A lot of communication from organizations seems pointless at best and, in the worst cases, chaotic. In some cases, even brilliant individual communications fail to “move the needle” — that is, they don’t produce a behavior or action that supports a business goal or strategy.
That’s the idea behind “strategic” communication: It is planned to meet a measurable objective, to make a noticeable difference in something that matters. Strategic communication planning includes distinct steps that ultimately let you demonstrate to company leaders or clients that you have contributed meaningfully to whatever the company is trying to accomplish.
In this month’s Circle of Fellows episode, FIR host Shel Holtz joins two IABC Fellows — Mary Ann McCauley and Jennifer Wah — to take a closer look at strategic communication planning.
Mary Ann McCauley currently leads a nonprofit organization. Previously, she was president and principal of Catalyst Communications. She is an expert in spokesperson coaching, public relations, crisis management, and planning. Her industry expertise includes healthcare, financial services, professional services, nonprofits, and manufacturing. Colleagues describe her as a savvy strategist who views communication from a business perspective. Mary Ann founded Catalyst Communications in 1987 as McCauley & Associates. She also served in management positions with United Technologies Communications Company, Centerre Bancorporation, American Nurses Association and Hallmark Cards. Prior to her corporate and consulting work, Mary Ann was a journalist for an Iowa daily newspaper and owned a community newspaper in Southeastern Kansas.
Since founding her storytelling and communications firm Forwords Communication Inc. in 1997, Jennifer Wah has worked with clients to deliver ideas, plans, words and results. The company operates as a strategic alliance of hand-picked professionals; all renowned for work in their areas of specialization. This approach means the right team is assembled for each project; no more, no less. With more than two dozen awards for strategic communications, writing and consulting, Jennifer is recognized as a storyteller and strategist. She has worked in industries from healthcare to financial services to academia, and is passionate about the opportunity for stories to inspire actions and reactions within organizations.In 2013, Jennifer was named Associate Faculty of Royal Roads University, and in this capacity, continues to teach, coach and mentor others with an interest in business communication.