I invited a former colleague from American Airlines, Al Comeaux, to speak during a coaching call for my new program, Corporate Messaging for Communicators. He talked about how he’d earned the respect of senior leaders at companies like American, Sabre, Travelocity and GE.
It was a nice follow-up to the lesson I’d taught on making the case to company execs for a more strategic approach to communications. Al shared three things he did that cemented his place as someone leaders looked to for guidance:
- He connected with staff on their turf
- He studied the company and industry like a madman
- He got in the heads of customers
Al’s work traveling the globe to understand how messages from “corporate” actually resonated with employees in other countries positioned him as a trusted advisor to the CEO. He spent hours every week studying technical terms at GE, which allowed him to ask more informed questions that impressed the heck out of everyone in the room. And learning about the motivations, buying behaviors and influencers of customers at Travelocity allowed him to provide more strategic advice to all departments.
In other words, Al stayed curious.
I think being deeply curious is a bit of a dying art, but communicators especially need to keep it alive. When we question, seek to understand, explore, and really, just take the time to consistently talk to people outside AND inside the organization, we can better position ourselves as the knowledgeable expert our companies and clients need.
We cover these and other relevant topics in Corporate Messaging for Communicators. I’m starting a new class on February 25.
Reply back if you’d like to learn more. You’ll get the program, coaching, access to a group of like-minded professionals, and hear from great experts like Al.
I’m committed to helping communications pros develop high level strategic skills, demonstrate the value of PR with confidence, and align their organizations around powerful, impactful messaging that motivates target audiences to buy, volunteer, give, support, or whatever the business need happens to be. Not for you? Please help spread the word!
p.s. Al has brought 20 years of living, leading and researching change to his new book, Change (the) Management: Why We As Leaders Must Change for the Change to Last. Look for it in May! Click here to learn more about Al.
Jennifer R. Hudson
ThinkBeyond Public Relations