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TCR #009: Top 9 questions for strategic communicators

Stakeholders and colleagues who come to you for help will always tell you want they want.

  • "I want a poster"

  • "I want a new button on the front page of the intranet"

  • "I want you to make this PowerPoint presentations look sexy" (yes this was a genuine request I had once 😬)

But often there's a massive difference between what they want and what they need.

If you want to be a strategic communicator, then you need to engage your curiosity to get past the want and uncover the need.

Here are my 9 favourite questions to ask to achieve this.

  1. What problem are you trying to solve? This will determine the communications objective.

  2. What does success look like? Get them to describe the future state. What has changed? What is different?

  3. Why this? Why now? What's the catalyst or driving force for the communication request?

  4. Why is this important for the organisation? Is there alignment to business objectives?

  5. If you could change just one thing, what would it be? This gets to their main priority and concern.

  6. What are the obstacles to achieving this? Identify obstacles up front so you can plan to get around them.

  7. What have you tried before? Find out what has worked (and what hasn't) in the past.

  8. What resources are available? Identify the constraints (money, people, time) and make a realistic plan based on those.

  9. What do you need to stop doing in order to focus on this? More focus requires fewer distractions.

You'd be amazed at how many people don't actually know what they need. They may have a tactic they want you to execute, but they need your help to identify what they actually need.

These questions will help you uncover this together.

These top 9 questions are included in my Internal Comms Cheat Sheets. You get this tidbit completely free for being part of my tribe.


Whenever you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Consulting: I help organisations create effective systems of internal communication. This includes reviewing your current system of communication, developing an internal communication strategy, establishing internal communication functions and more.

  2. Coaching: I offer 1:1 coaching for a small number of clients to amplify your strategic abilities, gain confidence in your decision-making, improve your communication prowess and feel empowered to be creative at work. I offer 8 and 12 week coaching packages, or you can book a one-off 60 minute session here.

  3. Training: I run workshops on effective internal communication, measurement, AI in internal communication, newsletters, effective writing and other internal communication topics. Reply to this email to discuss an in-house training for your team or keep an eye on my training page for upcoming workshops.

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