Communications Problems

Weighing the Impact of Delivery on Deliverables

I began my career as a newspaper journalist, far from the glamour and lights of the CNN anchor desk. There, with the guidance of more experienced writers and editors, I learned to write compelling stories – stories that not only informed but captivated readers, giving them something to talk about, something to think about, and occasionally something to act upon. At the paper, brevity and facts were my deliverables. Life was simple.

But when I moved to network television, I had to learn another level of communication, an element not covered in my college or professional training. For in television, solid and informative writing was merely the price of entry; on-camera reporting also required a highly crafted delivery.

Network news was a world defined as much by storytelling as by stories, a place where written words became spoken words, taking on new power to compel audiences. It was a world in which reporters became spokespersons for public issues and for the people they affected. And to be effective, I would have to convey authority, and compassion, and trust. Over time, and thanks to many skilled coaches, I learned that delivery was every bit as important as deliverables.

Today, most of the clients with whom I consult have a firm handle on their promotional strategies, their marketing materials, and their PR programs. Yet surprisingly, their attention is focused heavily on written communication, while their delivery skills are neglected. As a result, well-crafted messages fall short of their targets, and otherwise highly skilled executives struggle through presentations to clients, to associates, to the general public, and even to the press. From the most humble companies to multi-national corporations with robust communications departments, many companies’ executives simply lack the fundamental skills to persuade – a challenge for which PowerPoint presentations simply aren’t enough.

In business, delivery mistakes become obstacles to important business deals, and untrained managers fail to inspire employees, rendering organizational goals unattainable.

Persuasive delivery skills aren’t granted at birth, they aren’t taught in business school, and they aren’t learned on the job. Developing these skills takes patience and commitment and coaching. And it requires an investment on the part of the organization as well as the individual communicator. But in time, that investment pays huge dividends, measurable in terms of competitive advantage and well-defined customer relationships. By investing in opportunities to drive improvement, for themselves and their stakeholders, executives build success.

What about your organization? Could a better delivery be the key to execution on your deliverables?


For nearly two decades, first in print and finally on network television with CNN, MarketPoint Associate Gina London worked as a journalist. In this post, Gina shares her thoughts on the relationship between “delivery” and “deliverables”…