First, there was the caveman. Life was tough. Then, the caveman discovered tools – bowls, knives, pots, grinding stones. Life was better.

“Do you have a tool for that?” Yep, humans are still looking to innovate ways to make life easier. Even the life of a communicator. How can I make life easier for communicators? Hmmm.

Perhaps it’s not about making life easier, but about making the communicator more strategic? This is my conclusion  with regard to why we should provide and use better tools in communication. Tools can prompt more strategic thinking and make the communicator a strategic asset – read “trusted advisor.”

Need an example? I was having a conversation with a communicator in recent months about her award entry. It lacked insight into her primary messages and how those were determined. She looked at me, confused, and said “what messages?” I realized she hadn’t ever mapped out her primary messages. She hadn’t articulated the pieces that stakeholders had to comprehend and act on to achieve success.

A strategic planning tool helps communicators consistently think of these and other strategic insights during the planning process. Whether the communicator is right out of school, or still in the middle of the experience pack. Prompting strategic thinking is what a great tool should do. Not tell you how to do it.

This is why we created generic versions of many of the custom client tools Eloquor had crafted over the years. They are available in the Eloquor Communication Tool Store. Some are free. Individual tools are also packaged in toolkits around crucial topics like intranet governance and change communication. I’m not trying to be salesy, but I wanted you to know we’d made this leap.

Need another example? I was facilitating strategy and governance planning with a client for their employee portal. One of the IT people participating asked “Can’t you just tell us what the governance process and roles should be?” I explained that the process and roles must fit their unique organizational culture, goals and needs – I can prompt their thinking and help them make decisions. But, if I just told them what to do, they wouldn’t own the final outcome, nor would it match their unique situation.

Tools shouldn’t tell what, but should lead and prompt quality thinking and decision-making. Over the next few months, we’ll feature some of our newly available tools, so you can see how we use them and get some tips for your own use. Meantime, those of you who try them, let us know what you think.