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April 21, 2023

Communication Takeaways from the 2023 Page Spring Seminar, Influence at Work


Last week, our team attended the Spring Seminar hosted by the Arthur W. Page Society – whose mission is to strengthen the enterprise leadership role of the chief communications officer by embracing the highest professional standards, advancing the way communications is understood, practiced and taught, and providing a collegial and dynamic learning environment.

We met and reconnected with so many fellow communications colleagues – and walked away with many rich insights that we feel should guide communications leaders in their work, and we want to share those with you, too.

Key Headlines for Communications Leaders From the thoughtpartners at The Grossman Group

1. Maximizing your influence

  • Persuasion doesn’t happen, influence does.
  • Influence happens slowly over time and with one key factor: Does the person you’re trying to influence see you as being open to being moved? To influence somebody, you must be willing to listen first.
  • People don’t change their behavior because you tell them; they change their behavior because you inspire them.
  • Influence is relational, slow and focused on small changes.  
  • You can’t influence unless it’s something you truly believe in and commit to yourself. And, you can’t have influence over another person unless they grant it to you.  
  • When you influence, watch out for negativity bias. Negativity may work in the moment to drive change (e.g., focusing on the problems) but over time it becomes toxic, and relationships suffer.

2. Elevating your impact

  • Broadly speaking, it’s important for leaders to be known, which is different than being famous. Being known means having presence, authority and credibility to get the job done.
  • We’re businesspeople first; communicators second. Resist the urge to offer a “communications centric” POV.  Numbers are the language of business. If you can’t speak that language, you’ll be left behind.
  • Communication is the conscience for a company. Communications leaders are often the ones who hold a mirror up to the organization.
  • If you want to discover what you believe, write. Clarity of thought drives clarity of expression. That’s something AI can’t do.
  • Always think like a creator – and begin with a strong understanding of your values, voice and tone.

3. Creating culture … and community

  • The best remedy for employee drain is community – a sense of belonging and connection to something bigger than oneself. Companies and communicators need to think in terms of community rather than audience. 
  • We’re in a loneliness crisis and we need to create moments of belonging. If your goal was to create the “most belonging company,” what would you do differently? 
  • A brand isn’t what we are telling people; it’s what people are telling each other. 
  • Culture is not written; it’s made. That’s very different than pushing an organization’s mission, vision and values on employees.

4. Strengthening the ways we engage

  • 80% of internet users have unique digital needs. The implication is that you need to design for each. Take the time to think through this: If your communications and messaging were on social media, what would make someone stop scrolling? What would make them engage in a dialogue? 
  • Employees consume information the same way they do in their personal lives – for example, in bite-sized pieces and ways that encourage conversation.  
  • If you’re designing for equity and looking to use digital, design for mobile-only access.

As the world – and the world of work – continues to evolve, we must continue to adapt, meet people where they are and lead and communicate with empathy, humanity and authenticity if we want to inspire positive change and make the workplace better.

What one or two takeaways have inspired you to take a different approach in your work for greater impact?

David Grossman

This new report covers what we see as three of the biggest trends impacting communicators today and offers guidance for managing the challenges that emerge with them. Download The 3 Biggest Trends Impacting Communicators Now eBook today.

3 Biggest Business Trends Impacting Communicators Now eBook

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