For corporate communications leaders, having one or more executives who are comfortable speaking at events, being interviewed on camera or speaking to reporters at a moment’s notice is a godsend. Good executive speakers can boost awareness, become extensions of the corporate brand and calm jittery investors in a time of crisis.
But let’s face it – most corporate communications people don’t have a Jeff Immelt or John Chambers sitting in the corner office. That’s why having a team dedicated to supporting executive communications is vital. As with any part of the communications and marketing mix, companies want to make sure they are getting the most out of this function, and not just creating a new administrative layer.
Great executive communications team members are much more than PowerPoint jockeys. Being truly effective in this role requires an ability to tell executives hard truths, coach them on sensitive topics and understand how to translate dry corporate messages into something resembling real sentences that real people would say – and that real audiences would relate to.
To make sure you’re putting your executive communications efforts in the right place – and your executives in the best light – think about building a program around the four Cs of executive communications support:
In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to support a number of talented executives, and those experiences are ones I still cherish. It’s even more rewarding to help an inexperienced public speaker gain confidence and a distinctive voice in the marketplace. There are many channels available to us today for communicating with our audiences, but few are as powerful as people
Julie Ogilvie is a Senior Research Director of Strategic Communications Management at SiriusDecisions. She has held a variety of leadership roles in marketing and communications in her 20+ year career, for both B2B and B2C companies. Follow her on Twitter at @julieogilvie.