Communicators often look at themselves and view their role as one of simply responding to business partner requests and thus only serve to support those functions. However, the best leaders in communications portray the function as one where they can help shape company strategy and bridge the gap between their business partners’ goals and actual results.
So what sets these communicators, the ones who see their role as one that can catalyze growth, apart from those that view themselves as a reactive function? Well for starters, they understand what it is they do best and that is, well – communicate. So by understanding their strengths and harnessing them to create dialogue with and among their business partners, these leaders in communications are able to assist their firms in achieving the growth results that they seek. It’s also worth noting that this is in close alignment with the CEC’s major research initiative for this year, as we also believe that communicators have the unique opportunity to become consultative partners within their organizations.
Let’s take a look at our tool, A Dialogue Map, which can serve as your blueprint in getting these conversations with your business partners off the ground. As with anything that seeks to drive results, it’s beneficial to lay out the process in an organized manner and that’s what we’ll discuss next.
Step 1. Articulate the Business Objective
We have to start somewhere and the best place is to understand what it is that we are trying to accomplish. Chances are it will be to assist your business partners in bridging that gap between where they currently stand and where they want to be. Again, refer to the Map to see what kind of questions should be asked to determine where you need to focus your efforts.
Step 2. Determine Your Communications Goal
In this step as with Step 1, make sure you spend a decent amount of time thinking about the problem and the desired outcomes. This will help to ensure that you see the bigger picture, which will help you set realistic goals. Also, during this step there are several possibilities as to what your goal will be centered around. Such goals may consist of, increasing awareness, building support, or enhancing results; but keep in mind that it could be a combination of desired outcomes. This is why it’s imperative to think through the problem so that you can deliver the best results for your business partners.
Step 3. Plan Key Messages to Support Your Goal
Now that you’ve identified your goals, it’s now the time to brainstorm with your team to determine exactly what you want the employees of your firm to remember. This of course is highly contingent upon the goals you have set, so be sure to refer to your blueprint to see what kind of questions you should ask to help make your message memorable and actionable.
Now keep in mind that these Steps comprise the Planning Stage of a 3 stage process that also includes Facilitation and Measurement. Look for our tips on the Dialogue Map on how to improve upon your facilitation and measurement skills. All in all, remember that you’re a communicator, so take advantage of those skills and facilitate the discussion with and among your business partners to achieve their goals and in doing so you get the opportunity to earn your seat around the table.
CEC Related Resources