Backstage Communications


Prepping and priming and painting, oh my!

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.

- Alexander Graham Bell

I really hate it when a blogger stops creating new content for awhile, then comes back and apologizes, offering excuses about why he or she has been offline. As a reader, that can be annoying. But, as a blogger, I understand – sometimes you need a breather. I haven’t even been blogging long enough to need a breather, but here’s my excuse for you – I was moving! Hubby and I bought our first home, and moved in this past weekend.

In the midst of boxes, packing paper, paint cans and bleach, I started thinking about communications. Which can be a scary thing, especially when it’s late and I’m feeling a bit delirious.

The truth is, I’m getting sick of painting. I mean, you would think that being able to paint your own home would be fun! And it is…for the first room. But the catch is that I wanted to do it right. And to paint a room the right way requires a LOT of preparation. The painting itself is actually minimal compared to the amount of prep work. To do it right, one must:

  • Fill in cracks and holes with putty (let it dry)
  • Sand down any rough spots
  • Wipe down the entire room with soap and water (let it dry)
  • Tape every nook and cranny
  • Cover the flooring with drop cloths
  • Tape down drop cloths
  • Prime the walls (let it dry)
  • Paint the first coat (let it dry)
  • Paint the second coat
  • Pull off the tape
  • Let it dry
  • Tape again – this time for the trim
  • Paint the first coat (let it dry)
  • Paint the second coat
  • Remove the tape
  • Touch-up any mistakes

It’s a ton of work. But, at the end of the day, I can tell which rooms have been prepped, and which ones haven’t. And, those walls aren’t going to be painted again for a long time. So, any mistakes will be there, day after day, for me to look at and wish I had prepped them correctly.

Obviously, the tie-in here is pretty easy to spot. “Preparation is key” is a tired phrase, but I think in communications it’s especially important to consider. Like paint on your walls, what you say, write or communicate will have a lasting effect. You want that feeling to be a positive one, don’t you? When considering how you will communicate, remember to properly prepare.

A few examples:

Prepare for interviews – Communicating with the media can be a wonderful opportunity to spread word about your business or organization. Reporters frequently have short deadlines, so be proactive about media training or preparing ahead of time. Don’t get tongue-tied just because you are going to be on TV – make a lasting impression.

Prepare for disasters – businesses frequently end up spending a ton of money to clean up messes. I don’t have to name the most obvious example right now. Before a crisis hits, make sure you have communications plan and a team ready for anything. While no one can predict the future, the benefit of preparation certainly outweighs the cost.

Prepare for tomorrow - Twitter will not always be as popular as it is today. Each year will bring new technologies and new avenues for communication. Don’t get overwhelmed. If you prepare your messages ahead of time, you can spend more time keeping up with the latest trends and less time figuring out what to say!

And, after all that preparation, remember: sometimes, you just need to take a break.

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