Strategic communication starts with solid research and is propelled by research to test for effectiveness.
The George Washington University, which happens to be where I took my MBA, now offers a master's degree for online public relations. In describing its program, an online ad describes the "5 Commandments of Strategic PR." Number one is "Know Your Audience," which is only possible through careful listening and observation.
"Public relations in the modern era," the GW ad says, "is fast-paced, highly visible and unforgiving." Amen.
Actually the ad itself is worth posting next to your work space. "PR professionals are tasked with increasing demands and accountability: the ability to think strategically, communicate effectively and lead your organization in an intense landscape."
Whether you seek a master's degree or not, the "5 Commandments" are also worth remembering:
1. Know Your Audience — Communicate meaningfully, effectively and with purpose.
2. Become a Conduit — Facilitate real conversations and drive timely, appropriate follow-through.
3. Speak Through Actions — Be socially responsible, transparent and proactive.
4. Establish Credibility — Earn trust, maintain respect and manage your image.
5. Make It Count — Contribute real, measurable results and leverage data to plan your next move.
You can't say it any better or sweeter than that.