From content to connection: a new role for the communication professional

SuperConnection

For more information about my new SuperConnection Course from the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence, click here.

One of the frustrations I see among communication professionals is that it’s becoming more and more difficult to secure our positions by focusing on the basic content-focused activities of our roles – particularly when such things as content generation and production are facing competition from Artificial Intelligence, and where even before the current surge of AI activity, the value added by communication pros has been continually questioned.

But the focus on content belies the reality that there are other ways for communication leaders to make valuable contributions to their organizations – and to be seen as doing so.

One such approach is called SuperConnection, which I define as: “the ability to continuously identify, connect and ignite relationships in organizations and communities that can drive mutual enrichment and value.”

SuperConnectors: made not born

The good news is that becoming a SuperConnector does not require an extroverted personality or highly confident networking skills. It just requires the intent to add the connection of relationships to one’s job role – and a few additional skills and practices that can be learned through a short-but-focused training course.

The key distinction of SuperConnection is that it builds on the willingness of people in an organization to identify and make potentially beneficial introductions between others who would not normally connect in the course of their normal routine. 

By using their knowledge and relationships to make introductions, SuperConnectors essentially can “change the DNA” of their organizations by creating connections that would not have arisen as quickly otherwise.

How is SuperConnection different from traditional networking?

SuperConnection differs markedly from traditional networking, where the main goal is for individuals to make lots of contacts for their own use.  It involves specific, repeatable activities and practices, which can include:

  • Setting a numeric target of the number of introductions one should make in a given time period: day, week, month, year
  • Regularly identifying and assessing which people would be worth introducing to each other
  • Connecting with new hires and identifying the people who could form the most efficient networks for their initial activities
  • Establishing a discipline of making at least one introduction in every call with a colleague

 

Why are communication pros uniquely suited to use this power?

As communication functions are among the few in corporate life with truly integrative perspectives, communication pros, and particularly, internal communicators develop a sense around the talents, needs and temperaments of the people they interview and follow, and can easily make connections that cross geographic and functional lines.

During my time in-house, for instance, I personally initiated numerous connections, especially to introduce new leaders to colleagues who could quickly empower them in their new roles. Indeed, considering the impact some of those introductions would prove to have, this may have been the single most value-additive part of my in-house experience.

Connection alleviates dispersion

In increasingly dispersed organizations, the ability to make relevant and productive connections that cross borders and connect key people in different silos and organizational tribes becomes more and more relevant.

In fully remote-first organizations, this ability becomes particularly prized as the normal channels and opportunities for people to meet naturally give way to more structured online conversations and less frequent, if more intense, in-person gatherings.

And in increasingly diverse organizations at any degree of dispersion, SuperConnectors can also help significantly by reaching across the organization’s cultural, racial and generational differences, discover what is stopping people from interacting in the way the company would wish them to interact, and facilitate more introductions and better integration.

SuperConnection is not new

SuperConnection is not new.  What is new is the extent to which organizations could drift into extreme siloization and disconnection without it, and the extent to which knowledge, power and commercial opportunities can flow more smoothly and creatively once it is added to the mix.

As communication professionals, we have far more scope to make a difference than by just telling and retelling stories, producing content, or organizing events.

By intervening, creating and catalyzing new relationships, we indeed have the power to change the script, and therefore, to change the organization’s future. 

That’s what makes SuperConnection a superpower, and what makes the SuperConnector a tangible, “ninja” asset to an organization.

 

For more information, or to register for my SuperConnection course from the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence, visit here.

If you’d like to discuss SuperConnection – or some other ways you can reimagine your role as a communication leader, please book a conversation at my booking link.

mike-klein-face
Mike Klein

Mike Klein is Principal of Changing The Terms, a consultancy focused on internal, change and social communication. Mike has worked with organizations in the US and Europe for more than 20 years on pressing strategic communication challenges, and is a prolific writer and commentator on communication strategy topics. Mike is also the Founder of #WeLeadComms, an initiative to drive open recognition and in the communication profession. He holds an MBA from London Business School, and is a former US political consultant.

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