Although it’s been a funny year in my consulting practice, one of the real upsides in this economy is that I’ve seen many communications leaders dedicating time and resources to developing skills among their team members. And, that has translated into lots of opportunities for me to teach my Strategic Communications Planning seminars.
In a recent seminar series I was struck by the excitement and enthusiasm of some participants when they were pushed to think harder, apply their business acumen and use that to make the analysis section of the plan “sing”. They absolutely could do it! And, when they did, they were thrilled. Now, that makes for a very satisfying teaching experience!
I do a lot of plan reviews and coaching and advising clients on elevating their plans to a more strategic level. And, when I think back to that work, the part of the process that I often find disappointing is the analysis. Communicators have gotten so much better at doing research and collecting data but have somehow missed the part where meaning is created from data. And, I often find that the communicator isn’t taking the time to really dig into the client’s business need. Because they don’t really understand that business driver, the communications plans come out weak or only graze the surface of what they could be. Really getting analysis is the magic to a truly strategic communications plan. There are tools to help with analysis, but a lot of it is learning to think about the business and apply some good old-fashioned brain power.
Communicators need to challenge themselves to develop their business acumen and take the time to really think about what the data they’ve collected means and how communications can help drive the business goals. I know this isn’t a new idea…but when it clicks…it’s a magic thing to behold.