Thought Leadership

How Collaboration Enriches Communication

teamwork and collaboration

As social and public-health factors intensify an already noisy communications environment for organizations, agencies whose communicators collaborate well to address such challenges help build lasting partnerships with their clients.

Knowing the right turns to take along the planning path and understanding the stakeholders that influence decision-making is a real asset, and a time-saver, for clients. Especially now, when the pandemic-era workforce is more distributed and remote than ever, collaborating well makes all the difference. Here are some approaches that professional communicators can take to work more collaboratively:

Collaborate with other departments.

Collaborative agencies make sure the right people are connected to the right projects. Sometimes this requires communication and marketing professionals to create alliances with departments they haven’t worked with before, such as HR or legislative affairs.

As we cross-collaborate with other departments, we should make it easy for those teams to tell the stories we wish to tell. Not only does collaboration deliver a more comprehensive communications approach but, in learning from one another, we also find creative ways to reach our target audiences.

When leading on sustainability and human capital reports for our clients, we’ve acted like a net to catch all the right information that is critical to delivering a meaningful and comprehensive end product.

Ask fearless questions.

As collaborative communicators, we shouldn’t be afraid to respectfully ask hard questions and challenge “the way we’ve always done it.” After all, what a company’s leaders or marketing teams want to say isn’t necessarily what their audiences need to hear. The same goes for the medium used to communicate the message.

To keep collaboration alive, we can ask leaders “why?” and then offer recommendations that incorporate the objectives of other stakeholders. We have found this approach of collaborating with stakeholders to craft the messages they wish to hear crucial in our work with crisis and DE&I communications — two areas where PR professionals can help their clients be proactive and coordinate complicated messages that serve their audiences.

Put people first.

During the past year, we have all been reminded that people matter most. When developing solutions and making recommendations, communicators should keep both their direct clients and their end-users in mind. By keeping people first, we will be compelled to collaborate so we can meet their needs.

Collaboration unlocks productivity, innovative thinking and communications impact. Strategic communications agencies that make collaboration central to their services will help clients realize all the business and culture successes that come with it.


Tia Over is partner at The Mathews Group, where she advises Fortune 50, higher education and nonprofit clients on communications strategy. She lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband, two children and a teething puppy named Penny. Find Tia on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Tia Over

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