The Skills of Strategic Communicators

Sending and receiving a message in the 21st Century has evolved into a complex model of communications. Strategic and ethical communications are practices that every CEO needs to understand at a fundamental level. Additionally, developing ethical communications is a skill that CEOs need to incorporate into business practices so that the appropriate message is communicated to the right audience. By identifying the skills and abilities necessary for creating strategic and ethical communication practices, CEOs can create an impact within their organizations that promote values of the organization.

Development of Strategic and Ethical Communication

Walker (2015) identifies the strategic process of communication as the big picture process of communicating goals, plans, or results. A strategic communicator should have skills that include personal, social, business, and cultural literacies (Walker 2015). In addition to these skills, strategic communicators need to develop an ethical approach to communicating. Demers and Sullivan (2016) outline several considerations for communicating ethically including respecting rights, informed consent, maintaining confidentiality, minimization of intrusion of privacy, confidentiality, and accepting responsibility for actions. Recognizing that strategic communication skills entail ethical communication is necessary for communicating to a multifaceted audience. By understanding the intricate systems that comprise the communication environment within a business, CEOs will have a better opportunity to communicate the right message at the right time to the right audience in an ethical manner.

Communicating in a Connected and Global Environment

The communication landscape has changed dramatically since the early 2000s. One of the most important perceptions that a CEO should be aware of is that social media is no longer a novel fad but is a fact of communication that, “is here to stay” (Arthur W. Page Society, 2013, p. 9). Another important perception is that classic method of message segmentation is a dated concept and rapid response is critical to success. “CEOs are now convinced that all communications strategies need to work for all audiences, all the time” (Arthur W. Page Society, 2013, p. 9). CEOs need to recognize that rapid response is a crucial part of communications management. Kat Cole the CEO of Focus Brands, the parent company of Cinnabon, has a company wide policy of no tweet left behind. This policy was the reason Cinnabon was featured on the program Better Call Saul. A relationship formed because Cole’s social media policies recognized that communicating instantly through social media is a priority.

Impact of Behavioral Literacy

Fouberg, Murphy, and de Blij (2009) describe spatial interactions as distance, accessibility, and connectivity that shape human perceptions of global landscape. Physical space contributes to the diffusion of information while the ease of communicating contributes to the knowledge of a person’s place in the world. The ability to access a network of information and become involved with others helps a person develop a relative cultural approach to interacting with others. Understanding the relationship between spatial interactions and strategic communications is an important concept for CEOs to understand. Mastering the new media and maintaining an uninterrupted presence is critical for business success (Arthur W. Page Society, 2013). CEOs need to realize that communication is a multichannel that evolves instantly with our without their involvement.

Final Thoughts

Quality communication adds significant value to an organization and CEOs recognizes the inherent worth of a well-versed strategic communicator. Incorporating strategic and ethical communications into a business plan is an approach that CEOs understand because strategic communication can become a factor that determines the success or failure of a business. By recognizing the versatile literacies of human behavior and ethical considerations of communications, CEOs can successfully implement plans for strategic communications within the global environment.


Arthur W. Page Society. (2013). The CEO view: The impact of communications on corporate character in a 24/7 digital world. [Survey report]. Retrieved from

Cole, K. [NSLS]. (2016, February 23). The Art of Change, Trust & Influence. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Demers, J. A., & Sullivan, A. L. (2016). Confronting the ubiquity of electronic communication and social media: Ethical and legal considerations for psychoeducational practice. Psychology In The Schools, 53(5), 517-532. doi:10.1002/pits.21920. Retrieved from

Fouberg, E. H., Murphy, A. B., & de Blij, H. J. (2009). Human geography: People, place, and culture (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Walker, R. (2015). Strategic Management Communication for Leaders (3rd ed.). Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning.


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