Burson Marsteller CEO Mark Penn hits the nail on the head when comparing King George the VI’s speech therapist Lionel Logue (as portrayed by Geoffrey Rush in the Oscar-winning movie “The King’s Speech”) with advising a CEO. http://bit.ly/eSgAk4.
Success in PR and/or communications training, Penn says, is all about a special relationship that is based on “trust, respect, a proven process, evidence-based advice and confidence.” Penn goes on to say, “These are the same essential elements of advising a CEO….Lionel teaches the King a few lessons in humility and self-respect. However, he also teaches all of us who get a chance to advise influential people just how to form that special relationship.”
The point strikes at the heart of our business at CommCore as communications consultants. Often we face senior executive clients who, like King George to Lionel, say they don’t need to do a deep dive into someone else’s process. But if all we do is “train” our clients in the basic techniques of communications, are we truly serving their best interests?
As Penn notes, “Accomplished people don’t need advice in all parts of their life – but often they can use help in one or two critical areas that are holding them back or have become problematic.” Most CEOs will only seek out that help if they form a bond with someone who will demand and get their attention, insist on proper process, and command mutual respect.
At CommCore we always counsel our senior executive clients of the importance of building strong relationships with their audience, be it the media, stakeholders or the public. Based on our experience, we also know that good communications or PR consultants have to communicate with their clients first before reaching a point of trust. Only then they can effectively teach their senior executive clients how to better communicate with others.
What has your experience been bonding with your C-level communications or PR clients?