InsightsPOSTED March 16, 2015

A trusted advisor defines the problem

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For March, the APEX team is exploring the best communication advice ever.

When I made the jump from politics to the private sector, a good friend who had previously spent a number of years working in PR said

“The most important thing you can do as a public relations consultant is to become a trusted advisor.  A lot of PR practitioners think their clients expect and want them to have all the answers, but the worst thing you can do is assume or act like you have all the answers.”

A true trusted advisor must listen and ask questions…a lot of questions. As David Maister says in his Book The Trusted Advisor:

“More value is added through problem definition than through problem answer.”

As PR practitioners working in professional services, it is critical that we invest a substantial amount of time in understanding our clients’ industries and what makes their organizations unique.

Only when we truly understand and are deeply knowledgeable about their business, can we be as effective as possible in proactively identifying and anticipating needs, wants, challenges and opportunities.

As consultants and PR practitioners we are guided, motivated and fulfilled when we are integrated as trusted advisors – because at the end of the day, we care as much about the success of our clients and their business as they do.

Melissa Cable-Cibula is an account director at APEX. What communication advice do you have? Let us know here or on Twitter. Also check out what others said.