In English, “Comms” has long been the abbreviation for communications. In French, the term is “la Comm.” In both cases, the associated meaning is typically reduced to a rather unfortunate, if not pejorative, activity of one-way, manipulative messaging.
To the extent words structure our thoughts and titles can have a way of “leading” the discussion, why not convert the name of Director of Communications to be more in line with the intention, if the right intention is there, that is? What intention would that? Presumably to get the word out there, in a credible, congruent and convincing manner, with the right people.
A New Title?
My suggestion for a new title for the position of Director of Communications would be Conductor of Conversation.
As with any musical conductor, getting in sync is key. Rhythm, harmony, timing, emphasis, virtuosos… Many points in common with a good communication plan.
Why the Conversation?
At the very least, for those involved in Communications as it relates to the client (i.e. PR, Corporate Communications…) or even for those responsible for the Employer Brand, the notion of engaging in conversation might foster a more powerful relationship. For Investor Relations, I think the term would be lost on shareholders — even if there could be mileage in creating a long-term dialogue with shareholders!
Conversation for energy, trust and engagement
Conversation is a most natural phenomenon — albeit not the exclusivity of human beings. Conversation is one of the quintessential drivers of energy in a person. Of course, not all conversations are positive or enjoyable. However, the art of conversing and sharing should be cultivated. Conversation is a — if not the best — way to gain trust; and as most of us know, trust is cruelly missing in the employer-employee relationship as well as in the brand-customer space. Conversation is a way to learn. Conversation means listening. And, for those employing social media for their comms, conversation and active listening are at the heart of an effective digital marketing strategy. At its core, conversation makes our brain synapses fire up and this has a dynamizing effect on us, far beyond coffee. Try falling asleep in a scintillating conversation. When you listen to a professor drone on, the shut eye cometh with nary an effort.
I talked at the IABC France conference at AUP recently about the power of “Energy in Connection“.
What do you think of renaming your Communications Department, the Conversation Department?