Whew! Just finished facilitating the keynote session (“How to become a rock star communicator) at the IABC Heritage Conference. As is always the case when I attend IABC events, I was impressed with the passion, sophistication, experience and intelligence of communicators in attendance. You rock!

The premise of my session was that all of us have what it takes to be rock star communicators—we just need to unleash our inner divas.

Of course, this isn’t about inserting riders in our contract specifying no green M&Ms; it’s about getting the respect and recognition we deserve for the great work we do.

How do we accomplish that? Here was just some of the smart advice that we discussed at the interactive session:

  • Channel the characteristics that make (real) rock stars fabulous: Confidence. Passion. Talent. Good PR (for ourselves). Great hair (!)
  • Use evidence to make your case. One valuable tool: demographics that demonstrate the preferences and needs of your audience.

  • Share best practices from organizations your clients admire—or that have worked within your organization.
  • Change the conversation from tactical to strategic. When a client says, “I want a video,” ask why he/she thinks that tactic would be effective. Explore other options.

  • Focus on outcomes. What does the client need to accomplish? How will communication support his/her objectives?
  • Be calm. Leaders and others in organizations are risk-averse; they have anxiety about what can go wrong. Show how your proposed solution can minimize risk and lead to positive results.

  • Measure results—and bring those metrics to demonstrate your value and make your case for future recommendations.


Do you have other suggestions on how to be a rock star communicator? I’d love to hear from you.

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