Do you have a seat at the leadership table? As a communicator, do you need one?
In this webinar for ICology Presents, I talk about how to build relationships with leaders in your organisation and the biggest challenges people have in connecting with leadership teams (from 8 minutes onwards). Be warned – I begin with some bold slides, including one titled “How to avoid being told to f**k off out of their office”! This is a story from my own experience that I often tell when people are looking to engage leaders.
Leaders sometimes leave us feeling deflated, but we need to ask if this is a hill we want to die on. I talk about the importance of listening and how you can overcome the sinking feeling by asking bold questions of your leaders. What does it really mean to them when they talk about “adding value”?
The webinar covers the need to adapt to your audience – something we talk about a lot, but that we don’t always practice when it comes to the leadership teams we work with. It’s really important to check your language. When we’re talking to leaders, we need to make sure we’re talking to them in a way that’s appropriate for them, and not use terms that are only used within the communications industry; “employee voice” is one great example of this.
A lot has been said about how communicators need a seat at the table to get in front of leaders, but, I always say:
It’s so important to build credibility as a communicator: if you’re going to be credible you’ve got to be trusted, you’ve got to demonstrate goodwill and you’ve got to have honesty, integrity and expertise. If you can’t be influential without a seat at the table, you won’t be influential with a seat at the table.
There is a lot more advice and practical takeaways in the full webinar. Thank you to ICology for inviting me to speak. If this is something you are tackling in your organisation, we offer consultancy to move you from chaos to calm, as well as coaching and mentoring. I’m interested to know about any challenges you’re having in building relationships with leaders in your organisation. If you’d like to chat more about the topics I cover in this webinar, please do get in touch.