Most communicators would agree that communication is a mix of solid craftsmanship and creativity. Writing a press release, a feature or a news item, drafting a compelling presentation, organizing engaging events are just some examples of the basics we need to master. A shot of creativity then elevates the deliverables above mediocrity.
However, there is an added ingredient that many people who work in technical areas miss. A good communicator is able to walk in the shoes of his or her stakeholders and truly understands their needs, perceptions and concerns. It sounds quite easy, but in my experience it is a fundamental skill and one that is very valuable to the profession.
How can we train this skill? To surround ourselves or employ only people who are like us definitely does not help. It is difficult to say how we can train understand differing perspectives, but one thing is clear, reading “real books” (not internet blurbs) is very helpful as it allows us to get to know so many different characters that we rarely meet in our private or business life.