What matters … Why matters more…

Do I have something useful to add to the conversation on measurement in PR? This question confronted me when I was invited to speak at the International AMEC Summit last week. What can I say that has not been said before? What would be of use to a practitioner who is attending? The answer came from the most unexpected quarters. Nikhil the Coach found that he could help Nikhil the Communicator and at the fractal fringes of these two wonderful professions, I found something interesting.

What did I find? Well it was pretty simple really. Nikhil the Coach spent hours helping clients get clarity about their core purpose, their dreams and their goals and then helped them find a way to get there. Nikhil the Communicator did pretty much the same, but there was one big difference. As a Coach he felt it was his job to help the client identify clear measurable goals. As a Communicator he wanted them to be handed to him on a platter. Why was I showing up differently when it came to helping clients identify meaningful goals? This is the first of the seven Barcelona principles. “Setting goals is an absolute prerequisite to communications planning, measurement, and evaluation.”

This became the core idea around which I developed my talk “The WHY Matters” for the AMEC Summit. Our job as PR practitioners is to be able to identify what matters to the organisation we represent. Then get to the heart of it – what matters the most. Then go deeper, find out ‘Why’ it matters. Only then can we find the most appropriate tools to help communicate and measure progress.

If I get frustrated with stakeholders who don’t know what they want or at least are unable to articulate it clearly to me, I am the loser. Part of the job of a PR practitioner especially in the diagnostic and design stage of getting a brief and arriving at objectives is to ask powerful questions and really understand what matters to the organisation. What is really going on. And then in context of that understand what the organisation wants and expects out of PR. A coaching conversation clearly illustrates how easy it is to go after a less impactful objective and goal.

The problem of proxy problems. Time Management Vs. Career Management. What is the Goal?

Measure expectations first. Measure what is really going on. Measure where PR fits in. Measure the internal stakeholders needs and wants. Making headway into what matters requires us to get to the heart of the situation. What’s going on inside ?

Five things we can do as communicators to make measurement work better.

  1. Ask powerful questions (‘What’ questions are powerful – They are non-judgmental)
  2. Present possibilities. Paint a picture. (Showcase and celebrate success – not of the tools of measurement, but in the clarity of objective setting)
  3. Change our own minds about the canvas of measurement. (It is our privilege to help set SMART Goals, this is something we must get really good at)
  4. Create and hold space to co-create. (Workshops where we work to define objectives and goals together with teams)
  5. Focus on helping the client succeed – that is the smart move. Not showing them how smart we are at measuring.

So, ask yourself… hAVE you identified what really matters most? If not, you are most likely going to hAVE unclear objectives thrust down your throat.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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