Your partner in communicating

Featured

Need a writer? Maybe you need a researcher–one who can develop your full report or paper as well. Or perhaps you need a complete communications plan, designed and executed. Q Communications Consulting is a full-service provider, with decades of experience serving large, global businesses. We can help you reach your communications goals.

Our services include:

  • Clean, crisp writing backed by superior editing
  • In-depth secondary research, with some primary research skills thrown in
  • Well-honed support for brochures, white papers, chapters or full books
  • Value-added event design, including theme and content planning
  • Complete behavior change design and delivery
  • Full project management

Our specialty? Crafting messages that resonate, hitting home with your target audience.

You expect your communicators to provide reliable, high-quality, timely service. That’s the minimum. But can they ALSO offer strategic, integrated solutions that drive the behaviors you seek from your audience?

Q Communications Consulting can!

Writing: The Critical Element

When you are writing something–a blog post, a newsletter, a white paper, an internal memo, anything–what’s the most important thing? Is it sentence structure? Readability? Concision? What font you choose?

In fact, any time you put pen to paper to communicate a message, the most critical element is your audience.

Yes, this recalls to mind the age-old question, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it… ?

Your intended audience, when you seek to communicate, is by far the most important component of your writing project. Lacking even a general understanding of your intended target, your messages could fall on deaf ears–or worse, on ears that actively disagree with your message.

Knowing the members of your audience, and crafting messages that meet them where they are–and move them toward your target destination–is both science and art. Let Q Communications help you with both the science and the art of making sure your audience hears you.

Season’s Greetings!

Happy holidays to one and all, whatever you celebrate at this time of year. Best wishes for a wonderful 2014.

And a special thank you to all of my outstanding, lovable, energetic and passionate clients. It was an honor and, to be honest, an entertaining privilege, to be a part of your team this year. Best wishes.

The Joy of An Award-winning Team

Wow, am I lucky!

Several months ago an opportunity came my way. I was given the chance to write an in-depth research report regarding the insurance industry—a seemingly dry topic that came to life once I began my research.

The project team was excellent. We completed the work. The editors were rigorous. The designer brought a sparkling vision to the piece. In the end, I was mightily pleased to have worked with a great team to deliver such an intriguing project.

But the story didn’t end there! Turns out, Business Insurance entered the report into this year’s Content Marketing Award competition, where we earned an Honorable Mention for overall editorial! Click and see us under “Other Editorial” and then “Best Overall Editorial.”

Kudos to all of us on the team! And thank you for letting me be a part of this award-winning effort.

A Lucky Year?

My grandmother always found 13 to be a lucky number. She and my grandpa were married on a Friday the 13th and enjoyed a long, lovely marriage. Might we all be so lucky!

So far, the year 2013 has been, if not outright lucky, a generally good year for me. Among the events of this year to date is a household move–an always-challenging, unsettling, everything-in-uproar event. But for me and my family, it has been a good thing. We are optimistic about what lies ahead for us in this new home.

My former home office was a room actually intended as an office. Here, I’ve taken a step up! We rarely use a formal living room, but… now we do. My desk and bookshelves are tucked amongst our other bookshelves for a room that is at once an office, a library, a chess room and, during the holidays, our Christmas tree room. I’m loving it!

As always, send your writing assignments my way. At Q Communications we can staff up or down as needed to accommodate your projects, and so far we love everything we do! Go ahead and add your work to our pile of fun assignments. And good luck to you as we near the mid-point of a lucky 2013.

Let the Holidays Spark a Creative 2013

Whatever holidays you celebrate, here’s hoping you’ll have a chance to pause, take some time off, enjoy a few slow days in an emptier office building or otherwise recharge. The days are at their shortest–it’s an innate time of rest for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

Rest has its place in the working world. As a writer, I learned something early on that some of us never pause to recognize: Often, creativity fires its sparks only in the quiet moments. As a young(er!) adult just starting my communications career, I sometimes felt embarrassed–worried, even–when I found myself at my desk staring into space, not actually working. Not grinding out another newsletter article or editing brochure copy or planning my next communication project. In a high-pressure work atmosphere, surely sitting and staring into space was, at best, highly inappropriate?

It took awhile to realize that I wasn’t simply staring into space. I was letting my thoughts simmer. I was following my spark.

Even if I wasn’t outright writing something, I needed to let my brain play for a bit. This, I found, was true regardless of the task at hand. Editing is no less creative than writing. Nor is communication planning. In fact, even administrative activities, I found, required some small bit of creative input. I have since recognized that almost anyone, in nearly any job, needs small moments–and larger chunks of time–to let their creativity run amok. Some of us need more “creative time” than others, depending on our role or depending purely on our nature.

And so, time off–even if it’s just a few days in an emptier-than-usual office–during the holidays is a gift, one we all deserve. Let’s consciously embrace the creativity that our down time can spark. Let’s resolve to find more opportunities for creative down time in the coming year. Let’s never feel guilty for letting our thoughts ruminate, letting our mind wander–for following that spark.

May the spark light up the new year for all of us.

How to Make Behavior Change Stick

We humans have a funny relationship with change. On the one hand, change is what saves us from boredom and stagnation–we know this, and often, consequently, we wish for change.

On the other hand, change represents the unknown. Much as we may dislike our current situation (and often, we like our current comfort zone), changing it means venturing where we have not been, where we aren’t sure we’ll be able to handle whatever we encounter.

So, is it any surprise that when a business attempts to drive change, it fails more often than not? According to the Harvard Business Review, change efforts fail up to 70 percent of the time. Seventy percent! That doesn’t bode well for the new technology you may be hoping to unveil, or the new production process, or the new healthcare benefits package, or the new safety policy.

How can a company overcome these odds? As a communicator I, not surprisingly, believe good, clear, consistent communication is the answer. Effective behavior change communication doesn’t just happen, though. It requires planning, and strategic intent. It means understanding the levers that communication offers, and adjusting them accordingly. A nuanced plan that incorporates the desired message, the hoped-for behavior and a thorough, through-and-through awareness of your target audience is more likely to succeed. And if the words and messages are heart-felt, so much the better.

Words may not seem real, but planned well, words can form a path, a bridge, a doorway to the change you seek to achieve.

Passion and pay: Do you love your job?

-By Susan Welch

I came across some questions that got me thinking: Should one pursue his or her passion, or try to earn a living? And, must the two be mutually exclusive?

Of course, regarding the latter question, we all hope not. Yet, speaking practically, many people cannot make a living doing what they love. Haven’t we heard the stories of would-be actors and musicians who spent years barely making ends meet before moving on? Aren’t we aware that for every great athlete is one just a teeny bit less skilled who, nonetheless, is not making anywhere near a multi-million dollar salary?

For writers it’s the same. As a child, I longed to be a fiction writer. I channeled that energy into a journalism degree, but wrote all kinds of short fiction on the side. After college, while working my “day job” at a trade journal, I wrote short stories and tried like heck to get them published. A few succeeded—in minor, abstract literary publications that had readers numbering in the dozens at best. The odds of succeeding as a fiction writer became abundantly clear.

But something happened in my journey. My day job began to hold real appeal. It changed, morphed, and I picked up skills that seemed disconnected—but in the end, those skills put me right where I’ve dreamed of being: Doing what I love. For a living. Am I a fiction writer? No, but I am a writer, and I love my writing assignments. The dream may shift a bit, but the essence remains.

Here’s hoping you find yourself in similar shoes. Here’s hoping that next time you read an article asking whether you must choose between your passion and earning a living, you’re able to say that—even in some small way—you’ve chosen both.