Strategy and planning spell the difference between victory and defeat in the communications arena. While it’s impossible to anticipate every snafu that could arise in your interactions with reporters, policymakers, and audiences, a little advance preparation goes a long way. That brings to mind a story about the president of a large national association that […]

Some professional service firms still undertake business development the same, old way they’ve always done it. Ask for client referrals, speak before the local Kiwanis Club on the rubber chicken circuit, even (shudder!) make cold calls. All of those approaches are fine and can be part of a viable strategy (well, maybe not cold calling, […]

We all know that you receive silver on your 25th anniversary. What about the 20th? My curiosity is elevated by the fact that Barks Communications celebrates our 20th anniversary in business this week. The greeting card company Hallmark lists two options to commemorate 20 years. The traditional choice is china (I assume the dinnerware, not […]

It has been a while since we last visited The Three Keys to Great Presentations. This seems like a good time to review this basic yet important method. What is the thinking behind this system? Early in my consulting career, I noticed that executives were sometimes overwhelmed when it came to sharpening their communications abilities. […]

When someone tells me they do marketing communications, I sometimes ask which one. I’m not trying to be a wise guy (okay, maybe a little bit). I’m simply curious what their job involves. A misguided business trend has taken root in recent years that calls for the merging of the communications and marketing functions. This […]

Oh, no. It’s happening again. Your internal teams are squabbling. Your company’s leadership is determined to avoid a Game of Thrones-style pitched battle. To some extent, there is a natural tension between such functions. That can, when channeled properly, prove cathartic and creative. Yet when the name calling begins and turf wars ensue, the top […]

Every day, business executives answer questions from reporters, public officials, and audiences of various types. However, years of observation tell me that few have given thought to what they can do to properly manage those responses. We are taught from an early age to reply literally since we are told—erroneously, in my view—that there is […]