As thousands of communicators come together for Ragan’s Communications Week on Nov. 1-7, we thought it’d be helpful to underscore both the tremendous influence communicators can wield and the responsibility they have as brand stewards. To do that, we asked the Communications Week Advisory Board to share what they know for sure about Communications. Here’s what they said:
Responses have been lightly edited.
Danielle Brigida, Senior Director, Wildlife Communications & Strategy, World Wildlife Fund
Listening is vitally important in a communicator’s work. We’ve got to be good listeners, not just to what people say they need, but what goes unsaid. I also fully believe in treating the reader’s time as more valuable than my own. I want to make information accessible and relevant as quickly as possible.
Laura Brusca, SVP, Corporate Communications, Forbes
Trust is everything. And building trust is a marathon – it takes time, patience, hard work and practice, and you need to stay continuously focused on the end goal. To develop trust, focus on building relationships and being real with key audiences, leadership, reporters, employees and other key stakeholders. Get to know them really well and try to find ways to authentically engage with them and offer real value. Trust can also slip away quickly with just one side step, so be careful to maintain it or all can be lost.
Steve Cody, Founder and CEO, Peppercomm
What I know for sure about communications is that it is only growing in importance with each passing day. CEOs of organizations large and small know that smart, engaging and informative communications are intrinsically linked to the future of work.
Lanita Withers Goins, AVP, Employee Communication Services, Arch Capital Services
The skills of communicators will always be in demand. The methods and channels may change, but the ability to craft a narrative that informs and inspires will always be key to an organization’s overall success.
Emily Graham, Chief Equity & Impact Officer, Omnicom Group
Words matter. They inspire, they incite, they inform, they harm. Words heal. Communications is powerful. As a communicator I have never been surer that our time to transform companies, culture and society is now. Our role as catalysts and change agents embodies the future and hope of communications in our industry and beyond.
Tiffany Guarnaccia, CEO & Founder, Kite Hill PR
Communications is an essential function that can push a business forward. In times of economic uncertainty, today’s savvy leaders know that the right external and internal communications strategies will help them outmaneuver competition.
Margery Kraus, Founder & Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide
Communications is all about being relatable and authentic. Part of it is to look at our values & purpose and aligning them with business strategy and actions. Communicating around these important topics will be the difference between good companies and great companies.
John Looney, Vice President, Internal Communications, Mass General Brigham
Comms is an engine and a lifeline. It’s the engine that fuels employee engagement, which can dictate organizational success or failure. It is a lifeline when it matters most, recently demonstrated in spades during the pandemic.
Howard Mortman, Communications Director, C-SPAN
Technology and platforms are mere tools. The core essence of communications – basic personal qualities like respect, honesty, curiosity, passion – always lives beyond and transcends any trendy tech of the day.
Ayanna Robinson, Chief Client Officer, Porter Novelli
What I know for SURE is that communications is only impactful if it can keep pace with the speed of culture. Navigating the uncertainties of the future requires companies to decode change, understand the implications and communicate their value and solutions to stakeholders.
Kari Wethington, Executive Communications Director, Procter & Gamble
Change is the only constant. We must learn to navigate volatility in the external environment that can affect our careers, workplaces and personal lives. But as communications leaders with a broad view of business and societal trends and issues, we also have an important role to play in leading through both the opportunities and challenges that arise in times of change.
From the Ragan Team: We hope you’ll join us and our many partners this week – online or in person. The Future of Communications Conference will be Nov. 1-2 in NYC, the PR Daily Awards Dinner on Nov. 2 and webinars and networking events through Nov. 7. Check out the details at www.commsweek.com.