October 07, 2009 09:01 ET

Wanted: Communicator Who Can Forge Strategic Relationships

Poll reveals top skills needed to be an effective, value-adding communicator

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2009) - In a recent poll on Melcrum's Internal Communication Black Belt Program website, "building effective relationships" was ranked as the number one skill internal communicators need to master in order to be most effective in their roles.

"Coaching and consulting" and "measurement and evaluation" were ranked second and third respectively, with "writing and editing" being the least important skill yet to master, according to 135 internal communicators from around the world.

Adding value to business
When asked "How can you best add value to your business as an internal communicator", respondents ranked "Understanding the organizational priorities and focusing on how the organization can achieve them" much higher than helping managers be better communicators.

"Understanding the organizational priorities and focusing on how the organization can achieve them is an area we cover in detail on the Black Belt course," explains Sally Hinder, Black Belt trainer.

"In 2008, Melcrum and The Company Agency published a report (21st Century Leadership Communication) featuring interviews with 28 CEOs and senior leaders to understand what they needed from internal communicators. Their number one priority was to make sure employees understand the company strategy and what they need to do to deliver it. So in our profession we need to demonstrate that we understand the issues being faced and the business outcomes that are needed. On Black Belt we ask the question – 'what difference are you actually making to your organization?' so delegates can start to think about how they can really add value," she says.

Coaching senior leaders and providing the best internal communication channels were the least important value-adding techniques, according to communicators who took the poll.

"It was interesting to see that this was ranked the least important. Choosing channels and tactics comes much further along in the planning process, but I would argue that we shouldn't underestimate the importance of having strong channels that people want to read or listen to," says Hinder.

Improving your influence
Finally the poll asked communicators how they think they can best improve their credibility or influence within the organization. Top of the list came "Listening and asking questions to understand where you should focus your efforts to help meet business needs".

About Melcrum
Melcrum is a privately held research and training business, committed to supporting senior-level communicators achieve the rewards and recognition they deserve.

About The Internal Communication Black Belt Program
Black Belt is Melcrum's internationally renowned professional development program which has come to be regarded as the industry's gold standard. Designed with senior communicators in mind and packed with the latest research, best practice and case studies, this intensive program equips attendees' with the ability to make a real, measurable difference to the bottom line.

Forthcoming Black Belt dates:
October 20 - 22, 2009
Ryerson University Center, Toronto, ON

November 2 - 4, 2009
Marriott Inn and Conference Center at University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Contact Information