Developing and destroying relationships


In my Communications World Magazine column last month, I promised to tell you about developing and destroying business partner relationships. And so by reading the next few hundred words, you’ll gain 15 tips, techniques and ideas that will help you develop—and not destroy—your business relationships.

Actually, I have just used three of those techniques in the last paragraph. But before I reveal what they are, let’s take a step back and look at relationship building.

Building relationships is at the core of any business partnering activity. You can’t be a business partner without relationships. And yet it is amazing how little thought goes into the analysis of how to build and sustain relationships.

In my opinion, building relationships is about building trust and putting yourself in a position where the partnership is a true two-way affair, not an asymmetrical one. But how do you build and measure trust?

The work of people like management expert David Maister and Shaun O’Callaghan of Quartet Research suggest that trust can be measured and mapped, and that a “trust equation” can be a useful analytical tool to help you understand which of your relationships are working well and which need attention.

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How IABC membership can help students

In a globalized world where a career can be pursued anywhere, it is crucial for one to have a strong business network of like-minded professionals. As a student, starting a career in a very tough and competitive environment, connections are what sets one apart.

London is a city of opportunities but also one of competition. Finding the start to a career and building a unique network can be a tough task.

However, joining the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) as student member made all the difference for me.

Not only did I meet some potential employers, I was also given a chance to progress within the organization and build a name for myself. With hard work and determination to get recognized, IABC members elected me to be on the Board of the UK Chapter, the biggest IABC chapter outside North America.

With this experience and the connections I made as a student member of IABC, my fear of professional life (getting a job) disappeared and I was ready to step into a professional World well ahead of my fellow postgraduates.

My professional career broadened up significantly due to the connections I’ve made and I feel now that the world is my oyster.

Article written by Jovan Radakovic

New Era for Government, Media and Communication

Notes from Conference in Nicosia, Cyprus which discussed a New Era for Government, Media and Communication and was attended by the The President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades.


The President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, opened talking about the importance of communication in a democracy and that “an informed and active citizen is a better citizen”.






He was followed by the British High Commissioner, Ric Todd, talking about the role of effective government communication in public debate and discourse.

His best line: “good communication does not guarantee popularity, but bad communication guarantees unpopularity”.  This is a lesson many corporate managers can learn.

Mini-masterclasses in communication from Eleonora Gavrielides, the Director of the Cyprus Press and Information Office, and Alex Aiken, Executive Director for UK Government Communications. These expert professionals provided complementary perspectives on what it takes to deliver effective government communications. I can’t say I agreed with everything they said, but it was good to hear how governments are working hard to ensure effective communications with their key stakeholders.

Then some great additional perspectives from local and UK media, the Director of the Cyprus Media Community Centre, talking about the role of non-state actors in communication.

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What support Communication Directors need to improve high-level impact

What what support Communication Directors need to improve their high level impact

Notes from round-table discussions held at the Communication Directors’ Forum (Part 3), 8-10 October 2014, Aurora.


Stakeholder mapping

We explored the idea of stakeholder mapping, not just for campaigns but also for your career. Stakeholder mapping is basically just a resource prioritization tool so by thinking about this for your own career, you can think about how you create webs of positive influence.

There are of course many different varieties of stakeholder map: one of my favourites is to map importance on two axes:

  • How important are they to you? Who are the key people who can help you in your job?
  • How important are you to them? Where on their radar screen are you likely to fit?

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How Communication Directors can develop partnerships with the business

How to build on this organizational knowledge to give advice and counsel to senior executives, as a peer

Notes from round-table discussions held at the Communication Directors’ Forum (Part 2), 8-10 October 2014, Aurora.


The group discussions concluded true business partners seem to have three main sets of skills:

  • 1. Technical: they know their field and know that is how they add value. This is the professional core and why people typically get hired. It is also where the highest proportion of training budgets get allocated.
  • 2. Business: they know their client’s business and the environment in which they operate.
  • 3. Consulting / advisory: they are able to deliver that knowledge in a way that creates value.

We know from the group discussions that many people who aspire to be business partners are strong on the first and not the other two.

Maybe a lot of the money spent on technical training isn’t able to be turned into business benefit because it is not balanced with sufficient investment in the other two areas. Indeed, it was an almost universal theme: most participants had received technical and skills training, a few had sought to improve their business know-how, but almost no one had received training in consulting and advisory skills. In my personal opinion, there is little value in becoming an expert if you don’t have the skills to translate that into successful outputs, working with others. Read more