but, “that’s the way we’ve always done it!”
i. Some of the above
j. All of the above
The correct answer is . . . either “I” or “J.” And if you fall into the J category, you are most likely an alcoholic by now, but that is the subject of another blog.
So many things are holding communicators back from being more strategic, and more creative. But most of these things are self-inflicted wounds. We don’t earn trust from leadership. We let internal clients push us around. We don’t fight back against rigid approvers. We don’t demand control of our channels. Because we refuse to say “no” to anyone, we end up always on deadline, checking boxes, and churning out too much crap.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our job, as communicators, is simple: We have to make the important interesting.
The important part is the “strategic” part. We need to work with leadership to determine the most important things we should be communicating to employees on a regular basis.
The interesting part is the “creative” part. We need to then take that strategic information and create content and campaigns around it that people will notice, pay attention to, and get involved in. We have to find the drama and tell stories. We have to use humor. We have to tell the stories of the people closest to the work. Which means we need time to do all that.
This is what our Internal Communications Master Class is all about. Giving you that time. And showing you what to do with it. It’s about wiping out as many of those obstacles listed above as you can, honing your strategic focus, and learning the best creative practices in the industry. It’s a packed day, and a fun one. And the best training in the industry.
It has changed careers. It has overhauled communication departments. It has destroyed my liver, because we usually have drinks with the attendees afterwards (when all the real stories come out!). But it’s worth it.