Kate Jones (Head of Communications & Corporate Affairs, Tarmac) facilitated a really interesting debate about the perennial topic of whether comms professionals need a seat at the board table.

Kate talked to Laura Skaife-Knight (Deputy CEO, Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn), Rachel Thornton (Co-founder and owner, scarlettabbott), Steven Murgatroyd (Internal Communications Mnager, AXA UK), Trudy Lewis (Director, Lewis Communicate), Chaya Mistry (Communication Coach and Consultant, Humanly) and Kevin Ruck (Co-founder, PR Academy) about how to have effective conversations, demonstrate value and influence the decision makers in an organisation.

My main takeaway is that there is no substitute for a seat at the table, but the ability to influence is fundamental whether you are at the table or not. High performing organisations don’t just wheel out comms professionals when things go wrong, they have comms and engagement as the thread running through their entire strategy.

Four other key points from the debate that help demonstrate the value of comms and build your influence:

– Relationships are everything. Build a network of well-placed allies. Find out what’s important to the individual leaders in an organisation.

– Deliver insight derived from data. Bring data to the table to turn the discussion to value and outcomes. Boards love it when you bring them something they don’t know.

– Become outcomes focused. Deliver things consistently well to build trust from the management team.

– Listen more. 

Thanks to all the panel members for sharing their insights and experience and a really engaging conversation.


Charlotte Ward is Senior PR and communications professional and qualified journalist, working with some of the world’s largest professional services firms. Charlotte founded Flintworks in 2018 after a decade in-house as head of comms and advises clients on the best way to engage with their people and raise their profile with their clients and prospects across the full marketing mix. www.theflintworks.com

Charlotte Ward

Founder Flintworks