An attendee in a session at this week’s IABC world conference said “all our employees want us to allow blogging. I just ignore them. What do I tell them?” A colleague e-mailed me about using Twitter. She was shocked that people were following her even though she hadn’t done a single update. “Help! What do I do?”

Here’s the kicker. Last week I met with two communicators with a very conservative organization. As we talked, their responses to my suggestions and queries were often “no, we can’t do that.” At one point one of them said, “our IT department put the “NO” in “innovation.” I had to suppress my guffaw.

Where’s the courage? Where’s the willingness to take risks, give it a try, take a leap of faith, lead with conviction? I’m sad and angry at the same time that communicators seem so willing to sit on the sidelines. We can take on things outside our realm of influence. We can be smart on business issues and strategy.

Is it that we doubt our business sense? Is it that we don’t feel confident in our strategic decision-making ability? Is it that we aren’t personally familiar with all the new tools and communication channels? We can get educated on any and all of it. Part of gaining confidence is just having courage – to believe that you can lead and be smart.

Speaker Bill Quirke, Synopsis, said at the IABC conference that “70% of people don’t speak their mind because they are afraid of damaging their career.” I’ve never been fired for speaking my mind about strategic, smart business issues. I’ve never been fired because I counseled a boss or client to do something different than what they planned on doing. Having courage builds positive reputation and respect.

So, have a little courage. Stick your neck out. Take a risk. Blame it on me if you like.