Both my parents were communicators—my mother a novelist, my dad an ad man-turned-essayist. I’m a journalist and I’ve covered (and consulted on) corporate communication my entire career.
So you don’t have to sell me on the importance of writing and communication. But you do have to sell management. And so do I.
Yet I’m somewhat ashamed to say that after all these years of advocating for communicators (they’re my species!), the following scenario is still a bad dream: I’m at a cocktail party and and I meet a CEO and he says his corporate communication director is demanding access to senior management meetings and a raise and he asks: "Now really: What the hell does she know that I and the rest of my senior leadership doesn’t?"
I’m not sure what I’d say. I can’t very well say, "You and your senior leaders are probably out of touch with all your key constituencies." I can’t say, "All you boys care about are the numbers. You need a liberal arts major on the team!" And I’ll be damned if I’ll say with a straight face, "Haven’t you read the Watson-Wyatt study that shows employee communication excellence leads to a higher share price?"
I’m afraid I’d hem and haw (just as the CEO expected) thereby killing our communication director’s chances at that management access and raise we all know in our hearts—but do we truly believe it in our heads?—she richly deserves.
Readers, do you have an elevator speech for communicators? Let’s hear it.