Following is an excerpt from the recent position paper, “Eleven Elements to Mold a Magnetic Message: How to Shape Your Story for the Press, Policymakers, and the Public.” We’ll discuss each of the Eleven Elements individually to help you get a better handle on each one. Today, let’s turn to Element Three, Collaborate.
I don’t think people are ready for the message that I’m delivering… – Charlie Sheen
Pay attention to who’s in the room during your message development sessions. The composition of your team is likely to change for each issue. Some groups, for example, may include the CEO, regional vice presidents, issue experts, lawyers, communications staff, and relevant consultants. Other teams may involve just a few of these people or include those from other disciplines.
The important consideration is that everyone with a stake or special expertise needs to be there. Of equal importance, anyone superfluous to the issue should be kept out of the room. This helps you avoid too unwieldy a process.
Also, keep the sycophants away. You need executives and experts willing to lay their ideas on the line. As Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn said, “I don’t want yes-men around me. I want everyone to tell the truth, even if it costs them their jobs.”
What approaches have you taken to (diplomatically) kick out people who don’t belong?