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 Eight, Heed.
“My message is that there is tons of room at the top. – Margaret Thatcher
I guarantee this will happen at some point. It’s human nature to tune out the familiar every now and again.
Internal experts lose their sway at times. Don’t worry. It’s probably not you. It’s not your executives. It just happens over time. Being a prophet in your own land does have its drawbacks. How to handle this diminishing return?
I can best illustrate by sharing a story from my time in the association realm some years ago. We produced an internal media training program for our officers and other key members to help them better understand our organizational messages and to polish their communications skills. It was well received and empowered the organization with a more elegant and disciplined approach to media outreach. Nonetheless, at least once annually we brought in veteran media training consultants.
Why did we do this, given the success of our internal program? We found that a different voice—not necessarily better or worse, just different—helped our leaders grow as communicators. As an added benefit, when we needed to rein someone in, the consultant could frame things in terms more stark than we could (I did want to keep my job, after all). We had frank conversations with our consultants during the preparation phase, discussing what issues needed to be placed on the table and how best to address them.
Why not share some of the steps you’ve taken when your executives tuned you out? How did you manage to recapture their attention?