In today’s rapidly evolving business climate, leaders in nearly every industry are compelled to think more creatively, broaden their horizons, strengthen their aptitude for adaptability, and explore all possibilities. This can leave even the savviest communications pros asking themselves: How can we think differently? How can we exude gravitas and energy in client meetings? How can we continue to stay ahead of the curve so when clients are ready to transform, we already have a head start?

The answer lies in adopting a strategic, growth mindset. This ensures your business is poised to pivot to late-breaking disruption, design strategies that stick and fuel innovation. If your strategic thinking muscles could use a reboot, consider these seven critical steps success:

  1. Isolate the problem before solidifying the solution. Is it a business or communications problem (or both)? Has the impetus of the problem shifted over time or remained constant? Can PR remedy the issue or do fundamental changes need to take place before we can effectively reach a resolution?
  2. Get curious. Assumptions can be dangerous, so make it a habit to always ask: “why?” Simple questions can lead to big breakthroughs. Challenge the facts. Read between the lines, and explore and question every perspective.
  3. Crystallize the desired outcome and consider the potential (unintended) consequences. Exhaust all the “what if” and cause and effect scenarios. Identify and thoroughly comprehend the tradeoffs of pursuing one approach versus another.
  4. Draw on historical data for inspiration. While history doesn’t always repeat itself, it can often provide context and teach us a valuable lesson. Can you analyze similar situations and extrapolate data-driven insights to help determine the best path forward?
  5. Think big picture. Are there societal, political, economic, industry or business events and trends that could impact the problem or solution? Consider the public’s perception, competitive landscape and broader context behind your objectives.
  6. Anticipate how audiences will respond. Do they have the information and insights they need to inspire allegiance, spark intrigue and incite action? Identify your audience’s predictable and preferred behaviors, patterns and routines. Discern the appropriate channels to effectively reach these audiences and exceed your objectives.
  7. Determine how you’ll calibrate the effectiveness of your strategy. Clearly articulate and set realistic expectations. Be up front about what you can deliver – and what you can’t. Discuss how you and your teams can work together to achieve the best possible outcomes. Build in the methodologies you’ll need to measure your activity against those objectives. And make micro-adjustments along the way to ensure success.

From there, delivery is key! After all, new business prospects are inspired and influenced by ideas, people and trust. So, in any presentation or discussion, it’s imperative to be intentional and what you say and how you say it.

  • Bring the Energy. Get excited, have passion and show it. Your enthusiasm and energy will shine through in your voice.
  • Tell Stories. Humans are hardwired for connection. And the secret to emotional connection is through powerful storytelling. Allow people to look under the hood and behind the scenes on the inner workings of your business, and illustrate your unique expertise. Share personal experiences and case studies that convey how you’ve done this work before. How does that translate to a unique value only you, and your business, have to offer? Communicate the moments, the events, the challenges, and the thinking behind what you do, and people will feel more inclined to do business with you.
  • Think in Terms of Soundbites. Keep your recommendations tight and focused on what people will get. Identify the three key points you need to land before walking out of the room (or wrapping a virtual meeting).

Equipped with this intelligence, you can isolate, craft, customize and deliver a strategy that builds credibility, distinction and trust.