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With over 25 years of experience in the media industry at companies, such as Condé Nast, Lionsgate, CBS, Viacom, Discovery and Hasbro, Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D., MBA is an experienced C-level communications executive and Board Director. She has managed brand reputation, corporate turnaround, crisis communications and culture transformation. Currently, she serves as a consultant, who advises clients on communicating with Millennial and Gen Z employees, consumers, and investors. She is a corporate speaker and trainer, as well as author of the upcoming book, “Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations in One Workplace” (in stores on May 19, 2020).
Peaceful protests, petitions, boycotts and calls for change are all effective ways of influencing governments and organizations to act. Anger, aggression, profanity and violence are not going to influence others to change their minds or shift long-held beliefs. The loudest voice in any societal debate does not have to be the person who rants and raves. It can be the sheer number of reasonable voices that drown out the small, angry mob on Twitter. (Racism in the United States is top of mind here, but this is true of all social issues.)
When I talk about crisis communications, I talk about the difference between people who communicate versus those who influence. Speaking clearly, using catchy slogans, or getting your point across, does NOT mean that you can also influence others to act. Being a change agent comes from using the key tenets of crisis communications and understanding how to influence others.
I will give you a quick look at a formula that works for influencing others.
First, let’s look at your communications.
When it comes to influencing others, others have to respect you, believe you and trust you. If you are someone who is demanding, quick to anger and sews derision then you are not going to be as effective at influencing people as someone who is calm, trustworthy and able to engage people in dialogues as opposed to disputes.
In my book, Communicating During a Crisis, I laid out a simple, but not easy, three step process to influence others.
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