Tailored Communication | Caissa Public Strategy
Tailored Communication | Caissa Public Strategy

You’ve probably heard that riddle about a tree that falls in the forest… If no one is there to hear the tree fall, it doesn’t make a sound.

I think of communication the same way.

Words are always more about the receiver than the sender. How people take and interpret our communication is the meaning of it, regardless of its intention.

This comes up a lot in crisis communication, but it applies to general communication, too. Our clients often worry about whether they’re “doing it right.” …

Brian J. Stephens | Caissa Public Strategy
Brian J. Stephens | Caissa Public Strategy

People hate making mistakes. But the people around them hate when they don’t own up to it.

Personally, I’ve always felt that made the true difference between a good (i.e., reliable and effective) communicator and a bad one. Even the most trained and finessed voice will slip up now and again, and sometimes, we let our fears and emotions like anger or embarrassment get the best of us. The tendency to overreact to these mistakes — call it the fight or flight mentality of external communication — is partly due to our lizard brains. We’re primed to protect or save…

Crisis Communication | Caissa Public Strategy
Crisis Communication | Caissa Public Strategy

Think of the most careless thing you’ve ever said.

Something you wished you could take back as soon as it popped out. Once you’ve identified it, think about it for a good 30 seconds.

Seems like an eternity, doesn’t it? And that’s only inside your own head. For most of us, one of our biggest fears is our worst moment or most awful soundbite being captured and played back on loop for all to see and hear. …

For clients who want to know how best to talk to reporters, whether in the middle of a crisis or transition for their company, or even with positive news coverage for an event or a new hire, I first draw them back to the basics.

I start by asking them if they know how to talk.

It’s a brusque question, but hear me out. I guide our clients through a process called Combat the Crutch, which tackles some of the worst self-imposed barriers we place on effective communication. …

Running an Effective Meeting | Caissa Public Strategy
Running an Effective Meeting | Caissa Public Strategy

Are your company meetings an adrenaline shot, or do you dread them?

If you’re the person who runs meetings, this self-check-in will be the difference between bolstering your team’s cohesion and productivity and giving them another task that makes them feel bogged-down and overbooked.

If you’re a participant in one too many run-on meetings, you should realize that you, too, have a role to play in ensuring they are goal-oriented, effective and inclusive.

American employees spend a lot of time in meetings. The headlines about them aren’t flattering. “Stop the Meeting Madness,” blared the Harvard Business Review in 2017. “Why…

Media Relations | PR Messaging | Caissa Public Strategy
Media Relations | PR Messaging | Caissa Public Strategy

You probably won’t get to the end of this article.

In the time it took you to read that sentence, two seconds have passed. By the end of this paragraph, you’ll have lasted about as long as the current average attention span of eight seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000.

Put this way, effective and efficient communication seems like a much more daunting task, and your odds harder to scale. But you’ve read this far — with the help of a strategy you may not have known about or known how to use effectively. Let’s face it: To…

When playing strategic war games, I always tell clients: You’re fighting generations of history.

What do I mean by this? In my last post, we explored groupthink’s threat toward the functionality, effectiveness and survival of businesses. We identified what groupthink means and what signs point to it. Illusions of invulnerability that lead to undue optimism and risk taking. It’s the existence of beliefs blinding us to poor actions and their consequences. It’s rationalizing — basically a sophisticated way to say excuse-making — that prevents group members from reconsidering beliefs that might be harmful. And so on.

Groupthink is much the…

As parents and students get ready to return to school in the fall, school districts play the primary role in mitigating fears and building confidence that schools are safe and prepared. Striking the right tone in your messaging is as important as presenting consistent, factual and concise information.

Think of it this way: Parents in this situation are the consumers, and the school district is the communicator.

Consider that, according to multiple studies, the average consumer is presented with up to 10,000 ads a day. Those of us of a certain age can remember the 1970s, when the average was…

Do you know what stops people from speaking up at meetings? And when people do speak up with ideas that go against the grain, what stops all of us from pausing and considering that we may be wrong, or at least that we should take some time to consider their idea? Our dumb old lizard brain — that’s what stops us.

The lizard brain is best considered as part of our subconscious, which is designed to protect us based on eons of hereditary learning. In short, the lizard brain is designed to protect our ego and keep us safe. The…

Parents across the nation are increasingly concerned about sending their children to school in the fall. In fact, when asked how concerned they were about their children returning, 89% of parents indicated they were concerned about their child’s safety at school in relation to COVID-19. Not only are parents concerned, they are ready to make changes on behalf of their children if desired safety measures aren’t met.

Each year, Caissa Public Strategy conducts a general survey to best determine how to recruit and retain students in your district. …

Brian Stephens

CEO and co-founder of Caissa Public Strategy. Business strategist, best-selling author, attorney and public speaker.

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