Media interviews are often seen as high-risk encounters. If the subject matter is contentious, they can make or break a senior person’s career. Indeed, a “media ambush” has been known to turn even an apparently benign product launch interview into an inquisition.
Many interviewees feel they are powerless in the face of hostile, probing interviewing, but this need not be the case. There are proven strategies and techniques which can enable interviewees to retain control and convey their key messages, without seeming evasive or untrustworthy.
We have trained many senior personnel, across a wide range of organisations and situations to operate successfully in this arena, despite their initial concerns.
Presentation & Speech Training
People invited to give speeches or make presentations are usually masters of their subject matter. But knowing about something and the ability to communicate it in a compelling, engaging and memorable fashion are entirely different things.
We have all sat through incomprehensible presentations or endless speeches whose “best by” date was passed a long time ago.
At 385 Consulting, we work with highly knowledgeable people on how to analyse their audience needs, the structure and content of their material and techniques to ensure their delivery is a memorable enhancement to their reputation.
Every organisation has its issues, most of which are ordinary, everyday problems.
But sometimes the issue becomes increasingly important, potentially expensive, complex, involving a variety of external stakeholders (with increased power to help or frustrate your objectives) or on unfamiliar territory.
Much of our work involves helping clients navigate their way through such turbulent, opaque waters. See our Client Stories section for examples of the work we have done to help organisations successfully manage such situations.
It has been said that destruction can come like thunderbolts, moths or rust. An organization can find itself in trouble for a number of reasons: some sudden (thunderbolts), some gradual and externally driven (moths) and some emerging from inside (rust).
Regardless of the nature and the cause, the way in which crises are handled will determine whether both individuals and organisations emerge enhanced or damaged.
Under the pressure of events, most organisations’ instincts take them into directions which make the situation worse and inflict unnecessary damage. Our extensive experience with crises across a number of sectors and widely varied situations has established a track record of calm and wise counsel in the midst of the storm.
Some consultancies will develop strategies for their clients, but not involve themselves in their implementation. 385 Consulting is able to assist with strategy development and implementation to whatever level is required by a client.
Whether a client needs a full suite of services, or just support to fill a small number of gaps in expertise, our network of associates enables us to deploy people at whatever levels and in whatever disciplines a client needs to ensure successful implementation.
Government & Regulatory Relations
In previous decades, many government relations consultancies would sell themselves on their connections with politicians, feeding on the misconception that all that was needed was a conversation with the right Minister.
If that was ever sufficient, it certainly isn’t now. As societal and technological change has sped up and power has shifted from specific politicians to broader bureaucracies and from institutions to networks, so it has become important to work with officials, as well as politicians and to construct our own, supportive networks in order to achieve political or regulatory objectives.
Most organisations are the centres of their own worlds and lack the external perspective needed to successfully approach the media when seeking favourable coverage.
Through our network of associates, we have excellent relationships with journalists in all key media sectors, together with a keen understanding of their agendas and how to frame organisations’ narratives in ways that will be of interest to relevant outlets.
Our external perspective means we are also well placed to anticipate how stories or interviews might develop in both positive and negative ways and can help you prepare accordingly.
The significance and appropriate strategic use of social media can be hard to gauge for those who are insufficiently familiar with the technologies involved.
At 385 Consulting, we have been involved since 1992 in various ways with the growth and strategic usage of the Internet, not least the ways which technologies such as social media can be used or abused to create powerful networks.
We are therefore well equipped to advise organisations on whether and how they should make use of these technologies.
Stakeholders are groups with the motivation and ability to help or hinder the achievement of your objectives. As the Internet has shifted power from institutions to networks, so the ability of these stakeholders to impact your organisation has increased dramatically. As a result, traditional ways of relating to stakeholders are not only decreasingly effective – they are increasingly damaging.
Successfully handling relationships with stakeholders – local community groups, indigenous peoples, investment activists, NGO campaigners, and so on – depends on an understanding of the new power dynamics at play, together with proven strategies and tactics for successful operation in this new, complex ecosystem.
At 385 Consulting, we have a track record of strategy formulation and tactical implementation to help organisations navigate successfully and operate in this increasingly challenging environment.
Recent years have seen significant changes in the relationships between indigenous communities and those around them in terms of awareness, legal rights and expectations.
But despite this rising power of indigenous peoples, approaches by corporate and government bodies to these relationships have not always been appropriate, nor kept pace with these changes, not least in the light of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We have significant experience in the building of mutually beneficial relationships between indigenous peoples and their external stakeholders.
Internal Communications & Culture Change
The importance of communications with employees is often underrated. This is not simply a village noticeboard. Strategic and well-executed internal communications can drive internal culture change; can transform morale and results; can equip an organization’s employees to be its most credible ambassadors, while providing important feedback to executive teams, ensuring that they are not cut off from those they are leading.
We have extensive experience in designing and executing internal communications strategies and programs which have achieved all these objectives and created great value for our clients.
Environmental, Social and Governance reporting is neither a passing fad, nor should it be a simple box-checking exercise.
There are several reasons for addressing this aspect of your policies and performance:
- organizations that get into trouble have often neglected to think through this part of their operations;
- investors are increasingly aware of this and seek increasing transparency on this from potential investments;
- prospective employees – particularly younger and higher-educated ones – increasingly want to work for companies that have taken this seriously and see this as a legitimate part of their performance metrics.
At 385 Consulting, we have decades of experience of working with this aspect of organizations’ policies and performance, particularly with an emphasis on ensuring that, while addressing these issues, they are used to provide competitive advantage and /or improved execution for our clients.