Good communicators should spend most of their time feeling dissatisfied

October 31, 2009

Communication campaigns tend to have very ambitious objectives, usually involving a major shift in opinion or behaviour amongst a set of people – often a very large and diverse one at that. Success takes a long time and a lot of perseverance, you need to be smart, analytical and on the ball, you might need to partner with the right people and pray they don’t screw things up for you, your timing should be spot on, and you must have your share of good fortune.

That’s where the dissatisfaction comes in. You spend ages understanding the issues and the players involved, how they intertwine and how you might craft stories that people respond to, and ultimately executing your strategy. Bit by bit. Yet most of the bits along the way can seem like a waste of time because you know how many it’ll take to cause the seismic shifts you’re looking for.

Is that what you’re feeling? Good sign. Why? Because you’re not losing site of the bigger picture. Ticking a box doesn’t really satisfy you, only winning your campaign will. Weak communicators often think each piece of output, or a nod and a wink from the boss, are results in themselves. Not so, and these sort of communicators will often lose sight of the big picture, produce disjointed output, and will most likely have a failed campaign on their conscience come the end. Good communicators know that reaching their objectives (if not all, at least most…) constitutes real success, nothing else.

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