Students hear secrets to communication strategy straight from national leader

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An international communication strategist and a group of Lipscomb University undergraduate communication students came together on Thursday to make history.
Photo by Hunter Patterson
Alan Kelly, a visionary business strategist, author, and CEO of an award-winning Silicon Valley public relations agency, visited the campus as the second speaker in the MediaMasters Speaker Series, sponsored by the Department of Communication and Journalism in the College of Arts and Sciences.
He spoke to a class of students studying persuasive techniques by reading his book, The Elements of Influence: The New Essential System for Managing Competition, Reputation, Brand, and Buzz.
“This is a rather historic class because it’s the first time this is being taught independent (of Kelly’s company),” Kelly, the founder of Playmaker Systems and creator of The Playmaker's Table of Influence Strategies told the students. “It is like you are a musician and you finally have a way to write the notes down.”
The MediaMasters Speaker Series honors communication professionals whose body of work stands as a model and inspiration for the next generation.
Kelly’s development of The Playmaker's Table of Influence Strategies is an attempt to standardize communication techniques so they can be mapped, aggregated and used as a basis for future decision-making.
His “periodic table” of influence strategies is designed to help communicators predict how a particular communications strategy may work in a particular situation.
Click here to see Kelly’s various “plays” – or influence strategies
In today’s world, “It’s the message – how it’s spun and how its articulated – that really takes the day,” said Kelly. “So we really need a system to explain and teach how we do it.
“If you are involved in influence, you are really a captain of industry, so you should really have a system,” he said.
For example, Kelly cited research conducted by himself and Craig Carroll, chair of the Lipscomb communication and journalism department, showing that the vast majority of corporations using Twitter use the technology to “press” their point or to “frame” the issue under discussion. Basically companies are merely reinforcing their basic message, rather than using Twitter more proactively to attack or challenge business rivals.
The research shows that use of Twitter by companies to actually influence audiences is still in its infancy, Kelly said.
Kelly is the CEO and founder of Playmaker Systems a Washington D.C.-area management consulting firm specializing in the development and execution of influence strategy. He is an adjunct professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California where he teaches Strategies of Influence at the graduate level. Through the 2008 Presidential primaries and elections, he co-created and co–hosted Plays for the presidency on Sirius XM satellite radio, P.O.T.U.S. 130, and its companion blog by the same name.
On Thursday he spoke to various groups of students and faculty and gave a free lecture for the public on Thursday evening.