16 Ways to Become the Communicator You Were Meant to Be

16 Ways to Become the Communicator You Were Meant to Be

Surrounded by more than 1,400+ communication professionals representing 40 countries from across the globe, the feelings of strength and inspiration were palpable.

Informing, motivating and feeding the desire to be the communication professionals we were meant to be was part of nearly every activity at June’s 2019 IABC World Conference in Vancouver, B.C.

You couldn’t help but feel energized about our profession and more connected to like-minded peers. I know I did. Imagine being in a room where everyone shared a similar mission, experience and professional passion. This extrovert was energized.

Growing your voice and maximizing your impact as a communication professional seemed the predominant and unspoken objectives of the conference. Every attendee made forward progress in some way on these objectives. The caliber of the speakers, the strength of their content and the quality of the conversations throughout the conference made it a remarkable and inspiring multi-day event.

Maintaining the same energy and drive to improve our practice as communicators and elevate the role in the organizations we serve requires specific intention. Whether or not you were there in person, the positive momentum established in Vancouver can certainly fuel our effort and give us a boost.

Becoming the communicators we were meant to be, however, means moving forward with purpose
– being a catalyst.

Becoming the communicators we were meant to be, however, means moving forward with purpose – being a catalyst. The very first edition of IABC’s Catalyst magazine recently arrived in my mailbox. In it, IABC Director of Content & Education Natasha Nicholson offers the following definition of a catalyst – “an agent that provides or speeds significant change or action.” 

“When we think about the role that you as a communication professional play in your organization and in the global business community, that’s what we see,” she explained in the preface of the new magazine.

I couldn’t agree more. But I think communicators need to look inward first and be intentional about our personal commitment to strengthen our voice. We need to be catalysts of our own professional development – constantly improving our individual ability to listen and learn. We need to be purposeful in how we plan our work, measure our success and invest in our careers.

Inspired by the energy and passion of the 1,400+ communicators at IABC conference, I offer you my own visual summary, capturing 16 ways one can choose to move forward. It’s by no means exhaustive. 

Whether putting out fires or moving from one project to the next, I didn’t take time to be an intentional catalyst. It was easy to lose sight of these important tasks.

What I’ve learned is that these strategies require both intention and attention. That’s what being a catalyst is all about. So, I’m working on it.  For starters, here are some things that I’m going to be deliberate about as I move forward:

Support – My own “100 Communicator Conversations Project”

On the first day of the World Conference in Vancouver I launched “100 Communicator Conversations Project,” my own project to help others move forward in their careers as communications professionals. Admittedly, while I may not have all the answers, I’m hoping that some of the lessons I’ve learned over my 29-year career can be put to good use. And if I don’t know, I’m thinking I’ll likely be able to connect communicators with resources or other colleagues who can. 

Twenty-five conversations and counting. My question: Who will be communicator number 26? You can join the conversation here and read more background about this project here. In short, let’s talk.

Advocate & Inspire a Movement – Activating Our Community 

I invite you to join me in activating a community of fellow communicators who are not only resolute in helping others move forward but ready and able to create discussion, share ideas and offer support to those who need a ready helping hand from a peer.

You can join me in sharing additional ideas and insights. For now, I invite you to offer practical suggestions and tips that can help other communicators grow their voice. Become a catalyst for others in our field. I'm energized by conversations about how communicators make a critical difference in the organizations they serve. Perhaps the steps you have taken can help others move forward. Join me. Join the conversation in the comments below or go here.

Teach & Coach – Communication Plan Blueprint

Growing your skills can be a challenge, especially when you work in a smaller organization or have a leader who isn’t experienced in your professional discipline. This is why I created my online course, Communication Plan Blueprint, and why I am a part-time instructor at the University of Washington. 

At this point in my career, I want to create the resources and support that I wish were available to me earlier in my journey. Struggle is unnecessary. Working in isolation without support is not an advantageous path. By teaching and coaching, I hope to travel side-by-side communicators who need a guide and want to move forward stronger.

Now I want to be more intentional about it.

The World Conference inspired me to expand my course with additional resources and content. The conference also affirmed my desire to formalize my coaching services and team training offerings. If you’re interested in coaching support or have a team that needs a communication planning refresher, let’s connect

My question: How can I help you or someone you may know?

Listen, Learn & Connect – Yes, with You

As you move forward, let’s take time to connect with each other. I’m so incredibly grateful for every person who has helped me on my professional journey. They have many titles – colleague, neighbor, manager, leader, coach, advisor and peer.  And while this has been true of every conference I’ve attended, there’s another title well worth adding to the list – friend.

IABC has connected me with peers from around the world – all share a passion for discovering who we are as communicators. We can learn a lot from each other when we truly listen and connect.

So, today, I’m announcing a series of articles touching each of the 16 ways to move forward outlined in my “Grow Your Voice” infographic. I want this to be a team process, because our collective experience is rich. Your ideas, input and questions matter. What I know for sure is that together we are much better. Each of us has experienced success and has nuggets of information and advice to share. I invite your active participation in this series. Together, we can help each other move forward.

It’s time to become the communicators we were meant to be. Let’s do that together, one conversation at a time.