Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a new series of profiles about stellar communication professionals and their best practices at work.
Veteran communicator Paul Barton, ABC of Paul Barton Communications, LLC, specializes in internal communication and has helped organizations communicate effectively with employees for over 20 years. Paul has led employee communications at Arizona Public Service, Phelps Dodge, America West Airlines, PetSmart and Hawaiian Airlines.
Since we last caught up with Paul in March, he has published his book, Maximizing Internal Communication: Strategies to Turn Heads, Win Hearts, Engage Employees and Get Ret Results, available now on Amazon.com and PaulBartonABC.com, and available soon on Amazon Kindle and iBook.
You can also meet Paul and learn more about his internal communication strategies at his book signing party on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 6-8 p.m. at the Phoenix Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., 4th Floor Lecture Hall in Phoenix, Ariz. Paul will share his insights on employee communication and sign copies of his new book. The ticket price includes a copy of his book. Refreshments will be served and lots of prize drawings will be held.
In the meantime, read on as Paul shares his insights about writing his new book and how it can help your organization implement best practices to boost employee engagement.
Peggy Bieniek, ABC: How did you come up with the title for your book?
Paul Barton, ABC: It was a collaborative effort with my publisher. We wanted the main title (Maximizing Internal Communication) to speak to the head, and the subtitle (Strategies to Turn Heads, Win Hearts, Engage Employees and Get Results) to speak more to the heart of my audience. Winning heads and hearts is a theme carried throughout the book. The tagline is about the practical things (Tools, Templates and Proven Practices) the audience can start using right away. The title and subtitle are depicted on the cover in talk balloons, and they are interlocking to symbolize that we need to be sending meaningful messages and simultaneously obtaining meaningful feedback. As pointed out in the book, two monologues don’t make a dialogue.
Peggy: What is the main message you want your readers to understand?
Paul: Employees are an organization’s most important audience, and great internal communication is the key to employee engagement and sustained business success. I also want employee communication professionals to understand that what we do is important not only for the business, but for employees. We help to enrich the lives of employees and their families. What we do is a noble profession, and we should be proud of what we do.
Peggy: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Paul: This book is primarily about the strategies and techniques I learned from my mentors and colleagues over my 20-year career in internal communication at five fast-growing corporations. I was extremely fortunate to work alongside some of the best and brightest in the business, and to have led some incredibly interesting large-scale projects: first-ever intranet and social media platform launches, building an internal team from inception to implementation, a 401(k) conversion, a large safety initiative, major operational performance and customer service initiatives, crisis preparation, implementation of a full flexible benefits plan, mergers, acquisitions, and re-organizations. I supplemented my on-the-job experience by reading a lot of research papers and several books, and I conducted several telephone interviews with subject matter experts.
Peggy: What did you learn from writing this book?
Paul: This book allowed me to organize my thoughts in great detail and clearly articulate the communication philosophies I have forged over the years. One of the things that stood out was how much my approach seeks to win over hearts as well as minds. I have always known it that was a part of it, but I didn’t realize to what extent until I conducted research from change experts like Alan Weiss and John Kotter and completed my book.
Peggy: What are your goals and intentions for this book?
Paul: My goal is to inspire internal communicators to take their organizations to higher levels and to help them get there with this book serving as a roadmap to success. This book provides tools that communication professionals can start using immediately to get things headed in the right direction, and there are solid methodologies that will help them to sustain their efforts and build a solid internal communication function.
Peggy: What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Paul: The approaches in this book were forged on the job over a 20-year period in multiple industries to handle a wide range of communication challenges. I think the blend of deep-thinking philosophies and proven practices from someone who’s been in the trenches make this book unique.
Peggy: What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about employee communication, that isn’t so?
Paul: The single biggest problem in employee communication is the assumption that because communications are going out, that messages are getting through. Employees are drowning in a sea of information, but they are thirsting for clarity and purpose.
Peggy: What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about employee communication that they need to know?
Paul: Research consistently shows that the better an organization is at communicating with its employees, the more profitable an organization becomes. There’s a direct correlation. Organizations that understand this have a competitive advantage over those who fail to give their internal communicators the resources and autonomy they need to get the job done.
Peggy: What is your contact information for questions, comments and ideas?
Paul: You can connect with me in a variety of ways. My website is http://www.paulbartonabc.com, my business Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/PaulBartonCommunicationsLLC, my Twitter handle is @PaulBartonABC, my LinkedIn profile is http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulbartonabc and my Google Plus profile is https://plus.google.com/+PaulBartonABC/posts. I look forward to talking internal comms with you!
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