August 27, 2014

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In Business, Words Matter

Photo by Albert Bridge
Posted by Communication Research Associates
Choose Local – Business to Business

Photo by Albert Bridge

It’s not spin, it’s not hype, it’s not fluff — unless you allow it to be.

Effective corporate communication – speeches, news, corporate announcements, web site features, annual reports, advertising, and content for employee news networks – constitute an essential strategy for businesses, nonprofits, education and government.  Do a poor job with any of these elements, and our hyperactive, Facebooking-and-Twittering information world finds out fast and has plenty to say about it.

“That’s where Communication Research Associates can help,” says Sheila Gibbons Hiebert, vice president.  “We can assist you on macro and micro levels: mapping a communications plan for your organization or supporting one you already have.  We can produce communication materials that will polish and protect the good reputation you’ve built or help you develop the reputation you desire.  We also can provide training so you and your employees can better engage with communities and audiences.”

Sheila has decades of experience as a magazine writer and editor, book author and editor, columnist, and communications consultant. She spent 11 years at Gannett Co., Inc., a Fortune 500 diversified media company, first as an editor in its New Media Division and then director of public affairs and spokesperson for the corporation.  In all those roles, she’s been asked to develop the most effective ways to present information to employees, customers, shareholders and community members.

“Too many organizations make the mistake of withholding information, or hedging the way they present it,” she says.  “It’s best to get in front of anything controversial with your version of events, so you aren’t in the position of simply reacting, which can put you on the defensive.”

Of course, most days there isn’t a headline-making communication crisis at the office.  More typical, she says, are lost opportunities: announcements, reports, and even everyday business exchanges that don’t convey an organization’s assets and successes in a persuasive way; speeches that are declined because outstanding, knowledgeable executives aren’t comfortable writing or delivering them; press releases drowning in gobbledygook.

“Because written and oral communication make your first, and sometimes your last, impressions on readers and listeners, they have to be key components of brand and project management,” Sheila says.  “The words you choose to make the case for your organization’s excellence really do matter. So does your comfort in standing behind those words. Whether it’s composing original material or editing yours, or preparing you to deliver your story in person, we can raise your communication IQ.”

Learn more at www.communication-research.org.

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