Ten years ago when I started my first company, it began as a training consultancy firm. We wrote, designed and delivered soft skills employee development programs for our clients. It could be anything ranging from customer service to performance evaluation feedback. Then, that grew into requests to write management programs. I don't mean management training, which we were already doing. I mean management infrastructure programs. This entailed us writing, designing and delivering such things as employee handbooks, company policies, dress codes, training manuals, job descriptions, performance evaluation programs and organizational diagrams and charts. Soon thereafter, we were being asked to write brand stories, marketing presentations and website copy. Finally, that work expanded into naming, writing packaging copy and advertorials, creating a cosmetic line, and writing and designing marketing brochures, which in turn morphed into investor presentations, video scripts and coaching for clients on QVC and HSN. Then I wrote a book about difficult interpersonal communications in the workplace and found myself using and applying all of the same principles we had relied on to create everything else. Suddenly, after having moved across the entire front end of business as we know it, (and then some) -- from training to management to marketing to sales -- we saw firsthand that in the end, it really is all the same.
We learned through a surprisingly organic process that there is a critical relationship between management, marketing and training, which is key to creating cohesion across the front end of a business, and which then in turn determines the strength of the force behind sales. Think about it, everyone and every department in an organization have to produce something. Like products in the external marketplace, internal products require similar kinds of strategies in order for them to thrive in their respective environments. When linked together with the same practice, approach and development, brands and companies enjoy more consistency, are better fortified from the inside-out and carry a stronger, more resounding message directly to the customer/consumer.
Looking back, it seems so simple -- and obvious. Management, marketing, training and sales are essentially the same because they all share the same basic needs. There is an audience to be won and there is a customer to serve or sell whether on the inside or the outside of an organization. So, regardless of actual function, the point is that to be effective in one is to be effective in all, and it boils down to a factor of understanding communication, strategy and design. It doesn't matter where one "sits" within an organization, it matters that he/she knows how to get his/her thoughts and ideas across effectively.
So, whether you are an HR professional who wants to better align yourself with the business by being a "front-line" thinker, a manager who wants to improve your personal and professional effectiveness, a business owner who needs DIY strategies in the absence of a management structure and functional teams, or an employee who wants to advance your careers/skills and demonstrate your understanding of customers, sales and marketing, train yourself to follow these three simple points.
1) Position/identify/distill: This is where you create the focal point against which you tie everything together to ensure that clarity, consistency and continuity are embedded in whatever follows. The key here is that you must know what you are trying to say and be able to whittle it down to as few words as possible.
2) Organize/engineer/structure: This is where you organize and arrange elements of your story, work or project strategically to create flow, logic and order to ensure that people are not lost in your message. One way to make sure that you stay on track is to start at the end with your focal point and work backward as you fill in the details.
3) Package/present/deliver: This is about aesthetics and making whatever you create attractive and appealing so that people will be drawn toward it and not pushed away due to visual confusion. My advice here is to find someone to help with design if it does not come naturally. It cannot be separated from content, which is one of the biggest mistakes we see people and businesses make.
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