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Opinion: A guide to comms villains

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Opinion: A guide to comms villains

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

Opinion: A guide to comms villains Opinion: A guide to comms villains

Ahead of the Comms Heroes event in Manchester on May 13, journalist and blogger Mike Underwood asks - what does a comms villain look like?

Manchester is set to host what promises to be a very interesting gathering of communications professionals on May 13.

Heroes from across the sectors will assemble for a day of sharing and learning with the hope of spreading new superpowers to better arm folk with the skills to tackle the dark forces of comms villains.

But what exactly does a comms villain look like? Just for fun, I’ve compiled a list of narky nemeses who deliberately or accidentally thwart good comms:

The Lex Luthor: usually a control-hungry power-monger who does what pleases them and ignores heroic and sound comms advice

The Riddler: someone who tells you do something but can’t explain why they want it or how they think their customers might want to receive it, leaving you to solve the riddle yourself.

A possible conversation with The Riddler may go something like this:

The Riddler: I want <insert subject> going on the website.

Comms Hero: Why certainly valued colleague. Where do you think it needs to go? Who is your audience?

The Riddler: I dunno. Everyone needs to see it.

Comms Hero: Ok, we could put a banner on the front page of our website. But you might want to think about doing a bit more to promote it such as media releases, social media, an article in our residents’ magazine and perhaps speaking directly to ….

The Riddler: No. Just bang it on the website. You’re comms. You sort it.

Comms Hero: * Scratches head *

The Joker: The Joker is someone who asks for your help, ignores it, then asks for more help, then ignores most of your advice, asks you to produce some work based on your advice only to then not use the work you have produced. The only reason they could possibly have you running around in circles like this is to have a laugh at your expense. Hence, the Joker.

The Agent Smith: This can basically refer to any technology that stands in the way of you doing your job more efficiently … or even at all. For example, when you try to look at a really helpful website that could help you improve your work and you get an “Access Denied by your server” message, that’s Agent Smith at work.

When you want a colleague to see a video clip that may assist them or a blog which could provide valuable insight and they respond with: “Computer won’t let me do that.” That’s Agent Smith at work.

When your laptop / device / PC doesn’t work properly and you call for assistance to be told: “Switch it off and on again.” That’s Agent Smith at work.

I could go on…

The Invisible Man: This is someone who fails to answer any type of communication. At all. Ever.

Example could be that you have received a media enquiry on a deadline and need a swift response. You phone The Invisible Man and leave a message. You text, email, tweet and even physically go to their area of work (where applicable). Deadline passes … comms villain wins.

The Dementor: Perhaps the most fearsome of the comms villains. The Dementor is a soulless creature who sucks out any positive emotion or thought you have and leaves you feeling downtrodden and beaten. The very presence of a Dementor makes the surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark.

The Dementor comes in so many different forms that you can’t spot them until you proactively present an idea, usually in front of a group. You’ve come up with some exciting, innovative new ideas with an eye-catching brand and engaging promo opportunities and you present it with enthusiasm … then the Dementor strikes.

They sense the fun and the potential for something new and interesting and then start to pick holes in it, dismantling your every tactic and unravelling your perfectly sound strategy. They say they just ‘don’t get it’ and that it ‘won’t work’ and then spread their negativity to others …

Do you know any more comms villain-types? I’d love to hear from you and compile the definitive list of our baddies and perhaps some antidotes to defeating them once and for all.

To be continued…

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