5 Smart Communications Practices to Implement Right Now
The fourth and final question in the 4/4/4 Four Communications Issues. Four Perspectives. Four Weeks. Blog series, is the "Top Five Smart Communications Practices Companies Need to Implement Right Now." In keeping with the four week theme, it might have been cool to keep to four smart comms practices but "Top Five" is never a bad thing. From our perspective, it boils down to the following:
As we've covered before, the new role of active and proactive listening is becoming an "official" position within many organizations. In the traditional role as PR and communications professionals, having your finger on the pulse and being a capable resource to conversations and stories happening real time is an invaluable asset. That becomes more obvious when you're listening in the right places and communications channels, be it blogs, LinkedIn forums, Twitter, etc.
My colleague Ted Weismann and I had a chance to catch up with Tom Foremski at Silicon Valley Watcher this week, and while listening was just one of the interesting topics we covered, it was also about hearing what was being said and acting on it. Making active listening a part of your overall communications program is important and not one to take lightly.
Engagement without purpose, meaning or understanding is no more than wasted effort. In fact, it's probably safe to say that without context, communications professionals run the risk of doing more harm than good. All anyone who has been active in communications needs to say is 9/11 and Kimberly Wolfe and you get a clear understanding of how a poorly timed outreach effort can leave a negative lasting impression. PR and communications can, and should do the best job possible in engaging constitiuencies in the most appropriate and effective way possible.
Another theme that came out of our conversation with Tom was consistency. Doing anything, and most importantly, engaging in effective communications requires time, energy, effort and commitment. It's the commitment that is often the hardest to keep. However, if you expect a return on any communications endeavor or program, without support and commitment you run the risk of minimizing the desired outcome and in some cases diminish the effort entirely.
Assess and Tweak
Much like the Sharpen the Saw reference to a prior post within the series here, doing something for the sake of doing something, and keeping consistent to an ineffective program are both signs of ultimate failure. It's important to have measurement objectives in place and to continually measure, monitor and modify to ensure you are always moving your communications efforts forward. That may take time, energy and effort on educating the importance of making those tweaks. However, without them, you run the risk of again minimizing the impact of the overall effort.
As part of the story telling aspect of effective communications, where there is a start, middle and end, those communications campaigns demonstrate relevance are often the most successful. That doesn't mean just engaging in important communications channels in a one-way, one-dimenionsal manner. But using the opportunities available through social media channels to engage in ways to be relevant in a meaningful two-way conversation.
Any smart practices we may have missed? Also, I would like to thank Steve Farnsworth, Paul Roberts, Lou Hoffman and Todd Defren for inspiring this series. I sincerely hope that as both Steve and Paul have mentioned on Twitter recently, they look to continue these and additional series to help us all keep sharpening our own saws. It's been fun to participate.