BookLife Talks with Carrie Fox
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'More than Words'
What’s the story behind More than Words?
For the past two decades, I’ve worked alongside some of the most beloved nonprofit brands and causes, guiding hundreds of leaders and their organizations to advance mission-driven work through creative communications campaigns. I could see my work having a positive effect on the issues and causes I set out to improve—and then I noticed that it could be having an unintended negative impact, too.
This book documents how I came to see the power that exists in communication: the role and responsibility that we each have as leaders, managers, and employers, and the opportunity we’re afforded every day to communicate who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in. Within the story, I introduce four communications practices I’ve seen in action that separate good organizations from great ones. Whether you’re a leader, manager, employer, student, or general communications practitioner, More than Words is designed to be your trusted partner through the journey of building an evolved practice of public communications.
What is the biggest mistake an organization can make with their communications?The biggest mistake an organizational leader can make is leaving strategic communications to someone else on their team. The entire organization struggles when a leader is uninvested in the practice of communications. Great leaders don’t need to be great communicators, but they do need to be invested in the practice, and they need to be willing to practice—as the way we communicate dictates just how significant a change we can make in our work. And communication is more than words; it’s about how we show care, courage, and clarity, through our words and actions.
Was there anything you wanted to include but had to cut?
There are definitely more stories I wish I could have included, more insights from the many interviews I conducted, and more examples of effective communicators. However, I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit them all into the pages of this book. So, I’ve translated many of these stories into my weekly essay, “Finding the Words,” which draws from the book and continues to make the book’s lessons practical. You can learn more, read past articles, and subscribe at missionforward.us/finding-the-words.
What is the one thing you most want to tell readers about you or your book?
Just because something is done a certain way today doesn’t mean it must always be done that way. You most certainly have your standards and norms in how you communicate. Many of those norms and standards may work just fine. But what if some of those norms and standards hurt your ability to communicate with your audience? Being willing and able to ask “what if?” is a freeing and powerful exercise for imagining how you might evolve your communications practices to be more effective.
What’s next for you?
Since releasing More than Words in May, we’ve piloted a Courageous Communicators book club that is helping professional communicators build practices around the book’s content. It will soon be available to more people through our website, missionforward.us. We’re also gearing up for a new season of my Mission Forward podcast, in which we’ll go even deeper into some of the stories we share on the book’s pages. And hopefully, you’ll start to see the content of More than Words begin to show up in college classrooms as part of future curriculum collaborations. The book’s release is just the beginning of our movement, with many more practical applications and engagement to follow.