Why do so many people suck at communications?

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…”

Who doesn’t remember that famous line from Cool Hand Luke?

It’s one of those iconic, ironic phrases that uses few words to convey so much. And it resonates with those of us who work in PR, content marketing and social media.

You wonder why, with all our business savvy and skills, so many people and organizations are just plain awful at telling their stories. Aren’t there enough cases, books and training modules out there to help us do a better job? 

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In praise of bad ideas, not bad judgment

We’ve all heard the expression: there are no bad ideas.

And you know something? That is just. not. true.

There are some awful ideas out there. Real stinkers. But many times absolutely ridiculous-sounding, bottom of the barrel sludge can become the creative equivalent of a vaccine – a moldy concept that sparks a creative cure. 

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Supercharged storytelling for startups at SXSWV2V: 10 ways to get started

These days it’s not enough to be in the news, you need to create, produce and share it. And in order to do that you need to think like a newsroom and amplify stories via social and digital channels.

We live in a world with an overabundance. So how can you break through? That was the subject of my workshop at SXSWV2V.

Here are 10 tips to get started: 

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How to think like a newsroom and a producer at SXSWV2V

Here’s how it used to happen: You created a business and wanted to shout that to the world. Or maybe you had big product launch or some important company news. You wanted to get the word out there and generate some of that elusive buzz.

So you called a PR agency or publicist and they invariably said, “Let’s do a news release. That’ll get you noticed!”

And more often than not, that’s how thing went.

I’m oversimplifying, of course. If you were working with someone reputable and smart, there was a strategy and carefully targeted outreach based on longstanding relationships and an understanding of what the media was looking for.

But things have changed. 

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Social Media Barometer at the IABC World Conference

Earlier in the month, I had the opportunity to present my Social Media Barometer to a roomful of communicators at the IABC World Conference, an event with a truly international flavour and smart people from around the globe. And I’d like to thank Zora Artis, who managed the marketing stream, for being such a good host (and for the photo in this post).

I’ve presented versions of this talk a number of times before and each one is a little different than the other because, as we all know, we’re in the midst of a vast transformation to the way we discover and share news, information and interests. And to the way we connect.

And who knows where we are in the change continuum – beginning, middle or end?

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COPYRIGHT 2015 - MARTIN WAXMAN COMMUNICATIONS. DESIGNED BY A NERD'S WORLD. Slider photo by Darryl Ginwright.