4 qualities of expert communicators

A great communicator is hard to find—and even harder to emulate.


Corporate communicators at the top of their game may be hard to identify at a glance.

They might drink coffee in excess or possess a dog-eared, Post-It-filled copy of the AP Stylebook, but they ultimately blend in naturally with society. Only by working with an expert communicator can you determine their true nature.

Here are four surefire ways to tell when you are in the presence of phenomenal corporate communicators:

1. They know what to look for, and then they dig deeper. A rave review on Yelp is not a story, but it could be the tip of a valuable iceberg. A truly seasoned communicator knows which key questions to ask: What circumstances made the customer write the review? Do we have a star employee or a completely unheard-of process hidden within our organization?

2. They consider multiple points of view. Whose perspective makes a story sing? It’s probably not the CEO’s. A seasoned communicator considers those closest to the story—the nurses, salespeople, receptionists or engineers—and then interviews them.

3. They write, rewrite and repeat. “ Moby-Dick” wasn’t written in one go. Rewriting a story from scratch provides fresh breakthroughs and new angles, until the communicator arrives at the most effective story possible.

4. They know how to take criticism. Nearly every communicator is subject to review by executives, legal counsel or other stakeholders. Though a novice might be reluctant to let go of an eloquent passage or clever turn of phrase, doing so is simply the nature of the job, and the end product will be stronger for it.

Want to hone your corporate communications skills? Veteran communicators Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela will be touring the country, working with small groups in a workshop setting to address common writing challenges, from finding good stories to getting readers’ attention to matching words with images.

This workshop is designed to produce practical storytelling and writing solutions from which participants can benefit immediately. We encourage communicators of all levels of experience to attend.

Find a destination for our Advanced Writing and Editing Workshop in your area.

This event is usually held within a day of our Brand Journalism for Corporate Communicators workshop. We welcome all those who dare to attend both!

Follow this event at the hashtag #RaganAWE.

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