It doesn’t matter what country you work in, what industry you’re in, whether you focus on external or internal communication. Every communicator is wondering “how can I get to the table earlier,” or “how can I get involved in projects earlier.”

I taught a workshop in Dubai a few weeks ago and this was a primary concern among the 26 Middle Eastern and European communicators in the workshop. They were desperate to know the secret.

A week later I did a webinar about change communication. Someone sent a text message begging for insight about how to “get to the table sooner.”

Here is the counsel I gave both of these groups and will repeat this Monday in New York at the International Conference of the International Association of Business Communicators.

First, you have to market your capabilities internally. You have to sell yourself, educate others about what you and your team can do. Executives don’t yet think intuitively about how communication can serve their strategic needs.

Second, you must promote successes. Get the stories out there. Write them up and get them published or shared with executives. These battle stories become part of your arsenal of internal marketing tools.

Finally, think like a great internal consultant. If more of us thought in this way, the role of communication would be perceived very differently. We have to push back, give counsel, get comfy with ambiguity, take unexpected responsibilities, spring back from disappointment easily, and actively engage others in our work.

Three things. If we did more of these three things, executives would begin to see the value communication can, and frankly should, deliver.

Ok, I’ll toss in a fourth. Be courageous.