How to Use This Book
This book is the first in a series of workbooks and handbooks for small businesses, nonprofits, and startups…in fact, anyone looking to improve their communications/PR skills. Practically, it is for those who need to communicate about services, products, and overall business but don’t have the resources to engage a highly experienced professional to undertake the work. We encourage you to use and reuse this book. In short, wear it out. You’ll probably find it easiest to read it through from beginning to end, and then to go back and complete the exercises once you “get it.” Of course, everyone will use the information differently; different tasks will be more important depending on where your organization is in its development. Here's the way we think it’s most useful:
- Take your time
The amount of work that goes into crafting an effective business message will probably surprise you if you don’t “live” business communication. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and people new to these activities can be overwhelmed when trying to do it all at once. So:
Stop after every chapter
Review what we’re discussing
Think through your responses
Let it all settle in and then re-read it, noting how the second time through it may come together differently.
- Think of it as training
This book was developed as more of a workbook than theory or a body of information to be intellectualized. You’ll notice there are lots of questions and places to reflect or practice. The concepts don’t just sit there as new information to be committed to memory, they encourage action. Read. Reflect. Then do.
- Refresh what you know
Your organization has likely gone through messaging exercises already, maybe with some good results. That’s where the “elevator pitch” you use now came from, so you’ve probably already embraced the goal. But how long has it been since you aligned your organization’s key messages with a clear, compelling 2-sentence description? Think of this as your chance to rethink and refi ne, to retool and keep sharp. Messaging needs to stay fresh.
- It’s a team effort
Participation. Contribution. Buy-in. Founders, directors, and key organizational thought leaders need to be involved. The leadership team will usually identify one communications lead, but they must have a hand in the messaging if the results are to have any chops. While an individual might be responsible for this project, it will take insights from many to achieve solid messaging.