10 Things to Remember for Your Next Media Appearance

A blog post about getting ready for a media appearance that is worth re-reading.

Communication is King

ImageExecutives and communicators are engaged on daily basis with the media in its different forms. As usual, not all people are gifted with the ability to master media appearances. Some may even grow a sort of phobia that will haunt them throughout the process and, in many cases, hinder their ability to deliver their message properly.

Being around for a while, rubbing shoulders with journalists and executives, I compiled a list of 10 things to have in mind before your next media appearance:

  1. Be honest: when you are under the probe, not telling the truth will do you no good.
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare: One cannot stress enough the importance of knowing your subject inside out.
  3. It is all about WE not Them: Don’t give your competitors airtime, remember this is an opportunity to present your organisation’s point of view.
  4. Show Empathy: Indifferent behavior will get you nowhere.
  5. What you Know only: Nobody…

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A Seat at the Board Table! 3 Things Communicators need to start doing.

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As Marshall McLuhan‘s globe continues to morph into a village and Thomas Friedman‘s world to flatten, the need for corporate communicators to step up and to assume leadership roles in their organizations is mounting.

But what does a leadership role look like for a 21st century communicator? And what is expected from a communicator within the C-suite circle?

According to a report published by Korn Ferry in 2015 titled: The Chief Communications Officer: 2015 Survey and findings among the Fortune 500, the COO as a leader must:

  • Provide leadership on reputation, values and culture across the enterprise.
  • Design systems, such as those that support an enterprise-wide social media strategy.
  • Define and activate corporate character.
  • Develop and publish content for external stakeholders.
  • Analyze data to understand how stakeholders view the enterprise.

I would say that there more to it than that! A communicator as a leader needs also to:

  • Understand the business strategy and provide solutions that affect the bottom line.
  • Be bold and courageous when it comes to acting in a proactive manner and provide insights and solutions to their CEO rather than dwelling on the problem.
  • Develop a strategic capacity that transcends beyond the narrow angle dictated by the nature of the job, towards a global view that can see and act upon the bigger picture.

So what are the 3 things that communicators need to start doing to evolve and to claim their seat at the table:

  1. Understand financial management and get educated on reading and analyzing financial statements; it’s crucial to learn the language spoken within the C-suite circle and to be able to form a strategic opinion that includes understanding what keeps your CEO awake at night.
  2. Understand your organization’s business strategy and contribute in shaping its components. Know the why, what, who and how aspects of the strategy and then invest your knowledge and expertise towards achieving the business goals.
  3. Become an expert in your field and expand your knowledge base to include not only communications and PR topics but also to cover topics in psychology, anthropology and semiotics among others. After all when you are on the table, a wide knowledge base will allow you to go deep.

I meet many communication and PR executives in events and conferences where attendees grapple with the idea of how can communicators get a place at the table and be looked upon beyond their reactive role. I hope this post can complement this conversation.

I welcome your ideas on the subject. What do you think and why?

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Quote of the Week

Covey

“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”
― Stephen R. Covey

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8 Steps towards Writing a Communication Strategy

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“Strategic communication management could be defined as the systematic planning and realization of information flow, communication, media development and image care in a long-term horizon. It conveys deliberate message(s) through the most suitable media to the designated audience(s) at the appropriate time to contribute to and achieve the desired long-term effect. Communication management is process creation. It has to bring three factors into balance: the message(s), the media channel(s) and the audience(s)” (Bockstette & Carsten, 2008)

Writing a communication strategy could represent a daunting assignment for communication professionals who may be unable to identify the different aspects that need to be planned for. As such, when writing a communication strategy, communicators are encouraged to consider 8 main steps that will lead into a well-rounded strategy, fulfilling the aspirations of their respective organizations.

1)    Statement of Purpose: Why are you developing a communication strategy at the first place and what needs to be achieved with it.

2)    Current Situation: To understand your organization’s current situation it is highly recommended to use tools such as: SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats), PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological), and Competitor analysis.

3)    Organizational Objectives vs. Communications Objectives: It is crucial to align both objectives and present a communication strategy that delivers your organization’s overall vision, and objectives.

4)    Identifying stakeholders: Know your audience. Whether internal or external, communicators should be able to give a comprehensive description of their audience.

5)    Messages: Craft your messages to be simple, relevant and appealing to your different audience. Avoid using one size fits all approach.

6)    Key Communication Channels: Ask yourself what are the most adequate channels that will be used to transmit your messages? Understand all the available channels and their respective level of engagement.

7)    Playbook: With your audiences and communications methods identified, it is time to highlight your key communications activities, budget, and allocated resources. Your work plan will allow you to measure steps toward your goals.

8)    Auditing and Evaluating: What are your key performance indicators, what will the strategy success looks like, how will you be evaluating, measuring and auditing your communication strategy performance.

In addition to a well-rounded communications strategy, communicators need to consider incorporating  strategies such as: media/PR plan, Digital Strategy, and Crisis Communications Plan.

Share your experience of developing a communications strategy, your thoughts are really appreciated.

Follow me on Twitter: @RogerJabaly

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Quote of the Week

392px-Lawrence_Powell_-_Southern_Campus_1960

“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.”
Lawrence Clark Powell

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6 Lessons in 90 Seconds: What PR & Communications Professionals can Learn from IBM

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Throughout the day, I am exposed to hundreds of messages organizations try to convey to their respective audience that ultimately fail to resonate.  What is going wrong? Why is it that brands, although capitalizing on a genuine intention to connect and engage, are failing to do so? How come some brands make it and other fade in despair? This, along with tens of other question marks hover over my mind while trying to understand the different W’s.

Two articles I read today unveiled some of this ambiguity and put things in perspective. The first article appeared on Media Bistro   (http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/internet-day-stats_b41621) summarizing the current digital landscape through an interesting Infographic. The main finding of this research suggests the following:   Each day, an average of 139,344 new websites go live, an incredible 144 billion emails are sent and received, 500 million people log into Facebook, hundreds of millions of tweets* are written and exchanged, and, perhaps most amazingly, 60 hours of new video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute.

I will leave you with the above insight for a moment and share with you the second article. IBM capturing million views in just one day and more than 2 million the day after, for a demonstration of the future of atomic memory.  The World’s Smallest Movie (and was so certified by the Guinness Book of World Records) introduces us to a breakthrough that may not have had the chance to be recognized beyond the closed scientific circles.

The above cemented my belief that in such a congested digital highway the only way to make a breakthrough is through the power of simple messages. IBM case taught me 6 lessons pertaining to the art of simple messaging that I would like to share with you:

  1. Make it short: IBM didn’t need more than 90 seconds to tell a complicated yet an enticing story
  2. Make it simple: Simplicity makes beauty and get you to far places. Guinness Book anyone!!!
  3. Make it Entertaining: If such a complex scientific theory can be fun and entertaining, then what cannot be?!
  4. Drop you jargon: IBM scientist didn’t flex their semantic muscles in promoting their achievement
  5. Know your WHY: IBM’s “making science interesting to the world” motto set the modus operandi
  6. Be audacious: IBM’s ability to experiment and explore the potential of new kinds of  content allowed for glowing creativity

@RogerJabaly

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Quote of the Week

Edward_R._Murrow_-_still

The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.
Edward R. Murrow

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